Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: An appetite for scandal

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  • Damian Christie,

    TV1 or TV3 could choose to deliver news at 6 pm. Instead they play for ratings. The NZ herald does the same. There is little of the NZ media that doesn't allow ratings to define what they present to the public.

    Bart, many of us might like to see more worthy news, less 'trivia', more analysis, more world events etc etc etc, but I have to ask, in a fully commercial model, where is this imperative of which you speak? The TV stations could get rid of the news altogether if they wanted to, you have no authority - moral or otherwise - to prevent this, or (your copyright aside in this case) from them adopting the E!/Weather model.

    Could you also force a shoe store to sell uncomfortable shoes that only a few people liked, or a supermarket to sell only brussel sprouts? If these are commercial companies, with no prior contract (like a KiwiShare, or in TV1's case, the Charter), who are you to dictate what they can and can't do?

    Enter the public broadcaster.

    There are a lot of people who say TV1 and 2 should be split, so that one can provide 'unpopular' programming free of the commercial imperative, while TV2 can do all the Paris Hilton carry on to its heart's content. I don't think it's mutinous of me to say I can see benefits in that model.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    One more thing, I also don't agree that as journalists we live a particularly 'privileged' life. We have much the same access as everyone else, I can't think of too many special rights I avail myself of in the course of my working day. Yes, I can call up politicians and try and get them on the phone, but so can you - the number is listed in the book. I can sit in on court hearings, so can you.

    Most importantly, you also have the right (and it's not a privilege, it's a right), to publish whatever you want. It doesn't have to be significant or important. I have a blog that is neither, I publish stuff on it regularly. Knock yourself out, I say.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    can anyone in this forum say that they did nothing stupid and or illegal at that age?

    P & receiving $30k stolen goods? I can say that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Fluffy?!?! This means Jack might just be able to play against South Africa this weekend! This is HUGE news!

    Ok, so it's an important sports story. But I don't know who he is, so he and his newborn are further down my list of news than any P child is.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Bart, many of us might like to see more worthy news, less 'trivia', more analysis, more world events etc etc etc, but I have to ask, in a fully commercial model, where is this imperative of which you speak?

    This is an entirely rhetorical question, Damien, but I suspect TVNZ expends a great deal of time and effort telling advertisers what awfully affluent people are watching? I'd respectfully suggest to Bart that if he turned his eyeballs elsewhere - and, say, tens of thousands of others did so - someone might get the hint sooner rather than later? The marketplace isn't a one way street.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Bart, many of us might like to see more worthy news, less 'trivia', more analysis, more world events etc etc etc, but I have to ask, in a fully commercial model, where is this imperative of which you speak? The TV stations could get rid of the news altogether if they wanted to, you have no authority - moral or otherwise - to prevent this, or (your copyright aside in this case) from them adopting the E!/Weather model.

    Actually, this is a notable point. I think nothing of watching The Simpsons and letting the news fly right by me, so if so many people are far more interested in celebrity affairs than current affairs, then - why are the networks still broadcasting The News?

    The irritation isn't the content per se, but the conflict between the content and the packaging - broadcasters provide entertainment (gossip / sensationalism / garbage) but try to frame it as important, or informative, or newsworthy or In The Public Interest. Why is that? To whom exactly are they trying to appeal? They can't - or shouldn't even need to - have it both ways.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    What I found interesting in the Herald this morning was that they named Millie but not the other woman also arrested. She didn't appear to have name suppression so they obviously chose not to publish her name because she wasn't famous.
    Other points of interest: On Sunday the TV3 website said Millie was charged with possession for supply, but by Monday in court she was only charged with possession and receiving stolen property. I wonder what she received the $18k Plasma TV for then? Since her lawyer says they will be defending the charges ("at this time") I can only assume she was storing the TV at her flat for a friend.
    The good thing about this is that it will wake up the middle class to the scourge of P. Hitherto it's only been those nasty social welfare recipients who did it.
    Afraid not folks, it's endemic in the middle/rich classes - the difference being that they don't have to rob the local suprette to pay for their supply. I know of one top Auckland real estate agent who is out of business due to his P habit getting waay out of hand. But so what, there are a hundred stories like his. P is highly addictive, so even if you had many happy years on E you're advised to steer well clear.
    Here endeth the sermon (which you may have found redundant, but I'm still surprised at its growth)

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Craig: Part of me agrees, part of me doesn't.

