Friday, December 12, 2008

Runway to reality: Runway Reporter shutdown blogger vindicated, fired – after being retrenched

Isaac Hindin Miller [L], Jordan Rondel and Bryanboy @ NZ Fashion Week, Sep 16/bryanboy

Three days after word leaked from within ACP Media that the Auckland-based company was about to shutter websites, starting with the high profile fashion site Runway Reporter, the online home of Fashion Quarterly magazine, The New Zealand Herald reports today that the company has retrenched “8-10” staff and is shuttering three sites, Runway Reporter, and - with and to be outsourced to JV partner, The websites of the “Trader” division, which includes the titles Auto Trader, Deals on Wheels, Motorcyle Trader and News, Trade-a-Boat and Buy, Sell & Exchange remain unaffected. The report comes two days after Dykzeul told Fairfax NZ news portal that the claims, as reported on NZ blog Isaac Likes, were “defamatory and incorrect”. In an interesting twist to the saga, 24 year-old Isaac Likes blogger Isaac Hindin Miller now finds himself out of a job. That is, out of a day job. Hindin Miller, who has been working as market editor for the AGM Publishing-owned Urbis magazine, was summarily dismissed yesterday with zero benefits and marched to the door by publisher Parul Sheopuri. Coincidentally, yesterday’s incident - which sounds like the kind of treatment that is usually meted out to high powered execs privy to sensitive company data - unfolded a matter of hours before Hindin Miller’s own redundancy consultation was due to take place.

On Monday, Hindin Miller was informed that his own position was being made redundant.

Frockwriter contacted AGM Publishing and was told by Parul Sheopuri that Hindin Miller's contractual arrangement with the company came to an end yesterday because he "posted comments about a competitor of AGM, during business hours".

Convenient, of course, that AGM Publishing does now not have to give Hindin Miller severance pay.

Unfortunately, just as frockwriter was attempting to ask one last question - specifically about the redundancy - Sheopuri hung up.

It should be noted that AGM Publishing was well aware of Hindin Miller’s blog, as it has been active for eight months.

The blog has covered several other media stories in recent months, including a discussion of media ethics.

As for the NZ Herald’s coverage today, it is interesting to note that the ACP Media story was neither a news story, nor even the lead story of the paper's ‘Tsars in their eyes’ media column penned by John Drinnan.

The ACP Media story is placed towards the end of the column, with the reference to ACP Media having “pulled the red carpet from under its fashion website" buried at the very end of the piece, almost as an afterthought.

Frockwriter can’t help thinking that it might have been a different matter had the NZ Herald had the story first.

Three mainstream New Zealand media outlets picked this story up the minute it broke:, Computerworld and The National Business Review.

It is not clear whether, at time of filing, the NZ Herald had a copy of today's ACP Media press release.

Beyond choosing to run the Runway Reporter information towards the end of the article, the newspaper also quotes Paul Dykzeul as saying that Runway Reporter is being "largely disassembled".

And yet the lead paragraph of the NZ Herald story stated:

"ACP New Zealand has pulled back from its digital strategy, scrapping and from next month".

In the ACP Media press release, Paul Dykzeul is quoted as saying:

"The websites, and would not continue in their present format beyond mid January".

The press release also states that:

"[Sydney-based] ACP Magazines and MSN New Zealand will jointly develop new opportunities in the Fashion and Home and Garden areas, to be delivered as part of MSN's expanding Lifestyle channel".

Frockwriter understands that at least one NZ media outlet is interested in Hindin Miller's story.


Anonymous said...

That's a very good man lost there. Order Miller a lobster on their tab please...

Emma said...

Thats horrible! Poor Isaac! Why has the NZ Herald said nothing about all this saga re ACP? Definitely agree about how it would be a "different story".

Bryanboy said...

Dang! It's sad that he was fired.

I don't know about you but Isaac should milk this for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

Isaac is the best and what happened to him is totally unfair. Definitely using this as a way to get out of giving him severance pay as you mentioned. When Isaac picked up the scoop of course he was going to want to post it immediately - it's a damn good story and something many of his readers would be very interested in. Being the first to break a story is the best and exactly what Isaac did do and should have done.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Isaac should seek the advice of a good employment lawyer?

Anonymous said...

The NZ Herald did do something. In the media column, by the media reporter John Drinnan. Exactly as they did when covering the stepping down of Sunday editor Emily Simpson. And when Runway Reporter was first sold to ACP. It's all just getting a bit too media storm in a tea cup.

Generally it is in media contracts that when working for a publishing company, you aren't allowed to comment publicly about ANYTHING. I'm sure Isaac didn't think his blog would have any effect on his employment, present and future, but he has seriously pissed of two major publishing companies by breaking this story!

Anonymous said...

This guy deserves it, his blog is bitchy gossip which creates more harm than good... I grow tired of reading such 'try-hard' writing.

Kate said...

Dear Anon, writing to us at 1:38am,

Bitchy gossip? I think you're reading the wrong blog. I can't recall a blog that Isaac's posted that's anything but fact, not gossip. He may theorise, but he never gossips.

Maybe you should remember the old adage of 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'. None of us want to hear your snarky remarks this close to Christmas.

A few months back, Isaac started a very relevant conversation about current-day journalism, especially in the fashion world, and since then he has tried to back up his theory in his writing. It takes an intelligent individual to reach those conclusions and a determined person to act on them.

By the way, I'd be really keen to read your fact-drenched, up-to-the-minute, passionate, informed, independent blog? Oh, that's right, you don't have one.

Piccolo said...

Go Kate

I'd hardly call Isaac's writing style 'tryhard' or 'bitchy'


Anonymous said...

haha I'm slightly surprised Isaac wasn't fired earlier. I'm sure it was more the posting blogs On Urbis time after many warnings that was the straw that broke the camels back! having looked at some of his recent posts I'm puzzled at how he managed to attain a job at a semi-credible magazine like urbis in the 1st place..questionable journalistic skills aside. Unemployment is a real downe, but I'm sure many a fashion scoop will be found in the line for the unemployment benefit.

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