The Sunday Star-Times has sent blogger Brian Edwards a stiff legal letter after he wrote a blog backing Amanda Hotchin and challenged the paper to prove quotes she says she did not utter.

Asked yesterday whether he would continue with his quest, Edwards said: "I can't answer that question at the moment."

The row blew up on Tuesday after the blog Brian Edwards Media published some of the details from affidavits backing Hotchin's version of a confrontation with an SST reporter in Hawaii.

Edwards has followed up, inviting the paper to release the notes or recording of Hotchin making the comment. The Star-Times response has been: We have not received a writ - we'll stand by the story - no further comment.

Jonathan Marshall, the journalist who wrote the disputed comment, claimed to be unaware of the hoo ha on the blog.

"Brian Edwards," he said, "I didn't know he was still alive."

Edwards is very much alive and well - with a popular blog that looks at the media and has close links with Callingham & Edwards, a company that helps business people and politicians deal with the media.

In June 2009, Edwards did some work for ING moderating its roadshow for investors suffering under a failed investment. So in that sense his role taking on a big media company is not only supporting good journalism - it is good marketing as well.

This is a dispute between one of the country's biggest newspapers and an opinionated and respected media commentator who happens to be acting as an intermediary between a controversial Rich Lister and the media.

By the way, Edwards is unequivocal. He has no absolutely no commercial relationship with Amanda Hotchin.


Jonathan Marshall had flown to Hawaii and much of the story was standard door-stopping fare.

But the quote was the Marie Antoinette (let them eat cake) moment.

Edwards said it accused the Hotchins of being indifferent to the plight of investors who had suffered severe financial losses.

"We don't have to justify where we get our money or what it's spent on, to anyone, I don't care what anyone says," Amanda Hotchin was quoted as saying in the Sunday Star-Times on May 16.

Hotchin has said repeatedly that she did not use the words or anything like them. She told Edwards she cares deeply about investors.

More recently, Hotchin supplied Edwards with four affidavits that Edwards said were from people at the scene which, according to Edwards, verified her version of events.

But as part of the arrangement Edwards agreed not to directly publish them or name the four people.

Two are from American workers who were nearby when Marshall spoke to Hotchin.

The other two are unidentified, beyond Edwards saying that they are adults.

How would Edwards describe his role in the dispute?

"I probably would not bother describing my role," he said.

"Here was someone who had become very prominent claiming that a well-known journalist had made up a quotation she had never spoken.

"That is a matter of concern for anyone who is interested in journalism."

He found it insulting to be asked if he had any commercial relationship because that suggested he might be writing posts on blogs without declaring a conflict of interest - which he would not.


A viral marketing campaign is rather funny, taking the mickey out of commercial news bulletins and their fluffy lifestyle focus.

The advertiser is not clear but it was heavily promoted with a two-page spread in the Herald this week, and advertising folk are speculating it is a promotion for

As I say, it's quite funny - and quite pointed in some ways, given that the fictitious broadcast is coloured in red - not dissimilar to the house colours for One News. It should be clearer next week what the ad is getting at.


International news junkies who lament the lifestyle focus and personality focus of commercial TV news should give a thumbs up for changes at Stratos.

The channel has created a new evening schedule for a half-hour bulletin of Al Jazeera in English starting at 6pm followed by PBS Newshour.

More significantly Stratos - which is available on Sky and Freeview satellite - will also be available on channel 21 on Freeview terrestrial.

The news from PBS, the American public service network, is the most popular show on Triangle and offers an alternative to commercial news formats.


World Federation of Advertisers managing director Stephan Loerke says the future of the 30-second television commercial has become more assured since the global financial crisis.

Loerke met the Association of New Zealand Advertisers this week discussing trends leading to radical changes in marketing, and moves by the world's biggest advertisers to form a consistent framework.

He said fragmentation would lead to a much more complex marketing landscape.

Social and digital media were changing the way advertisers reached consumers and it was no longer viable to saturate the market with advertisements in TV prime time.

He said advertisers were still learning the new landscape of traditional digital and social media but it was apparent they could no longer "carpet bomb" consumers.


Loerke said that among common concerns he heard in his New Zealand visit was that international brands would be moving advertising and marketing from New Zealand to regional offices across the Tasman. But he did not see this as an international trend.

The WFA approach was to build a consistent global framework.

But advertising and media buying was done locally and advertisers needed a local presence to be effective.

Loerke said the radical changes led to questions about relationships in advertising including agencies' split between creative and media buying roles.

Advertisers were "humble" traversing the new landscape.

"It is one thing to understand the dynamic of the change in digital and social media.

"But it's another thing to move significant amounts of money into it."

Radical changes were "scary" for big brands which had become used to traditional marketing and had to rethink to deal. The major challenge was for them to give up the control of the brand they had enjoyed, and to allow direct communications with consumers.

Loerke said that an increasing number of brands were vying for attention which meant people saw marketing as irrelevant.