    While I suspect that there is a socially significant number of people who have simply given up on TV, they don't tend to get counted in TV stations' strategic rationalities - along the lines of "They don't vote for us, so why bother..."

    Further, I think that there is an even greater proportion of people who will watch regardless of how bad TV gets, and the TV channels know this. They may seek among channels for what is the least worst option, but if the channels collude to lower quality/production costs - they're still going to watch and be used to sell advertising. It is only when a) people stop watching and b) advertisers move to non-TV media that anything will happen.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    I'd respectfully suggest to Bart that if he turned his eyeballs elsewhere - and, say, tens of thousands of others did so - someone might get the hint sooner rather than later? The marketplace isn't a one way street.

    With 900,000 people watch the final of Dancing With the Stars, that's 1.8 million eyeballs to turn. Actually, without eye-loss stas at hand, I'd hazard a guess at 1,799,100 eyeballs (one glass eye per thousand people).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    The irritation isn't the content per se, but the conflict between the content and the packaging - broadcasters provide entertainment (gossip / sensationalism / garbage) but try to frame it as important, or informative, or newsworthy or In The Public Interest.

    Sing it, sister. If they stopped claiming it was news, it wouldn't piss me off so much. Talk about your bait and switch.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Fluffy?!?! This means Jack might just be able to play against South Africa this weekend! This is HUGE news!

    Er, sorry to disappoint you, but he's still having the family time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    (InternationalObserver, this comment is in no way trying to have a go at you)

    I cannot fathom how people can even mention crystal methamphetamine and MDMA in the same sentence.

    Mild use of crystal methamphetamine results in:
    1. Narcissism
    2. Lots of boring monologues
    3. Higher metabilism and the possibility of weight loss
    4. Sleep becoming unimportant
    5. Lack of empathy
    6. Obsessive behaviors

    Mild use of MDMA results in:
    1. Lots of hugs
    2. Permanent grin
    3. Strange sweating and the need to drink lots of water
    4. Putting on and taking off ones jumper often
    5. Lots of empathy
    6. Temporary destruction of ego

    Abuse of crystal methamphetamine may result in:
    1. Loss of teeth and bone structure
    2. Paranoia
    3. Mindless violence
    4. Psychosis

    Abuse of MDMA may result in:
    1. Depression
    2. ???

    The former is a psychostimulant and the latter a psychotropic.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mark Easterbrook wrote:
    With 900,000 people watch the final of Dancing With the Stars, that's 1.8 million eyeballs to turn.

    Hey, Dancing With The Stars is just the latest iteration of mind-crushingly dumb light entertainment - a genre with a long and honourable pedigree in broadcasting. That I can (just about live with), as long as the shameless monkeys draw the line at marketing it as a 'Charter programming' rather than news and current affairs.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I cannot fathom how people can even mention crystal methamphetamine and MDMA in the same sentence.

    I know what you mean ... but ... I know at least a half dozen people who caned it every weekend FOR YEARS on E without any problem. They remained (by and large) fully functioning adults. Three months on P and they were munted (and not in a good way).

    My point was that P is a completely different drug, but unfortunately some people think a drug is a drug and if they are 'smart' enough to handle one they can handle the other. They foolishly think they won't be addicted. Yikes, I'm sermonising again </backsoff>

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    IO,
    I totally agree. The litmus test is:
    Is the user controlling the drug or the drug controlling the user?

    meth, freebase, sugar, television, nicotine:
    the latter seems prevalent...

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    I cannot fathom how people can even mention crystal methamphetamine and MDMA in the same sentence

    Amen.

    Some folks from LEAP - http://www.leap.cc Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - were here a couple of years ago, and Eddie Ellison (20+ years at Scotland Yard) told me meth was only briefly popularly in UK. It was all over in 18 months because users realised what a cheap (there) shite drug it was and went back to E or perhaps onto trying whatever else. He thought NZ's geographical isolation might also be partly to blame for its longevity here.

    This probably isn't the place, but I know crystal meth was available in Auckland by late 70s, but P couldn't be what we used to stir into our coffee could it ? If so I'm glad I never thought to try smoking it.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Venetia King,

    After reading some of this I finally got annoyed with the "Paul Holmes's daughter!" angle, and looked for a story focusing on her mum. I didn't find any, but came across this interesting comment in the readers' feedback to the story on Stuff:

    "Why have reports failed to recognise that Millie's mother is now Dr Hinemoa Elder - a psychiatrist - specialising in the mental health of adolescents? This is worth a mention surely as Dr Elder is to be one of the main guest speakers at the National Early Psychosis Intervention Conference hosted by Hau Ora Waikato in Hamilton in the coming weeks and "P" is one of the big contributors to psychosis!"
    - Mary Cribb

    Found the conference info here.

