Hard News by Russell Brown


Truths well told

In journalism, the word "story" is used without irony as a universal synonym for "news report". Sometimes we might go further and describe a particularly good report as a "great yarn". It is, we like to say, all about the story, but we are in the business of telling the truth.

Simon Cunliffe's The Truth Game is a story -- in the conventional, fictional sense -- about the modern news business. Cunliffe should know -- he's the deputy editor of the Otago Daily Times. He wrote the play between leaving The Press in 2002 and starting at the ODT. His standard response to colleagues concerned that they're depicted in the play is that none of them are in the play -- and yet they all are.

The play runs at Dunedin's Fortune Theatre until the end of October -- and for the rest of us, there's even a trailer:

I'm talking to Simon Cunliffe in this week's Media7 -- along with the maker of another, quite different, work about news and journalism.

 Nicholas Hansen's Breaking the News depicts events after East Timor's historic vote for independence. A free country did not necessarily mean a free press, and the film follows the fortunes of the indigenous journalists left behind behind to do their work after the international press corps had declared victory and shipped out.

 We've brought Nicholas over from Australia and I'll be talking to and showing scenes from the film.

 If you'd like to join us for tomorrow evening's recording, we'll need you to come to the Victoria Street entrance of TVNZ after 5.15pm but before 5.40. Try and drop me a line to let me know you're coming.

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