We are accustomed to thinking of great journalism as involving exposes of events such as Watergate brought to a naive world (which is supposed to be ever grateful) by intrepid heroes of the press. The value of both the process and content embedded in that notion is questionable and eventually boring.
More rarely good to brilliant journalism fulfils a much more significant if under rated function. Such is the case with Joanne Black's piece on Pike River (Listener January 29, 2011).
This has to be amongst the best journalism has to offer. It is executed to the highest of standards when measured as it should be, albeit subjectively, across multiple dimensions.
I hate to think how much agonising went into crafting every word and sentence yet it reads as easily as tough to compose writing should - effortlessly.
The challenges in producing such work are boundless. This piece is timely, relevant and competes with numerous other opinions. It articulates thoughts many of us may have had but were too afraid to express.
The hallmark then is courage that is sensitive but uncompromising.
It should perhaps be said that the editorial decision or granting of freedom to publish involved no small degree of courage either.
If I over state the efforts involved - which I doubt - the column is of course, the more remarkable.
These journalistic accomplishments may sit on the back page but their quality deserves our front page attention.