Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Soap Opera

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  • Gabor Toth,

    6pm is a terrible time to watch the news - but it's quite a good time to listen to it having recently discovered that Kiwi FM plays an audio simulcast of the 6pm TV3 news during the week. Even better is that they fill the ad-breaks with choice tracks of NZ Music (unlike Radio Live who also do the simulcast but cram their own irritating ads into the breaks). It is quite a different experience from listening to Nat Rad's news and if you use your imagination, the pictures are surprisingly good (and they don't get in the way of cooking dinner).

    I am eternally frustrated that TVNZ and TV3 continue to go head-to-head with both their 6pm and their late (10.30) news broadcasts. The UK have the BBC "Nine O’clock News" as a national institution and it's the perfect time - dinner is cooked and eaten, kids are in bed, but it's not too late either. However neither network is willing to take the gamble of doing something innovative with their screening times in case of losing their precious "market share". Whenever I'm visiting family in Melbourne, by doing a bit of channel / network hopping, I can watch the news every hour / on the hour between 5pm and 10pm. And for the most part - this is real news with reports going on for up to 5 minutes with proper depth and analysis. They also have some excellent newsreaders in Australia (who also do live interviews) in their mid-late 50s with terrific depth of experience, who have been on-air for 20 years+ and are revered as paragons on intelligent news broadcasting.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    While living in Australia, I used to watch the 7pm news followed by the 7.30 Report on ABC. Now that's public broadcasting.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    While living in Australia, I used to watch ...

    __Whatever Happened To...?
    __ (the aussie version, not fronted by Paul Holmes).
    How much NZOA funding did Julie Christie get for this 'kiwi programming'? 1.2million? 1.5 million? How much money will she have left over after flying in the Ingham Twins, paying Paul's salary, and paying TVNZ for all that archive footage?

    Whatever will NZOA think of next? Funding programming specificly for cellphones? Didn't Vodafone already do that? And wasn't it a ratings loser when rebroadcast on C4?

    Imagine if they funded the news?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    How much money will she have left over after flying in the Ingham Twins, paying Paul's salary, and paying TVNZ for all that archive footage?

    I think Julie's quite good at having plenty left over.

    Whatever will NZOA think of next? Funding programming specificly for cellphones? Didn't Vodafone already do that? And wasn't it a ratings loser when rebroadcast on C4?

    MyStory? NZ On Air funded it from their Innovation fund (but it still had to screen first on TV to stay inside the Broadcasting Act). Vodafone managed to come up with a workable deal, Telecom couldn't.

    It wasn't a big commercial success, but I actually thought the series itself was pretty good. Interesting point: now screening again on C4 in conventional 30 min blocks -- and rating much better.

    Imagine if they funded the news?

    The news being funded out of TVNZ's commercial activity is the bulwark of its political independence. If that was to change -- say, in the case of TV2 being sold and One being made non-commercial -- there would have to be huge changes in governance to keep it clean.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    NZ On Air funded it from their Innovation fund (but it still had to screen first on TV to stay inside the Broadcasting Act).

    You mean they played jiggery pokery with their own rules in order to pay for something some ppl might have considered bollocks?

    now screening again on C4 in conventional 30 min blocks -- and rating much better*.

    You mean, like, a TV episode? Which is what NZOA was set up to fund?

    So how did this success/failure (choose your spin) lead to the decision to fund programming for cellphones and youTube? Is this not another example of where bureaucracies create work for themselves in order to continue to feed at the trough?

    *can anyone define/quantify "better"?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So how did this success/failure (choose your spin) lead to the decision to fund programming for cellphones and youTube? Is this not another example of where bureaucracies create work for themselves in order to continue to feed at the trough?

    I think it was a very reasonable use of an innovation fund to try a new format, although my guess is that the killer video on mobile is going to be user-generated. Vodafone's Self Central -- which allows kids to sell each other short clips for 25 cents -- is surprisingly big.

    The amendment introduced by Maharey plugs a significant gap in programme funding: only the broadcast component of a programme can be supported at present, not any web or mobile collateral that might be attac hed to it. This is actually starting to hurt New Zealand programmes in overseas markets.

    The interesting part will be where the intellectual property in an associated website lies. It seems terribly fiddly to have the kind of rights split that applies to programmes themselves, but you don't want either broadcasters or producers capturing something the public is paying for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I think Julie's quite good at having plenty left over.

    And not just her. For me, that's one of the biggest TVNZ scandals; certain producers getting rich off a locked-up commisioning process.

    I feel I'm getting screwed three ways - as a taxpayer who funds this exclusive club; as a potential content provider who has ZERO chance of ever getting a commission under the current system; and as viewer who considers much of the resultant content worse than useless.

