Bookmarks for April 19, 2015

Some of the more interesting things I’ve read – or bookmarked to read – over the past few days. gets a makeover 

Well now, the new-look is looking pretty this morning.

Students recreate Gallipoli in Minecraft for Anzac Day | Te Waha Nui

Auckland students are bridging the generation gap for this year’s Anzac Centenary by recreating Gallipoli in popular video game Minecraft.

Shifting surveys: OMG’s Scott Keddie on what the new radio survey might look like :: StopPress

Shifting surveys: OMG’s Scott Keddie on what New Zealand’s new radio survey might look like | StopPress

Police in Iceland are having Way more Fun than You on Instagram | Messy Nessy Chic

I didn’t even know police forces having instagram accounts was a thing, but apparently it is. The NYPD even has time for one. But no one gets it quite lik

The Winnipeg Free Press is launching a paywall that lets readers pay by the article » Nieman Journalism Lab

The Winnipeg Free Press is launching a paywall that lets readers pay by the article | Nieman Lab #AUTjournos

Reclaiming our harbour: The People v The Port – Business – NZ Herald News

A useful backgrounder for anyone follow the Auckland port extensions | NZ Herald #AUTJournos

[toread] Rebranding the Business of Farming — re:form — Medium

by A common narrative about smallholder farmers in the developing world is that they’re desperately poor, have limited access to quality seeds and…

Video: John Oliver meets Edward Snowden and isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions – Quartz

“Well, the good news is there’s no program named ‘the dick pic program.’ The bad news is they are still collecting everybody’s information, including your dick pics.”

Can’t Kick a Bad Habit? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong — Psychology of Stuff — Medium

When “I don’t” is more powerful than “I can’t” in incrementally breaking bad habits: Can’t Kick a Bad Habit? | Medium

A few days left to apply for NZ Open Government advisory role

If you care about open government, work at a fairly high level and are tapped into a strong New Zealand community, you might want to put your hand up for a new advisory role over at the State Services Commission (SSC).

The new stakeholder advisory group will oversee New Zealand’s commitments as a member of the Open Government Partnership – 65 member countries “committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens”.

New Zealand joined the partnership in 2014 and has submitted an Action Plan for 2014-16. The advisory group will  monitor the progress of that Action Plan, among other things.

The SSC is looking for six people “with a mix of backgrounds and skills, so that the group has representation from a range of sectors of society” including:

  • Māori/Iwi
  • Business
  • Civil society / community and voluntary sector
  • Academia

Selection criteria

The following criteria will be used to consider candidates for the Stakeholder Advisory Group:

  • Their capability of representing a sector and understanding how this fits into the Group’s partnership role with the Government.
  • Diversity, and insight into how open government affects participation and public services from a broad range of backgrounds.
  • An understanding of the Open Government Partnership and what New Zealand’s membership entails.
  • An understanding of programme design, delivery and evaluation.
  • An understanding of public engagement and how it can be used effectively to develop and improve policy design, delivery and evaluation.
  • The ability to provide objective advice beyond their own involvement, experience or representation.
  • The capacity to identify, develop and bring the skills the Group needs to meet the Government’s objectives.
  • Availability and ability to commit to the work of the Group.

Expressions of interest should be received by the end of 22 April 2015.

Official New Zealand statistics due for release in April 2015

You can expect to see the following official statistics released by Statistics New Zealand in the month of April 2015. You’ll find these details on the Stats NZ Release Calendar – which is updated with links to the reports as they’re released. You can also subscribe to statistics releases by email.

Already released


Still to come


  • 15 Apr 15
    Price Index News: April 2015 – newsletter
  • 20 Apr 15
    Consumers Price Index: March 2015 quarter – M*
    Add to your calendar.
  • 23 Apr 15
    International Travel and Migration: March 2015 – M
    Add to your calendar.
  • 28 Apr 15
    International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand: March 2015 – report
    Add to your calendar.
  • 29 Apr 15
    Household Labour Force Survey Estimated Working-age Population: March 2015 quarter – table
    Add to your calendar.
  • 29 Apr 15
    Overseas Merchandise Trade: March 2015 – M
    Add to your calendar.
  • 30 Apr 15
    Building Consents Issued: March 2015 – M
    Add to your calendar.

*M = There will be a media conference.



‘Users convert to digital subscribers at a rate of ~1 per cent’

Some useful details about the workings of paywalls in excerpts from Jeff Jarvis’s book Geeks Bearing Gifts published on Medium.

1. If you can expect to convert people from user to digital subscriber at a rate of around 1 per cent, then you need a lot of users to begin with.

Martin Nisenholtz, the business executive who started, has told my classes that giving away Times content online was not an original sin but a foundational necessity, for The Times needed to compete with other new players and to build market share. In fact, being free allowed The Times to become a truly international brand with a huge audience: almost 60 million monthly readers online vs. fewer than 1 million buyers daily in print. Having that large an audience is what made it possible for The Times to put up its meter, for its conversion rate from online user to digital subscriber is only a bit over 1 percent, but 1 percent of almost 60 million is a lot of subscribers.

2. People read far fewer stories than we might imagine. At lesser newspapers ‘an average of 3-4 per cent of users hit the paywall and about half a per cent of those will pay’.

When it started to charge, The Times allowed users to see 20 stories a month for free (with various additions, including links from social media) before encountering the meter and getting hit up to pay up. But not enough people hit the wall and got the pitch. The Times lowered the barrier so customers would see only 10 stories a month for free. That means the vast majority of The Times’ audience doesn’t read so much as one story every three days. That is a shockingly low level of engagement for the pinnacle of a profession that considers itself vital to the maintenance of democracy and society. For lesser newspapers, the numbers are worse. According to Jeff Hartley, vice president for consumer revenue at the Morris Publishing Group, experience with Press+, the leading provider of paywall services, shows that on average 3–4 percent of users will come often enough to hit the wall and about half a percent of those stopped will pay.

Read the rest here.

Nice clarity of thought on value of Economist to readers

The Economist’s Tom Standage spoke to Joseph Lichterman at Nieman Lab recently about:

The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising

I was struck by the clarity of purpose expressed in these paragraphs:

We sell the antidote to information overload — we sell a finite, finishable, very tightly curated bundle of content. And we did that initially as a weekly print product. Then it turns out you can take that same content and deliver it through an app.

The “you’ve got to the end and now you’ve got permission to go do something else” is something you never get. You can never finish the Internet, you can never finish Twitter, and you can never really finish The New York Times, to be honest. So at its heart is that we have this very high density of information, and the promise we make to the reader is that if you trust us to filter and distill the news, and if you give us an hour and a half of your time — which is roughly how long people spend reading The Economist each week — then we’ll tell you what matters in the world and what’s going on.

The article’s a good read. Recommended.