Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Advocate

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  • cphilpott,

    At its worst, you could accuse Campbell Live of steering towards story subjects because of their underdog status - but even then, the motivation would just be that those stories make for better TV.

    I actually like Campbell Live for another reason too: he seems to me to be the only interviewer in a prime time slot who is interested in directly challenging authority, getting in the face of politicians and people in power (3 News do a decent job of this too, but rather more infrequently). Having just spent a few weeks in the UK and watching their news coverage, I really feel like that is something sorely lacking from Kiwi prime-time news journalism. Too often, it seems that interview subjects are the ones setting the discussion topics and driving the interview.

    New Zealand • Since May 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Isn't a major part of journalism sticking up for the underdogs and keeping the politicians honest?

    Fox news does the opposite: it reinforces the lies of the powerful.

    I'm sure Campbell Live would be talking to govt ministers a lot, if the bastards would ever front. But they don't seem to see that as their job.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Holmes was interested in people he saw as like himself.

    Because well-off old white men have such a hard time getting their view across in our media otherwise. #sob

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    It's not just John Campbell (who personally answers his emails) but the team on Campbell Live that makes this programme so effective. That young journalist, Lachlan Forsyth, gives you hope that his generation will actually be able to save the world.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    popular current affairs very frequently "sides with people against power"

    Appearing to do so while actually doing the opposite is a key skill for establishment journalists like Holmes. Supporting someone who arguably diverted the revenues of a public school into their own pockets, for instance. Those revenues, which could have be used to better educate ordinary kids, instead went into the pocket of the wealthy and powerful management class.

    Even the "look, a pony" stories (boy bands, overweight sheep, musical nostalgia) are part of the same agenda. Giving time to the latest contest for ugly proletards who can't sing keeps issues that affect peoples lives off the agenda.

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

  • Steve Barnes,

    I have to admit that when Campbell covered the "Corngate Scandal" I felt annoyed that he expected the then PM, Helen Clark, to have all the information at her fingertips without giving her the "Heads Up" on the guts of the interview. I do, however, have the greatest respect for the man, he appears as an honest broker when it comes to questions that bother many New Zealanders. His coverage of the mess in Christchurch is a fine example of , at least attempting, to get answers from disingenuous politicians,

    Whilst TV3 are, without doubt, driven by commercial interest they seem to be apologetic of that fact and appear to show no willingness to side with the Government on their agenda of snuggling up to Big Business. TVNZ, on the other hand, appear more like a bumbling bureaucracy with pretensions of corporate importance.

    I would rather see the likes of Campbell and dare I say Sainsbury, continue to question the smug, holier than thou excuses for leaders we face today and, maybe, give them the same grilling John Campbell gave to Helen Clark, than sit back and watch this country slide down the slippery slope to a divided nation living in wretched poverty.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    much of Campbell Live stories I can do without, so much light crap.... but when he does proper newsie stuff I applaud him, his team and the channel - the lunch boxes and CHCH schools being two fine (recent) examples

    Given the "its poor peoples fault" default of so much of our media, of late, it was nice to see someone just give a shit for the kids - and get a heap of cash towards and very worthy cause to boot, hats off to them for that

    The ting that sets Campbell out from most if not all his peers - he comes across as someone who genuinely cares... not just reads whatever is on the prompter whilst dreaming of what cafe he'll tweet about next

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    John 'Quixotic' Campbell is becoming more of a People's Tribune than just a mere Advocate...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    when Campbell covered the “Corngate Scandal” I felt annoyed that he expected the then PM, Helen Clark, to have all the information at her fingertips without giving her the “Heads Up” on the guts of the interview.

    That debacle was such a shame. And that was one time Clark DIDN'T know what to say. Usually she was up to date with everything and eager to talk to the media about it. Crikey, imagine if Key were like that.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Guerin,

    I believe Campbell Live is biased against power and towards the left, but I still watch it. There's room in the media for a range of editorial positions, just as there should be critique of those positions. And Campbell Live doesn't aspire to be a neutral journal/media outlet of record, so it's not trying to hide its approach. If it adds a byline of Fair and Balanced, that would be another story.

    Welington • Since Nov 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood,

    I get hives even reading the snippets you've posted here, Russell, so how you manage to repeatedly unpick columns like Roughan's without resorting to an epic string of four-lettered words or just going batshit crazy, I don't know -- but keep it up!

    Current Affairs on behalf of the underdog, portraying rogues in the service of entertainment could describe Fair Go -- but even Fair Go goes out of its way to balance the story, and the mining subsidies story was one that could've done with some balance.

