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Archive for the ‘Corporate’ Category

Crossing The Rubicon

Friday, February 15th, 2013

To: Kevin Kenrick, CEO TVNZ

Jeff Latch, Head of TVOne and TV2,

Andy Shaw, GM, Acquisitions, Production and Commissioning.

Dear Kevin, Andy and Jeff,

It’s been two weeks now since your baby “Seven Sharp” hit our screens and there’s a lot of people who feel they have a lot to say about it. And no wonder!

But it’s not the programme I’m writing to you about but your part in it.

Is it true that all of you were involved in every aspect of the programme from inception, including deciding which stories went where in the first week? I’m wondering what “Seven Sharp’s” Executive Producer, Raewyn Rasch had to say about that? I hope plenty, but I’m guessing not a lot.

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Selling Out To Someone Else’s Bottom Line

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

There were squeamish tummies all round on TV ONE’s “Breakfast” this morning.  And it wasn’t just because the four presenters, Rawden Christie, Petra Bagust, Corin Dann and AMP Business’s Nadine Chalmers-Ross had swallowed KFC’s 520 calorie non-bun Double Down burger. It was the following crashing sound as their collective credibilities plummeted through the floor.

Deciding to put the item on in the first place is the fault of the producers.  No doubt, Executive Producer Graeme Muir wrestled with whatever burnt-out news morals he has left and came up with the rationale, “ I know, if we put a nutritionist on-air as the presenters scoff it down, that’ll present fairness and balance into the segment!” Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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Paul Henry: Out To Lynch?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

He’s less TVNZ’s “shock jock” (as the PM called him) and more likely, as “The Life Of Brian’s” Mum says, “ Just a naughty little boy.”

Maybe his sleep deprivation had hit an all-time low, maybe he was showing off to someone in the studio, whatever the reason, Paul Henry’s ill-considered, stupid, embarrassing remarks have set off the usual You-Can’t-Say-That Crowd, aided and abetted by gleeful media enemies who are already crowing, “Off with his head”.

Cheeky Whitey? Paul Henry

Cheeky Whitey? Paul Henry

But before we get to them let’s look at how TVNZ handled this issue.

Institutionally, they’ve been there before. Seven years ago another Paul made insensitive comments (“cheeky darkie”) on his radio programme about another man with brown skin, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Holmes refused to apologize and in doing so unleashed The Right Thinking Gods of Outrage.  Dozens of academics signed a letter calling for his resignation.  Both his radio station, Newstalk ZB and TVNZ came under increasing pressure to seek his resignation.  TVNZ dithered believing that because Holmes had said the words on his radio programme it wasn’t their issue to handle.

This stalemate went on for about a month.  The liberal Left pushed hard, demanding his head, only to be met in the latter stages by the Holmesian forces of the Right saying he should stay. Eventually, finally, when both sides were sated from tearing ideological pieces out of each other, sanity of sorts prevailed.  Holmes went on camera and apologized.

Quite rightly, TVNZ were having none of that dithering this time round.  This had happened on their patch.

Yesterday afternoon it issued a statement quoting Henry apologizing for “any offense I may have caused.”

Rule Number One of Crisis Management; apologize, sincerely and fulsomely. Was it enough of an apology?  Definitely not but at least it was a start.

Then, inexplicably, the network tried to contextualise the issue with a second statement.  “The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud. The question of John Key is the same, we want the answer but are too scared to ask.”

Has TVNZ’s “spokeswoman” (aka mouthpiece) Andi Brotherston gone stark, staring, raving mad or has months inside the Death Star eroded her own sense of perception?

This second statement neatly wiped out any effect of the first and acted to make the network sound as if it trying to justify the actions of a naughty presenter that they can’t control – which they can’t.

Cue the said Right Thinking Gods of Outrage.

“Breakfast” lost its tech commentator Ben Gracewood, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres questioned the way Henry apologized while the Green Party’s Keith Locke stood on the rocky outcrop of Moral Indignity saying Henry’s comments “fell well short of the mark”.

The tweeting community went into frenzied overdrive with much huffing and puffing all round. The funniest tweet came from the erudite brain of David Slack, “That must be a ton of makeup they put on WhaleOil each morning before they put him next to Pippa.”

Then TVNZ’s media enemies came out to play.

It was the magic “S” for Schadenfreude as National Radio climbed on the bandwagon.  The next morning The Royal New Zealand Herald, that guardian of public morals, put none lesser a journalist than Audrey Young onto the story.  The fact that the gaffe had occurred during Henry’s weekly chat with the PM is beside the point.  What is the Herald’s doing allowing its Head of the Parliamentary Gallery to report on this kind of talk-back topic?

Henry apologized again this morning, wryly calling himself a “gypo” (or gypsy) in the process, which the Herald online dutifully recorded, tacking it onto his enemies’ jibes at the bottom of the story.

This third, more genuine, heartfelt, and self-deprecating apology should cauterize the wound and ultimately kill the irrational debate.

The essence of crisis media management is that, when you are in the wrong confess and repent, admit it fully, apologize sincerely and honestly, and you will generally achieve a measure of redemption.

