Investigative writer Nicky Hager said he kept some journalists out of the dirt in his latest book Dirty Politics in hope of a cleaner future.
In a small Wintec lecture theatre, Hager let student journalists pick his brain about investigative journalism and his book.
During the intimate Q and A, Hager talked about the Kiwi journalists named in his book.
"If you see a name of a journalist in the book, they are the ones I don't think have done anything wrong, they're just incidental to the story. Every journalist who had been taking stories in dodgy ways from David Farrar, one of the bloggers, or Cameron Slater or from the prime minister's office, I actually left their names out. I decided not to do the journalists basically."
All apart from Rachel Glucina, who Hager described as "despicable".
Although Hager highlighted the problem of media being played by Slater and others, he also said he understood the demands of the industry.
"I think that a whole lot of people had done things which were dodgy and wrong. In other words they knew that their prime minister's office was feeding them information and you could get really easy stories.
"You were being used but it was giving you another headline in a job which is very busy and competitive, where people want to get stuff, so there's a ton of horrible temptation to keep being an outlet for Cameron Slater and people.
"The people I'm talking about are in the press gallery, senior journalists. Basically I didn't want to humiliate them, I wanted to give them room to think again and do it differently. That was the reason. Because we're a small country and there are only going to be the same senior journalists the year after and the year after that, so let them change their minds on it."
When asked about Kim Dotcom's coming "bombshell", Hager had a vague idea but was keeping quiet.
"What I don't have an idea of is how big it is."
Oliver Dunn is a Wintec journalism student.
- Waikato Times
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