It’s that time of year again – when, in a strange departure from traditional news values, websites are imbued with a kind of happy ho-ho-ho-ness and the real stories are often buried underneath stories such as “How to appropriately regift”.
The lists, the bests and worsts of the year, have started to sprout like rare end-of-year funghi. If you can’t beat ‘em, I say…..
Best News Story
Christchurch Earthquake 1, 2, 3, 4 …
In a country where annually news is thin on the ground, both channels share the honour of Best TV News cover of the quakes, even if 3 News had the by far the most extensive video on February’s killer quake (if only because ONE News’ building was virtually destroyed and its equipment largely lost or inaccessible in the wreckage).
Best TV reporter in the February quake has to be TV3’s Hamish Clark, anyone who saw his superb walkabout in the immediate aftermath, capturing the terror of the immediate aftershocks and running vox-pops with stunned survivors as buildings continued to crumble onto the street, got as close as you could to the disaster without actually being there, cowering or stumbling for your life.
Best camera coverage of the February disaster, all the news crews who got out on the streets, shot whatever they could, edited in the camera and filed some much of their field footage live to air.
Best newspaper coverage of the quakes, the Christchurch Press which never missed a day in print, despite its building being largely destroyed and its staff injured or shocked – even if the state of the streets made home delivery a forlorn hope.
Stuff.co.nz and herald.co.nz came into their own as rolling, quickly updated, news sources with excellent video and stills people were seeking so that they could try and comprehend what had happened.
A Breaking News Award to the citizen journalists of Twitter who beat every form of media for getting information, news and rumour out within seconds of every shake and all developments in the city.
Worst News Coverage goes to the dickheads – you know who you are – from both home and abroad who breached the CBD red zone trying to gain a “scoop” – and were promptly arrested.
Best Election coverage (on the campaign and on the night)
3 News takes the title for the campaign TV coverage, even if it was grossly sensationalist over the “teacupgate” – which proved to be a storm in one.
Patrick Gower’s superb baiting of Don Brash should feature in Journalism 101 courses for years to come – even if his story did, in fact, prove Brash’s point that Paddy was a “deceitful bastard”.
TV3 again takes the title for Best coverage on the night if only because its graphics were better, its panel smaller and saner, and it didn’t cutaway at vital moments to comments and events that were irrelevant.
The Royal NZ Herald wins best newspaper coverage of the campaign, it remained uncharacteristically extremely challenging to the National Party incumbents and Claire Trevett’s “fly on the wall” coverage of the leaders out on the trail was unfailingly funny and insightful.
The Dominion Post gets a highly commended for its use of Vernon Small’s well-trained eye on the leaders but, somehow, we were left feeling he was underused.
No newspaper gets an award for election night coverage as this came the next day in the Sunday papers and, as we all know, the Sundays are complete crap.
The Best News Website Coverage was undoubtedly Scoop, which seems to pride itself on “being there” and “being first” – old news values serving new media well.
Worst Election News Coverage had to be The Standard whose hard left rhetoric rendered it blind to any rational coverage.
Labour’s Red Alert was a much better and clearer standard bearer for the left and while right wing sites such as Whaleoil were almost as blinkered as The Standard, the blubbery one saved himself – just -by the liberal use of humour.
Then there’s The Worst Awards….Teacupgate, as mentioned, and the “accidental” (yeah, right) taping of the conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Act’s John Banks.
No-one came out of this silly debacle with any honour, least of all the media who tried to stand on the high moral ground but found it crumbling away around them as public sentiment lined up against them. It proved that the ends don’t justify the means every time, and yes, while the pollies were stupid to be discussing sensitive material as hacks were pressed on the other side of the café window, the means don’t necessarily justify the ends.
Most improved Telly Critters
This award goes to TVNZ’s Breakfast.
In the lunar crater left on TV ONE’s Breakfast by the stellar implosion of Paul Henry, new hosts Petra Bagust and Corren Dann were hung out to dry for several weeks.
Attacked by razor-toothed packs of commentators and critics they staggered on until, miraculously, one day – they found their own characters. Yes, it’s frothy and light with a snap, crackle and pop but at least it is once again watchable.
Those who prefer healthier muesli can opt for Rachel Smalley’s creditable effort at pumping out nutritious hard news on TV3’s Firstline.
Gone But Not Forgotten
He has an ego bigger than Paul Holmes, his career meltdown was the envy of Michael Laws, but Paul Henry ain’t seen nothin’ yet. His trans-Tasman leap to Channel Ten’s new morning show has a “into the valley of death…” air about it. Quite frankly Ten has a reputation for being a newsman’s graveyard but, luckily, Paul is more showman than journalist so his reincarnation on what Lachlan Murdoch apparently wants to shape into an Aussie Fox News might not be the disaster we all expect.
His co-host is touted as being Lachlan’s former supermodel wife Sarah and, serious career advice here, Paul, this is not the TVNZ newsroom! Keep it zipped (and I don’t mean your mouth)….
Meri Kirihimete to all…..