by Toby Manhire / 22 December, 2014
How many communications professionals does it take to write a tweet?
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney. Photo/Thinkstock

As many politicians – Judith Collins among them – have learnt the hard way, it pays to take a deep breath before posting that tweet. But it’s possible, too, to be overcautious, as in the case of Mitt Romney. During the Republican’s bid for the US presidency in 2012, each of his tweets required, according to a new study, approval from as many as 22people.

“Romney’s digital team had to go through an extensive vetting process for all of its public communications, meaning that the temporal workflow of the campaign did not match the speed of social media,” writes the paper’s author, Daniel Kreiss of the University of North Carolina. One campaign staffer told him, “whether it was a tweet, Facebook post, blog post, photo – anything you could imagine – it had to be sent around to everyone for approval. Towards the end of the campaign, that was 22 individuals who had to approve it.”

Acknowledging it was overkill, Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, told Kreiss they were, at least, “the best tweets ever written by 17 people”.


The explosive Senate study of the CIA’s “detention and interrogation programme” – better known as the “torture report” – delivers “a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach”, finds the New York Times in an editorial. It’s only a summary, and “sanitised by the CIA itself” but, still, the document lays bare a “litany of brutality, lawlessness and lack of accountability”.

The New York Times itself has faced censure, however, over its reporting of the subject. It wasn’t until 2014 that the paper rewrote its policy to allow use of the term “torture” to describe what it had been calling “harsh interrogation techniques”, a change urged by the paper’s independent public editor, Margaret Sullivan, and her predecessor.

Of criticisms of reporters working with CIA agents and withholding information at Government request, Sullivan writes: “It’s easy for a bystander to weigh in – harder when real harm to US troops or operations has to be considered. In general, though, the default position must be to publish, not to defer, and to push back, not to play ball. I think … the Times has been too accepting of the Government’s arguments.”


 Stonehenge is a magnificent edifice, but a disappointment up close, writes Economist travel blogger, Gulliver. For all the impressive rock-lugging of the Neolithic people and the “folklore and the spiritualism”, it’s also right beside a major highway. “All those backed-up articulated lorries and camper vans belching exhaust fumes somewhat spoil the mood.” It is, Gulliver regrets, “one of those places for which the reality is much more disappointing than the myth”.

Other examples of “world famous tourist attractions that are underwhelming up close”? The pyramids at Giza: “What the postcards don’t reveal is that they are really in the suburbs of Cairo, and one of the best views of them is from the local Pizza Hut.” The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen: “it does say little, but it really is tiny”. The Mona Lisa: “small, behind glass and a long way away”. And Checkpoint Charlie: “Since the Wall came down, just a small shed in the middle of the road.”


Some tourists are will never be happy, however. The Daily Telegraph has trawled the website TripAdvisor for the grumpiest reviews of the most famous destinations. On the Grand Canyon, for example: “Went there from Vegas for a few hours – nothing special.” On a Paris landmark: “More like the Awful Tower.” Niagara Falls? “Lame and boring. The place was packed with foreigners who always walked into our pictures.” The Statue of Liberty, according to one survivor, was “like a Third-World country”, while the Sydney Opera House inspired this critique: “Nothing special, looks better on TV.”

Also in Telegraph Travel recently, its annual reader-survey results. Top destination, for the third year running, is New Zealand – worth a visit “to sample Marlborough’s winelands, for the rubgy, or to experience Mauri traditions”.

Follow the Listener on Twitter or Facebook.


What's happening to New Zealand's recycling after the China import ban?
96784 2018-09-25 13:50:58Z Environment

What's happening to New Zealand's recycling after …

by Nita Blake-Persen

Tracing exactly where New Zealand's plastic goes when it leaves our ports is incredibly difficult.

Read more
How heart surgeon Alan Kerr saved a woman's life twice in three decades
96715 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Social issues

How heart surgeon Alan Kerr saved a woman's life t…

by Donna Chisholm

Renowned surgeon Alan Kerr saved Donna Lander’s life in 1987. This year – thanks to a Listener story and a three-line email – he saved her again.

Read more
What the principal missed: How truancy is the symptom of a toxic environment
96763 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Social issues

What the principal missed: How truancy is the symp…

by Aaron Hendry

A principal's controversial speech on truancy dangerously ignored the issues today's young people face, writes youth development worker Aaron Hendry.

Read more
Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consumerism
95853 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Business

Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consume…

by Mina Phillips

In the era of fast fashion, what can consumers do to ensure what they're buying hasn't been made by exploited workers?

Read more
Naseby's chilliest night means a rare opportunity for curling
96697 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Sport

Naseby's chilliest night means a rare opportunity …

by Guy Frederick

Weather conditions have to be perfect for an outdoor curling match – last winter, for the first time in seven years, Naseby delivered.

Read more
Students walk out of Hamilton high school over principal's truancy comments
96723 2018-09-24 14:06:35Z Education

Students walk out of Hamilton high school over pri…

by RNZ

More than 100 students walked out of a Hamilton high school in protest after the principal said truants are more likely to wind up being a rape victim

Read more
Colin Craig drops damages claim against former press secretary
96717 2018-09-24 13:10:01Z Politics

Colin Craig drops damages claim against former pre…

by RNZ

Colin Craig has withdrawn his claims for damages against his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor but is still suing her for defamation.

Read more
PM in New York: Ardern's first speech focuses on lifting children from poverty
96691 2018-09-24 07:54:36Z Politics

PM in New York: Ardern's first speech focuses on l…

by Chris Bramwell

Jacinda Ardern has used her first speech in the US to recommit the government to making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

Read more