Here’s the thing.  Yes, what silly little Paul Henry originally said was reprehensible but should he be stopped from saying it? No.

If the price of free speech is that we have to allow idiots to say what they want, then so be it.

The unwholesome truth in the midst of all of this is that there are folk out there who would fervently agree with Henry’s utterances.  For every well-meaning Liberal I’ll wager you there’s two Rednecks ready to staunchly defend him.  They just haven’t had a chance yet in the rush.

Here’s the real truth when it comes to telly; if you’re truly offended by what Paul Henry said, vote with your remote.

Turn the bastard off.

Starve him of an audience and then his ratings and watch the network drop him like a hot-cake.

Fat chance.  He’ll still keep two-thirds of his audience, the silent Rednecks, who’ll come slathering back for more.

Tears For Fifty Years

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

It was poet and philosopher George Santayana who said, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”  Such is the case with TVNZ’s homage to its own history, the jauntily named “Cheers To 50 Years.”

This was a programme touted as a celebration of all that we’ve known and loved on the box for the past half-century but which resulted in the boring vying with the banal for two excruciating, culture-cringing hours.

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The Last Post

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This site on which you’re reading this post is the product of the hard and clever work of Paul Reynolds and his wife, Helen.

We could not believe it when, on Sunday, we received the call that Paul had suddenly died.

He commented on one of our posts just a few days ago, last week he spoke at a social media conference and he was filing material on his own Facebook, his blog peoplepoints and Twitter accounts as late as Thursday afternoon. By late Saturday morning, he was gone.

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Shock, Horror!!! Holding The Front Page At The Royal NZ Herald

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Notice anything different about the front page of the Royal New Zealand Herald lately?

Take yesterdays headlines; “What Your Home’s Worth”, “The Envelope Please….Oscars Special” and “Mayoress Speaks Out” a teaser to a page three piece of dross which had Michael Laws’s wife, Wanganui’s Mayoress Leonie Brookhammer, denying she had left the family home because of a supposed ‘violent confrontation’ that had been misleadingly reported in the Herald on Sunday.

Ms Brookhammer later published a damning response to the story on Dave Farrar’s “Kiwiblog” site.

Equally, ‘The Lockout of Auckland’ also came from the same Fear and Smear School of Journalism, generating more hysteria than light on the subject of Auckland governance.

If all of this shabby tabloid tack seems more reminiscent of the Herald’s sister paper the “Herald on Sunday” (known by the apt acronym the HoS) there’s a reason for that.

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Dr Strange-love; A Modern Media Morality Tale

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

There comes a time when virtually everyone in business and public life finds themselves in (to use a highly technical term) “deep doggy doo-doos”. This is a moment when the public and the media have, for whatever reason, rounded upon them with a vengeance.

Whether an act of omission or commission the newsmakers generally find themselves embroiled in a crisis, seemingly without warning.

If they are honest with themselves they will probably admit they should have seen the consequences of their action (or inaction) coming and they could have evolved a response plan, put it on the shelf, crossed their fingers they would never need it, and moved on with their activities knowing that, if worst came to worst, they could cope with the crisis.

Every good business has a business continuity plan, what to do if it has an IT failure, a power loss or natural disaster strikes.

Good businesses should also worry about and plan for what happens if the unnatural disaster of a media furore erupts around them.

Which is why I have to ask: What was Dr Patrick Strange and Transpower thinking? Transpower has had more power cuts in this city than Aucklanders have had cold dinners.

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The Soundbite Tribes

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

In the Silly Season, lists, labels and mock awards reign supreme as columnists, hacks and bloggers scramble to write something, anything, in the news vacuum.

Hey, I know this as much as any other poor sap, I’m one of ‘em.

So, to that end, let’s joyfully enter into the fresh New Year fray and examine who’s who when it comes to The Soundbite Tribes.  These are the men and women who regularly fill newspaper columns with quotes, whose soundbites grace our screens and fill the airwaves.

Like any tribe these media practitioners are defined by what they say, how they deliver it and how they look when they do so.

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On Your Marks, Get Set….

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Oh dear. There has just been another cock up at TVNZ that will probably cost the broadcaster dearly.

TVNZ announced today it had “offloaded” its Commonwealth Games coverage rights to Sky/Prime TV.

The only problem is – it hasn’t. Yet.

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DOCTORING THE NEWS

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Bill Ralston Blogs:

It’s taken the mainstream media long enough to wake up to the fact it has been cleverly duped by an extraordinary guerrilla PR campaign.

Well, some in the media are now waking up to what bloggers like Cactus Kate and Gotcha’s Whaleoil were warning about days ago.

Exceltium is a savvy PR company run by Matthew Hooten and it seems it has waged an extraordinarily effective campaign on behalf of their client Diagnostic Medlab Ltd (DML) against their competitor Labtests NZ Ltd.

Labtests recently took over the lucrative contract to provide services to Auckland’s District Health Board and the loser, DML, has been screaming like a stuck pig.

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