    I'm surprised the MSM haven't picked up on this, instead labelling Dr E a 'former television presenter' as if that's the only interesting thing she's ever done.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 117 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    but P couldn't be what we used to stir into our coffee could it ?

    Of course that should read 'what I used to stir into my' coffee . . .

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    Millie's mother is now Dr Hinemoa Elder - a psychiatrist - specialising in the mental health of adolescents

    Good spotting, so young Millie may have heard it all before. I hope Dr E has as good a grip on reality as stephen walker of tokyo.
    Given how enthusiastic Kiwi experimenters are, if it was as true about cannabis and p as so many media headlines holler, surely there would have been a very detectable increase in psychosis incidence by now ?

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    but came across this interesting comment in the readers' feedback to the story on Stuff

    OMG! Amongst all the dross in those readers' feedback/your views pages, someone is actually doing the journalists' job for them.

    How terribly Web 2.0
    Another nail in the coffin...

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    After reading some of this I finally got annoyed with the "Paul Holmes's daughter!" angle, and looked for a story focusing on her mum. I didn't find any
    Mark my words, there will be plenty of stories about Mum in the coming weeks. Mostly tabloid 'questions' asking "did Hine 'abandon' her daughter to Paul Holmes?" "where has Hine been since she divorced Paul?" etc etc.
    The same source who told me of Minnie's alleged P problem two weeks ago also told me that since the divorce Hine has been largely absent from Millie's life. Time (or the tabloids) will tell us if that is true or not.
    If it is true then we can also expect to see Paul Holmes (Millie's adoptive, not birth, father) anointed/positioned as SuperDad by the tabloids/weeklies.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    So you predict many more weeks of coverage. Ugh, well, makes a change from Rachel Hunter or Paris Hilton stories right? Or do you think someone will try and write a comparison feature between the two? Man I wish i worked for a tabloid sometimes.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1023 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    TV3 already made the comparison on Monday night! Tied Paris, Britney, et al into the 'trend' of 'today's young women' going wild n crazy. Even had a local private Rehab say half their clients of late were young women on P.

    NZ 20/20 are working on a piece about the 'pressure' on young 'tweens' to be thin and sexy. 10 years of saucy music vids are to blame evidently, and the teen magazines. So this Millie thing must be a godsend to them. I wonder how they'll try and make it 'relevant' (since it isn't) to their story - or maybe they'll just shoe-horn it in.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Damien

    I understand your points. I guess my point is that I believe that there is a need for a national news broadcast, that genuinely tries to broadcast significant and important events. So that the public might become more informed.

    You are of course right there is no imperitive for TV1 or TV3 to provide such a service - other than moral.

    As Heather pointed out the advertising for the news programmes suggests they will provide "news" and not trivia, so to some degree I have a valid complaint.

    I can and do turn my eyes away from the 6pm news (heck it's not often I'm home in time). But the reality is that for many many people the expectation is that at 6 pm TV1 and TV3 will provide a news programme. For many people there is not much other choice. And for most people they haven't even considered that there might be another choice.

    Given that expectation - it would be nice if someone actually tried to provide news at 6 pm.

    I think you are right the only way we will get that is if TV1 becomes a state funded not-for-profit broadcaster.

    As for privilages - sure I theoretically have the same privilages. But in practice reporters get more access than the general public and rightly so. And certainly the courts treat publication by reporters in terms of "in the public interest" again that is theoretically available to anyone but in practice I suspect not. But you are right journalists don't get much that is unique or special.

    To me this case highlights a question about the role of journalism and news broadcasts in a society. If you believe, as I do, that society needs active intelligent journalists to monitor the workings of society and report when things go wrong (or right). Then those journalists need a place to report the news they discover. That place needs to be free of political influence, obviously, but also I think it needs to be free of commercial influence as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the plane didn't crash it just landed without wheels

    It qualifies as a "good" landing - everyone walked away.

    Not quite an "excellent" landing - that's one where the plane is able to take off again.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

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