The local newspapers, both Wellington's as well as Auckland's, have been busy sensationalising things even more than usual. I can't believe people buy papers anymore, when the truth is so easy to find these days, online.
The announced Wellywood sign
The first botched newsreport of course was the announcement by the Wellington Airport that they are in the final stages of putting up a big "Wellywood" sign in the Miramar hills. The required Resource Consent has already been granted by the Wellington City Council, so apart from a high court appeal (fairly unlikely), it looks like it's all going ahead, and around June we will have ourselves something to actually photograph with pride. The airport's lawyers seem quite certain that all the legal requirements have been met as well, so I can't see anything else in the way.
I think they're planning on "Wellywood" but this has appeal, no?
The Dominion Post however, decided to make it a huge public spectacle, with online surveys and by opening comments on their website (through stuff.co.nz). Of course, there was a lot of backlash from the Great Unwashed, but that's always going to be the case. The Beehive (NZ's government building) was treated in the same way when it was first announced (well, similar anyway; that was pre-blogging), and now nobody talks about it anymore, but tourists come daily to photograph it. The national Museum Te Papa caught a lot of flack at the time of construction, but that's quitened down. Hell, I'm sure the Eiffel Tower got a lot of complaints when it was first announced/built, and now look at it. Hard to imagine Paris without it.
My personal pie-in-the-face award goes to local yokel (and mayoral candidate, no less) Jack Yan, who decided the best way to run for Wellington mayor would be to alert the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce about it, so they can sue the current Council. Nice going, mate - that's one less vote for you. You're costing the city money and tourism before you're even elected.
There are a number of anti-wellywood pages on Facebook by the uninformed, but here's a "pro Wellywood" page instead.
The Hobbit in 3D
Probably not going to happen. At least, nothing has been decided but the local rag (DomPost) decided it was a slow news day and stirred things up again using old quotes from TheOneRing.net forums, where Guillermo del Toro earlier this month mentioned that a conversation has been started about whether 3D would be considered or not. He didn't give any answers to anyone, but that didn't stop the local newspaper (and virally, the rest of the world) from waiting for two weeks before coming up with their own "source", an insider! Possibly as high up as either the cleaning staff or the courier who dropped some parcels off that morning, I reckon! Their article adds nothing but more confusion to the already tumultuous grapevine. I expect truth from newspapers, and actual researched articles.
Matthew Dravitski (Peter Jackson's spokesperson) denied that any new information was known, and he's likely to know, I'd think. If he says there's no decision made on 3D, I'll believe that. Matt's track record on keeping us fans informed is pretty solid.
Next, there was the matter of the "fraudulent" Lord Of The Rings props. The Auckland Herald reported that a collector had probably been sold shoddy goods when he paid his us$50,000 for an original Sting sword, and promptly got the studios to quote on half of the information as well. A few days later, the whole sorry mess was debunked by the people who should know the facts better than anyone - OriginalProp.com - who did a throrough investigation into the actual story. Turns out, the collector in question (Troika Brodsky) had actually bought the genuine props off the legal owners who won them in a contest.
The contest was well described in Peter Jackson's biography - apparently NewLine was giving away swords and various other props without telling the NZ makers about it. PJ put a stop to this when he reminded them that the ROTK's extended cut hadn't actually been completed yet, and they might not want to get rid of the props just yet. If I recall correctly, he ended up accepting the remaining props as payment for the extended cuts.
So, another pie-in-the-face award to "reporter" Joseph Barratt from the NZ Herald.
Lies, damn lies, and newspaper articles
From a personal perspective, I was involved in the story about the sinking of the Venture (as I blogged about earlier). I was called by Radio NZ, who interviewed me for about 4 minutes. I asked beforehand if I could hear the story before it went out but apparently that's not the "done thing", so I requested that he use positive soundclips, however, by the time it was on the air, all he'd managed to retain was the most negative and out-of-contexts statements possible. That's the last time I'll trust the traditional press.
- Jack M.