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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Goodbye to All That

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Even before meeting him, Anthony Flannery was described to me by a top Australian news executive as a “nice guy, short pants”, a comment that forced a smile and a nod of agreement from  another top Australian news executive.

And so it’s proven to be. He was well liked by staff and by management during his time at the Deathstar.

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Homage To Homai

Monday, August 29th, 2011

We Kiwis love competitions – a fact that our telly networks reflect throughout their schedules. From cooking to its natural conclusion “Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition”, to being the best model on TV3’s “NZNTM” (it’s not that hard, surely?), we relish the struggle to win.

The best competition of all though, has to be “Homai Te Pakipaki” over on Maori Television. “Homai” takes karaoke singing and elevates it to an art form.

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Vote for a Change?

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Congratulations to Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury and his Tumeke! Blog scoop, outing Vote for Change activist Alex Fogerty for his links to an Australian white supremacist group.

Vote for Change promptly booted Mr Fogerty out of the group but not before dear old Bob Harvey quit the campaign in disgust saying, according to the Herald website, he did not want to be part of a group that had not “done their homework” on their members.

It feels a little odd to be giving kudos to Bomber Bradbury as his views and rants generally can be labelled as “loony conspiracy theory left” but a scoop is a scoop and anyone who hooks up with rabid racist groups deserves to be given the boot from a lobby group that hopes to persuade a majority of New Zealanders to again change the voting system.

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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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The Day Disaster Struck

Friday, February 25th, 2011

We’ve always been a country that’s been news starved.  Unless your newsroom had a bottomless budget, there are only about six decent stories a year to fight over, with too many journalists to cover them.

Tuesday’s earthquake turned that on its head. Journalists around the country were faced with covering the biggest disaster affecting the most New Zealanders since World War II.

How individuals fared forged reputations – and destroyed others – but it also gives us a clear roadmap of how punters used the media.

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Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

I know New Zealanders love to rush to judgement but Monday’s online postings and news stories about the first morning of TV ONE’s Breakfast show are just a little too quick to judge that the snap, crackle and pop is not there.

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The Truth, Damned Truth and Statistics

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Here’s a message for anyone who’s in the business of communication. Adapt quickly or die even faster.

The latest Roy Morgan State of the Nation research confirms that dramatic changes are occurring in New Zealand in the way we send and receive news and information.

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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.

Where Pimps & Thieves Run Free & Good Men Die Like Dogs…

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I’m loath to blog about television again, because there are so many more interesting things happening in media.

However, the sight of Cameron Bennett stepping out of the Deathstar (ahead of being pushed) provides an insight as to why I feel compelled to comment on the train wreck that is TVNZ News and Current Affairs.

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Eye Candy

Monday, July 12th, 2010

There’s something strange  occurring in newsrooms all around the country and it’s especially noticeable in television.  While drama shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and  “Law and Order” portray women as high-powered surgeons and cops or lawyers, down on the newsroom floor, where television is truly real, it’s depressingly revisionist.

And, for the sake of this blog, let’s put aside the fact that the upper echelons of newsroom management have been barely visited, let alone conquered, by women in any medium.

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