    But, hey, it's not corruption if you call yourself "independent", apparently.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I know it's shooting fish in a barrel, but someone at TV3 "News" needs to be smacked hard on the head with a frying pan: the third or fourth item in this evening's news was some crap about whether Paris Hilton might like an NZer for a boyfriend.

    It was based entirely on a contrived interview with two of her mates in Queenstown. Leanne Malcolm made speculative suggestions and they both gave vague, non-comittal answers. The two friends also seemed uncomfortable about discussing Hilton, one wanting to talk about whatever it is in Queenstown she's there for.

    If it was the "fluff" peice at the end, well, I could've lived with it. But that early? No way.

    It was cheap, stupid and irrelevant.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I know it's shooting fish in a barrel, but someone at TV3 "News" needs to be smacked hard on the head with a frying pan: the third or fourth item in this evening's news was some crap about whether Paris Hilton might like an NZer for a boyfriend.

    Just saw it. An example of everything that's wrong with TV news. Having bagged the Herald's Derek Cheng for a silly Wikipedia beat-up that turned out to be not his idea at all, I'm charitably assuming that Leanne Malcolm was instructed to take that line of questioning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm charitably assuming that Leanne Malcolm was instructed to take that line of questioning.

    Very charitable of you. I'm more familiar with how newspaper journos operate than TV journos and generally the chief reporter / ed tells a reporter to interview so-and-so on such-and-such issue, but no more, presuming the reporter is sufficiently intelligent to formulate their own line of enquiry.

    But do TV news reporters in NZ get instructed what line of questions to ask as well? Leanne Malcolm's always struck me as a reasonably on-to-it journo, so I was puzzled by the inane questions.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    If you look at "Today's Most Viewed" on the Stuff website, you'll find
    1) Olsen twin wont wear bikinis
    2) Scantily-clad Britney scores bad reviews.
    3) Your say: Britney scores bad reviews
    4) Police busted after tracking device found on car
    5) My boobs are sagging, Charlize says
    6) Paris has eyes for kiwi bloke
    7) Body Shop founder Anita Roddick dies
    8) Mother forced out of NZ
    9) Your say: Disney star in nude scandal
    10) Honiss under seige as 'worst' ref

    Any truth to the suggestion that newspaper execs are pressuring the editorial staff to make the front page a bit racier?

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Kids in TV land, you been duped.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    truth to the suggestion that newspaper execs are pressuring the editorial staff to make the front page a bit racier?

    I think it's the old case of when you ask people what they want to see on the news, they'll tell you they want hard-hitting investigative journalism, not that tabloid rubbish.

    But when it comes down to actual viewing/reading, it seems that people do rather like knowing about Charlize's saggy boobs and Britney's giant arse.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Two thoughts on the most viewed list:

    1. There's a feedback loop in that list. Once something is on the list, it'll attract more clicks, and stay on the list, maybe rising higher. And then if editorial staff base placement of stories on the site on previous "most viewed" results, the site can skew quite heavily based on originally random input from the very first "most viewed" list.

    2. Disregarding that, suppose that a few evergreen topics are most popular. It doesn't follow that those are the only ones worth covering. I'm having trouble expressing this, but I suspect that there isn't much commonality outside the "core", so a fair coverage that meets, say, 80% of people's interests will have to extend way outside the core. And it maybe that the most popular topics along, while popular in themselves, are not compelling enough for the majority of the audience. Focussing on the core is the kind of Pareto-worshipping accountantism that leads to Whitcoulls having 1 million copies of the Da Vinci code and a container of New Weekly magazines and nothing else.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I know it's shooting fish in a barrel, but someone at TV3 "News" needs to be smacked hard on the head with a frying pan: the third or fourth item in this evening's news was some crap about whether Paris Hilton might like an NZer for a boyfriend.

    It was based entirely on a contrived interview with two of her mates in Queenstown. Leanne Malcolm made speculative suggestions and they both gave vague, non-comittal answers. The two friends also seemed uncomfortable about discussing Hilton, one wanting to talk about whatever it is in Queenstown she's there for.

    If it was the "fluff" peice at the end, well, I could've lived with it. But that early? No way.

    It was cheap, stupid and irrelevant.

    I've quoted your whole post because I agree with every word. I was so incensed last night I was thinking of making a formal complaint to BSA (something I've never done before). As you point out, the whole story was concocted out of leading questions by the interviewer. As soon as the story finished I rewound it so I could watch it again - I thought I'd missed something, but no, Paris Hilton did not actually say she wanted a kiwi boyfriend as 3NEWS boldly stated!!
    The reason I'm so incensed is that this is the type of blatant dumbing down of the news that leads us into PR-handout journalism. Which leads us into wars and waterfront rugby stadiums because no-one in the press is willing to challenge the handout.
    The other reason I'm so incensed is that this makes me feel really stoopid for switching to 3NEWS all those years ago. Back then they took the lead against TVNZ's formulaic reporting, but I guess I can switch back just as easily.

