Coulda, shoulda, woulda… the mantra of the procrastinator and this blogger.
I’m not going to descend into another Grade 10 grovel (it’s unseemly) and yes, there has been a bit going on since the last post. Not the least of which was TVNZ’s appearance in front of the Commerce Select Committee at the beginning of the month.
This is an annual flogging for TVNZ’s executives – after all, they’re the SOE everyone loves to hate.
This time round, though, it shone a light on the balance of power between the sixth and seventh floors and News and Current Affairs at the state broadcaster. It seems the latter is losing the editorial war over the formers commercial imperatives.
There’s been a lot of huffing and puffing in blogs and on websites about Labour’s broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran’s accusations that TVNZ’s Head of Programming instructed reporters and other staff at “Fair Go” to instruct them not to produce programmes that would upset advertisers.
TV One and TV2 boss Jeff Latch was called to the meeting too, apparently (as Elaine from “Seinfeld” once famously said about a former boyfriend, “He’s a little, little man”) to impart his editorial wisdom as well.
I’m sure the long-suffering “Fair Go” staff responded to Latch’s exhortations for them to use “balance” in their stories (surely, that wasn’t code for “don’t scare the advertisers off”?) with a nodding acceptance. After all, Latch and Co are their bosses.
I hope they would’ve gone away, yelled, screamed, threatened rebellion. Oh, that’s right, they did – hence Latch’s justified humiliation at the Commerce Select Committee.
This shoddy little episode is further proof of News and Current Affairs being knobbled under CEO Rick Ellis’s stewardship.
Yes, the State broadcaster has posted a $19.2 million half-year profit up from last year’s $4.9 million. As an aside, last year’s much smaller result wasn’t as a result of poor advertising revenue (although I bet TVNZ sales will claim that) but because of the company’s $14.8 million write-off of its stake in the TiVo set box-tops, another spectacular fail.
And with Ellis’ departure (and old mate Kevin Kendrick, formerly from Telecom, tipped to take over) along with several other news department paper-shufflers, News and Current Affairs is presently at the bottom of the downward swing.
How else can you explain why they decided to let Political Editor Guyon Espiner go? His departure to TV 3 is a prime example of the arrogance that seeps through the place.
TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs Department has more talent per square metre than anywhere else.
The trouble is, once you enter the Belly of the Beast that talent is never acknowledged or nurtured.
The result is that the place burns through more talent than a series of “American Idol”. That’s what you get when management knows the price of everything – and the value of nothing.