Rachel Glucina and journalistic ethics (or the lack thereof)

As everyone knows, John Key yesterday became an international laughing stock thanks to his penchant for stroking or yanking women’s ponytails. The blog that yesterday outed the issue kept the waitress’s name secret – her account of John Key’s actions at the cafe where she worked was anonymous. Turns out it didn’t take long for her name to hit the headlines, thanks to the actions of NZ Herald gossip columnist / wannabe-real-journalist Rachel Glucina. You might remember Ms Glucina from Dirty Politics

An excerpt from Nicky Hagar's book Dirty Politics.

An excerpt from Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.

The waitress has detailed her account of Ms Glucina’s overtures here, and, if true, Glucina’s actions (and, indeed, the actions of her editor, Shayne Currie) reflect appallingly on the Herald. Here’s the long and short of it:

  • The Parnell cafe, Rosie, in which this all went down, is owned by Hip Group.
  • Rachel Glucina’s twin brother, Henry, is employed by Hip Group.
  • Ms Glucina, through her brother, therefore personally knows the owners of Hip Group, Jackie Grant and Scott Brown.
  • During a speakerphone conversation with Glucina, the Hip Group owners introduce Glucina to the waitress as a PR expert. (Glucina is in fact in PR. According to her LinkedIn page, she is a director of ‘Pink PR’, specialising in ‘Media strategy, product planning, brand development, public relations’.) During the speakerphone conversation, Glucina’s last name is not mentioned. The waitress agrees to make a joint statement in order to protect her employers’ reputation. She also agrees to a photo being taken of her with her employers, to show they all still had a good relationship.
  • While everyone waits for Glucina to send through the draft statement, the waitress discovers Glucina’s last name. Alarm bells begin to ring. In fact, the waitress googles Glucina, and discovers the headline “Who is Rachel Glucina and why is John Key always phoning her up?”.
  • The waitress’s employers admit that Glucina works for the NZ Herald, but state that Glucina was not acting in her capacity as a journalist.
  • Upon contacting Glucina again, Glucina abruptly claimed that was acting in her capacity as a journalist. Despite the waitress then revoking permission to use the photo or her comments,  the story ends up in the Herald.

Given the ethical questions regarding Ms Glucina’s conduct, Shayne Currie has released a statement (then removed the statement from the Herald website, then re-released it…):

Rachel Glucina approached the Hip Group yesterday, after The Daily Blog broke the story. She knows the Hip Group owners personally. Glucina wanted to follow-up The Daily Blog post and urged the couple to front-foot the issue. She spoke to the couple and the waitress over the telephone. Regardless of any confusion over the initial approach, all three agreed they wanted to make a public statement. They also agreed to pose for a photograph and a Herald photographer was dispatched. They were told by the photographer that the photo would be appearing in the Herald. Herald editor Shayne Currie also spoke to the owners of the Hip Group yesterday afternoon following a call from a PR firm that had already been helping them. “When I spoke to the owners, they told me they had initially thought Rachel was working on a statement to go to all media, along with the photograph. “Given the situation, I wanted to absolutely ensure they knew this interview and photograph were for the Herald. To further ease any concerns, we took the very rare step of agreeing Rachel should run the quotes past the parties before publication. “By then, no one was in any doubt that the article, quotes and photograph would be appearing in the Herald.”

Note the phrase, “Regardless of any confusion over the initial approach, all three agreed they wanted to make a public statement”. And “When I spoke to the owners, they told me they had initially thought Rachel was working on a statement to go to all media, along with the photograph”. Is it just me, or does that corroborate the waitress’s story regarding Glucina’s actions? Why would the owners think a Herald “journalist” would be working on a statement that would go to all media outlets? Herald journalists write for the Herald. They don’t send their stories off as statements to Fairfax et al. “Initial confusion”? For instance, Glucina had told them she was acting as a PR expert? Glucina’s actions smell distinctly rotten, and given her previous Dirty Politics involvement, some on the left have posited that Key and his office must have contracted Glucina for a hit job on the waitress. It’s a conspiracy theory that doesn’t ring true. Key has apologised (albeit with a healthy dose of victim-blaming) and will simply want the story to disappear as soon as possible. He’s been humiliated on an international level, and will want nothing more than for the fuss to die down. Attacking the waitress guarantees that the story will have legs. This is all about Glucina trying to get a scoop, and, at this stage, she appears to have made it very clear that she’s not concerned about letting niceties like journalistic ethics get in her way.

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5 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Talking Auckland and commented:
    Two things from this:

    1) The actions of two people – an editor and a gossip columnist no less have pretty much belittled the Main Stream Media profession and the fine work the journalists actually do out there. If people or organisations are more hesitant to approach the MSM now with stories gee I wonder then why

    2) The entire saga has for 48 hours now buried anything else coming out in the cycles today. If Mayor Len Brown wanted to pass a 10% rates rise today he could have done so and Auckland would have been totally clueless until the next Rates bill. The point being today there have been some larger Auckland stories coming through such as:

    Auckland Transport considering transport investment over the next three years

    Minister of Finance Bill English and Mayor Len Brown are in Flatbush today launching a large housing project with housing so short in Auckland.

    Sticking with the Mayor it seems he has done it again and struck a deal on the Port situation. Len is known for striking deals that are the most pragmatic in the middle of a cluster turd storm

    The PonyTailGate affair has been one bollocking up that is a case of wanting to turn away from a slow moving wreck but you can not.
    The original offence of the Prime Minister touching someone without consent is still a big NO NO on all grounds.
    The Herald cocking things up is something else entirely.

    Talking Auckland does feel for the good journalists out there today. Why should two inept idiots ruin it for the rest.

  2. Key Finds Locks Irresistible

    A kiwi prime minister called Key
    Tugged a waitress’s ponytail repeatedly
    He claimed it was just horseplay
    Not tricophilia or foreplay
    But it seems quite kinky to me.

    PS I’m the author of “The Fetish Collection”, an anthology of short stories featuring a range of paraphilias.

  3. “The Daily Blog has been compromised and is currently under repair” – that’s all that is visible on the site tonight. Earlier today I found that both the waitress’s statements had disappeared from the site.

    Google cache still has her statements, the second one is a shocker:
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ACZRtJJJYKwJ:thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/23/update-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress-part-2-dirty-politics/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz

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