    Leanne Malcolm's always struck me as a reasonably on-to-it journo, so I was puzzled by the inane questions.

    Methinks she has been seduced by the Queenstown lifestyle. I believe she works freelance, covering stories (outside of ChCh and Dundedin) as they arise.

    thoughts on the most viewed list:

    The results are also skewed by ten people reading only one of the 'serious' stories and five people reading all ten 'gossip' stories.

    9) Your say: Disney star in nude scandal

    At the risk of negating my outrage above: I googled this 'star's' name last week when the story broke on the web. Hopefully she will have made all her tweenage fans think twice about taking a nudie pic of yourself and sending it to your boyfriend. (Zac, you bastard, I __know it got out because you couldn't help but show it to one of your bro's)__ What's weird is that even sans clothes she still looks like Disney's wholesome girl next door for whom butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    While we're ragging on 3news, how about that plane crash-landing the other night. The promo advised "find out how many people got out".

    The answer?: all of them.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    While we're ragging on 3news, how about that plane crash-landing the other night. The promo advised "find out how many people got out".

    The answer?: all of them.

    3 News seems to be progressively adopting every annoying tic of One News circa five years ago -- in this case, pointless and irritating teasers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    the third or fourth item in this evening's news was some crap about whether Paris Hilton might like an NZer for a boyfriend.

    That's not news. Dick in a box wins Emmy, that's news.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    So does punctuation make it alright?
    The word used 4 times & not all direct quotes.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4198457a10.html

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Concerning myself with the reporting rather than any details relating to the tragic loss of life and impending court case.

    Can anyone answer if the Herald are in breach of Judge Sarah Fleming order by offering this article & their own blog link to discuss it?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10463123

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Kent Brockman: So when you realized Christmas was ruined, how did you feel?
    Marge: How do you think I felt?
    Kent Brockman: Absolutely devastated? [turns to camera] "Absolutely devastated," the words of a heartbroken mother.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    So does punctuation make it alright?
    The word [is] used 4 times & not all direct quotes.

    I'm sure that's just the fuddy duddy ol' DomPost who probably didn't understand the guy was saying Niggaz (not 'niggers').
    Also from the Stuff/DomPost story:

    Ethan described his friend [as] a "big friendly beast" who got into no more trouble than anyone else and was not usually the type to get into fights.

    So it was a bad night then? The alleged killer also allegedly stabbed someone else earlier that night. Allegedly.

    "He said he was going to get jumped by heaps of niggers".

    Yeah, stabbing someone's bro' (allegedly) tends to bring a negative reaction.

    all of them in the group were very drunk that night

    drunk on Party Pills? C'mon Jim Anderton, lets fast-track that legislation before more teens are killed by Party Pills.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    <i>3 News seems to be progressively adopting every annoying tic of One News circa five years ago -- in this case, pointless and irritating teasers.</i>

    But to give praise where praise is due, WTF is Sean Plunkett on and where can I get some? I don't know if he's switched to decaf or what, but over the last couple of months I've been able to turn on Morning Report without an instant migraine. He is more pleasant to listen to - and a damn sight more effective - now that lunging for the jugular isn't his default interview technique; Kathryn Ryan is much more cconfident with the more 'lifestyle' elements of Nine to Noon. and if Mary Wilson can just chill out a wee bit, I'll have no reason to turn on TV news ever again.

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

  • Damian Christie,

    But do TV news reporters in NZ get instructed what line of questions to ask as well? Leanne Malcolm's always struck me as a reasonably on-to-it journo, so I was puzzled by the inane questions.

    Yeah we can get instructed as such, for example if we get told to go to a press conference and only ask about such-and-such because that's the angle the bosses are interested in. For example I might go to a NZRFU press conference and only ask about the uniforms or whatever, because that's the story we want. OTOH, if I asked only out-of-the-blue questions about whether Chris Jack would like to play for the Warriors, and then ran a story saying he's intending to, that's probably a better analogy.

    I didn't see the Hilton story on 3, only heard about it this morning when the breakfast jocks on The Rock were slagging it off as a news story. Gotta say, if even breakfast Rock jocks are criticising a story's newsworthiness...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    TV3s offensively nasal blond Kate was quite happy to talk about niggers as well tonight.

    I really think this word adds nothing to the story but exposes something of the reporters. All middle class white chicks who have a prejudice towards men of colour?

    I know a few amateur dentists when it comes to this word.
    The whole Niggaz thing missed me & my mates. CHCH having a few skin-heads around tends to leave this word with its highten emphasis.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

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