    That said, I enjoyed the non-partisan way the lunchboxes / KidsCan story was conducted. "Whoever's at fault, it's not these kids. Let's help them first, then sort out what the hell is causing it, maybe while they're eating their lunch." - lovely.

    Can't wait to see the Campbell interview. Does he (and his show) have a credo? A mission statement? A written-down purpose?

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Stewart,

    Everything I have ever read by John Roughan has been utter tosh. Everything. Without exception.

    Pt Chev • Since Feb 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    The Minister of Education refused to submit herself for interview by Campbell...

    That seems to be the default settings for Ministers in this Government. Duck. Hide. Avoid. The PM is unable to find the time to front on National Radio or Campbell Live yet has time to appear on "friendly" programs. The often repeated comment that no one was available to respond is a bit ominous for Democracy.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Dave Guerin,

    I believe Campbell Live is biased against power and towards the left

    If it were biased towards power, then it would be propaganda.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Stewart,

    Everything I have ever read by John Roughan has been utter tosh. Everything. Without exception.

    You know, I actually used to admire him. He could be pretty good.

    But these days his columns are sullen, mean and poorly argued. They're just embarrassing sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Ironically the Herald's attempt at advocacy journalism to raise the drinking age failed.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Campbell Live does seem to do a good job of researching their stories nowadays. That I think is their strength now. And it makes for a better quality programme.

    It wasn't always so, the corngate saga was terrible not because Campbell ambushed the PM, politicians should expect that and to some degree deserve it, but because they had done such poor research (essentially just one source).

    That the show appears left leaning is deceptive. There is nothing "left" about reporting stories of people being harmed by those in positions of power, be that power political, business or bureaucratic.

    However, using John Roughan's criticisms to highlight the show's success is not ideal. A much better mark of success is the actual changes they've helped make by presenting stories of real people and presenting possible solutions.

    It's not ratings or commercial revenue that measures the quality of the program. Rather it's if the program can make lives better. Many in the media would argue that isn't the goal, but that does seem to be what Campbell live is actually achieving.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    A much better mark of success is the actual changes they’ve helped make by presenting stories of real people

    I absolutely LOVED them for the coverage of red zone life post-quake. Including the house-moving story of our own David Haywood. That's real, important stuff.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    absolutely LOVED them for the coverage of red zone life post-quake

    Exactly. That story highlighted the insanity of the insurance rules in a personal clear way. And it seems like they've realised they can do that really well in the time they have.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    I found myself in the rare position of being near a TV on Monday morning and watched Breakfast's coverage of the school meals issue. Which left me wondering why Kidscan was seeking funding to deliver breakfasts to every needy school? Are they seeking a monopoly? Trying to drive out other providers, such as Red Cross? The fact that the reporting never mentioned the existence of other agencies in this area suggests that TVNZ journalists did no independent research and merely worked up a story brought to them by Kidscan.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    the Herald's ... advocacy journalism

    and there's a point, NZ Herald hasn't been opposed to doing some advocay and campaign journalism itself although some of it's senior editors and columnists may dislike the trend.

    Actively pursuing news isn't the same as manufacturing it and I much prefer it to copying press releases with scant follow up.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Perhaps there’s some truth in the criticism. When Campbell reporter John Sellwood accompanied a group of West Coast miners on their mission to Wellington, to beg a reprieve for Spring Creek, the question of whether the government should subsidise coal didn’t get a look in. Sellwood was part of the mission, rather than an observer of it.

    And that’s the big problem I have with journalists getting into ‘campaign’ mode. If you’ve got an editorial bias on an issue, I’d much rather have my nose rubbed in it so I know where that stink is coming from. But when you’re omitting inconvenient facts and non-trivial context– or not allowing the possibility that the story’s a little more complicated that you pre-determined narrative – that’s still bad journalism.

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

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But these days his columns are sullen, mean and poorly argued. They’re just embarrassing sometimes.

    It's all too obvious that he's writing from the security blanket of, for lack of a better analogy, the golden curtain.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    If TVNZ are going to for lighter content than Close Up (which I didn't watch because it too often too light)...then I'll probably have no idea what its replacement might be called as I would see it so very rarely. Like that other show I rarely watch they have on in the mornings... whatever it's called.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "They've made it their mission to side with people against power"

    The fact that Roughan can write this with a straight face, on the assumption that everyone would nod and agree that this is a bad thing, is astonishing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

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