Why Richard Harman is the best political journalist in NZ

writes at Politik:

This weekend sees the last of National’s regional party conferences.

Over the past three weeks, hundreds of party members have met in Hamilton, Auckland and Wanaka and will meet on Saturday in Palmerston North.

And Richard has attended most or all of those conferences.

I regard Politik, written by Richard, as a must read. It comes out at 5 am every morning and is my first read of the day.

It almost never talks about who said what in the House, who won question time etc. But almost every day I read something there which gives me an insight I don’t get anywhere else.

Richard is focused on policy and policy issues.

He attends not just the national conferences but the regional conferences of the parties. He talks to members to get a feel of where the party is at. I see him at obscure briefings such as the 40 year energy forecast from Exxon Mobil.

I’m not sure if he even bothers to attend question time, but when I do see him at Parliament he is almost always engaged in a discussion with an MP – gathering intelligence and insights. And I think MPs are much happier talking about stuff to him, than other media – because it’s not about a headline that will sell newspapers, or get click throughs for advertising. His model is providing valuable content and insights that people will pay for.

In no way do I mean to disparage the many good journalists in the press gallery who provide some excellent reporting and also analysis. But the nature of the media they work for means they can’t do what Richard does. Their employers won’t pay for the cost of sending them to regional conferences just to gather intelligence. They need stories every day to justify their investment.

As the media look at the very challenging commercial environment, they could do worse than look at the model of – a daily newsletter that provides enough insights you don’t get elsewhere that you are willing to pay for.

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