I’ve told Bob Dey Property Report newsletter readers this morning that the newsletter service will stop next Monday, 31 August.
The website will also close, on 15 September.
I mentioned retirement last year but deferred the date while I continued working on a change in direction for the website focus – more detailed information about urban development, sector context and how to move to having a rational housing sector.
The tricky exercise related to how to format it. Newspapers turn to length when they want to make a big statement; my format was going to be based on brevity, simplicity, in many frequent parts, building up pictures over time.
I saw that as an exercise in continually growing value. But I have other tasks that were being sidelined, and it’s time to turn my attention to them.
The big redirection was going to be a monumental task, presented in small bites, all of which would have required careful management so you could make sense of the jigsaw. I’d hoped to build the website up more over the last year than was actually achieved, which would have enabled the grander plan to proceed, allowing me to step back.
Journalists aren’t ad salespersons or administrators, which I’ve recognised all along. Nevertheless, I’d hoped to perform the conflicting roles (in time & purpose) better over recent months, enabling me to at least start the new direction. Instead, I felt the journalism was declining, the ad project wasn’t making headway and the administrator felt like heading out to sea, leaving the other 2 identities to fight it out.
Now to you, the readers. Quite a few of you have been with me from the start – and, I suppose, through much of my writing career in Auckland, especially from taking on housing at the Auckland Star at the end of 1983.
This month, I’d been clearing my newsletter back office of unsubscribed etc addresses and figured some of you were no longer interested because the reports had become tired and didn’t get to grips with important issues – not because you were old or had lost interest in important topics.
You’ve supported me in many ways, not least in conversation on High St or Queen St or in the lanes. Every day of the business has been a learning curve for me and, by good fortune, somehow some new knowledge for you.
An early feature on the website was the coverage of insolvency at the High Court, unique, much of it typed in the back row of the courtroom, surrounded by the court’s customers.
As in the wake of the 1987 crash, when covering property activity turned overnight to welcoming leading lights of the sector to the courthouse, in the early 2000s there were similar downfalls. It was an unreal experience, both for me & for them, as I took care to spell their names correctly while they looked over my shoulder.
All that was done without rancour. This website has been about facts, not opinions, with the occasional error thrown in. My last newspaper editor was horrified once at the length of a correction I was about to post, remedying a freely admitted error. In contrast, one angry website caller was quietened when I corrected & reposted my piece about him while he was still on the phone, and we parted on good terms.
This, then, is the end of a 2-decade website venture. It will leave a gap, but somebody will fill at least some of that gap, if in a different way.
Last newsletter Monday 31 August, website offline Tuesday 15 September.