An ill-timed concert review posted by Stuff journalist Bridie Witton, titled "Homegrown, same again," has not only ignited a firestorm on Reddit, but also sparked a broader debate about the state of music journalism and the expectations placed on journalists in the digital age.
The review was published hours before the concert's end, covering acts such as Mitch James, Che-Fu, The Black Seeds, and several others. However, Reddit users were quick to point out the premature publication, rendering the review incomplete and misleading.
Reddit user HDstream4u shared the link to the article, stating it as "another example of utterly lazy journalism from Stuff." The comment thread expanded into a discussion about the decline of music journalism, the pressure to produce content quickly, and the erosion of credibility in the industry.
While the premature publication has been the primary focus of the backlash, the review's content and tone have also been criticized. Users questioned the journalist's attendance at the event, further undermining the credibility of the review. Fast_Working_4912 expressed frustration at the review's apparent focus on gender instead of the artists' hard work and talent, a sentiment echoed by other Reddit users.
As Reddit user Sinnergy289 points out, "This lazy excuse for 'journalism' is nothing but insulting to the artists and bands, production crews, and countless volunteers giving their time and energy to put on an amazing event. Stuff should be ashamed; this is completely piss-poor. Meanwhile, the smaller, independent music blogs are out there doing amazing work - but often overlooked in favor of this rubbish."
The Stuff review's shortcomings have brought attention to the challenges faced by music journalists today. The pressure to generate content quickly in a digital age can lead to rushed, incomplete, or even inaccurate reporting. Music journalism, like other forms of reporting, requires time and care to create well-researched, thoughtful, and in-depth articles that truly reflect the experience of a concert or event.
In contrast to the Stuff review, an RNZ review of the same event provided a more thorough account of the concert. Reddit user Champion_Kind_Sports praised the RNZ review, saying, "At least the reviewer from RNZ stayed for the whole thing and took pictures to prove. They seemed to enjoy themselves and wrote a far better piece about the day."
This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of thorough, well-researched, and accurate reporting in music journalism. It highlights the need for publications to invest in skilled journalists who have the time and resources to deliver high-quality, insightful reviews that not only entertain readers but also contribute to the discourse on music and its impact on society.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for music journalists and publications to adapt without compromising on quality and integrity. This can be achieved by promoting thoughtful and in-depth reporting, encouraging journalists to attend and immerse themselves in events, and fostering a culture of accountability and transparency.
The controversy surrounding this premature review should serve as a wake-up call for the music journalism industry, emphasising the need to prioritise quality over expediency and to celebrate the artistry and hard work of musicians, rather than reducing them to superficial labels or stereotypes.
In response to the backlash, Stuff has since edited their article to reflect the time it was published and the acts seen by the reviewer. Have a read of the edited version here.
Huge props to Muzic.net.nz, 13thfloor.co.nz, and ambientlightblog.com, plus all the other legends reporting on concerts and festivals for both local and international artists. We're truly grateful for the commitment, effort, and enthusiasm that shine through in your writing and the stunning images you snap.