Friday, April 13, 2007

TVNZ cuts staff -- standards already cut to the bone

Hands up all those who still get their main news from the 6 O'Clock News? And hands up all those who've been involved in something that's been reported on TV news, and found it an accurate portrayal of events? Hmm, not many hands in the air, are there.

So why all the crocodile tears then at the shedding by TVNZ of so many of their 'news' team? These people don't deliver news. They haven't been delivering news for so long, I suspect they've forgotten what it looks like.

At best they deliver reports that are a toothy once-over-lightly with occasional cuts to out-of-context (and often unexplained) images; at worst we are delivered the sort of braindead crud we saw at the height of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, when what looked like the winner of a Weet Bix competition found herself thrust in front of a camera in Tel Aviv without any discernible knowledge of why or how either she or Hezbollah's rockets were there; or the Fijian coup, when instead of real analysis -- or even decent accounts of what was happening to allow some real analyisis to take place --we saw moving pictures each night LIVE FROM FIJI of highly paid morons doing little more than interviewing each other about how many drinks they'd had at their hotel bar, and how many trucks they'd seen driving past while drinking them.

As in-depth journalism, this just isn't worth the name. Their loss is no loss.

The Sunday programme for example, which loses five people, has been tabloid so long it ranks more as infotainment than news; the Breakfast 'News' is more valuable for overnight overseas reports than it is for the sports reporter and weather girl who are being stood down - fewer staff standing around in a small studio will only improve things; most live cuts to on-the-spot journalists in the 'news' hour see viewers greeted not with real news but usually with the smiling inanity of a braindead recent broadcasting school journalist, to whom the finer points of how the world works (to say nothing of the English language) are clearly a complete mystery. News, it ain't.

Fifty-nine jobs are being cut across TVNZ's news and current affairs department? I'll wager the result will be barely noticeable, and certainly no less dire than before. How can you have a drop in standards when they are already so appallingly low.

Labels:

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get my news from TV1 news every night - Is a great source and I like 20/20 aswell. Quality Broadcasting.

Cheers Maria

4/13/2007 01:47:00 pm  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

You have very low standards Maria.

To watch Hard Talk with Tim Sebastian or Stephen Sachur on the BBC - THAT is quality.

What do we have in NZ. Kim Hill talking over everyone? Paul Holmes asking people about their sex lives? Fran Mold tripping over herself going "are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign Doctor Brash..." on election night...

Or I might be wrong, car crashes, weather, and verbatim quoting of political party press releases without any analysis whatsoever might be quality journalism.

4/13/2007 09:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Tane Wilton said...

See, Peter, this is where you libertarians crack me up.

TVNZ's news quality has been in decline for years precisely because of the very commercial pressures that you and your mates so loudly advocate.

The news is simplistic and aims for the lowest common denominator because advertising demands as much. Many reporters come off as ignorant or superficial because cost-cutting has led to the stretching of resources and the replacement of expensive and experienced journalists with 19 year old journo school graduates.

Yes, it's already shite. But it can and will get much, much worse.

Again, I find it hilarious the amount of libertarians (such as your mate eric olthwaite) who admire the quality of a properly funded public broadcaster like the BBC without realising that it's the liberation from commercial pressures that allows it to be good.

4/13/2007 10:27:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Tane, you make some interesting points forgetting of course that:

1. TVNZ is and has always been state owned, and the rot set in from the late 1980s;

2. BBC World is light years ahead of BBC domestic news which continues to dumb down despite having vast amounts of cash to operate. BBC World is a commercially funded broadcaster and competes with CNN, the difference is that those who watch international news channels tend to be more intelligent, higher income - those who watch broadcast TV news are the proletariat. In fact the best news in the UK is from Channel 4 which is perhaps closer to TVNZ in that it is state owner and commercial.

3. Most TV viewers don't WANT high quality news, they care about four things:
- Sport
- Celebrity news/gossip
- Crime
- Scandals.
TV news delivers what they want. Advertising doesn't demand it, viewers do.

The point is until enough people are willing to pay for something better, it wont come along. Radio is the same, most people want 3 minutes to find out if there has been a disaster, celebrity scandal or the latest sports scores.

4/14/2007 01:28:00 am  
Anonymous Sean said...

Great Post LibertyScott! A complete dismantling of the blandist of arguments.

Sean

4/14/2007 08:51:00 am  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

libertyscott, is BBC World different from BBC World radio? I find them so blatantly left that I can't stand listening. Have never watched BBC World, so is it very different?

4/14/2007 10:02:00 am  
Anonymous Liberty Scott said...

Tane, you make some interesting points forgetting of course that:

1. TVNZ is and has always been state owned, and the rot set in from the late 1980s;

2. BBC World is light years ahead of BBC domestic news which continues to dumb down despite having vast amounts of cash to operate. BBC World is a commercially funded broadcaster and competes with CNN, the difference is that those who watch international news channels tend to be more intelligent, higher income - those who watch broadcast TV news are the proletariat. In fact the best news in the UK is from Channel 4 which is perhaps closer to TVNZ in that it is state owner and commercial.

3. Most TV viewers don't WANT high quality news, they care about four things:
- Sport
- Celebrity news/gossip
- Crime
- Scandals.
TV news delivers what they want. Advertising doesn't demand it, viewers do.

The point is until enough people are willing to pay for something better, it wont come along. Radio is the same, most people want 3 minutes to find out if there has been a disaster, celebrity scandal or the latest sports scores.

--
Posted by libertyscott to Not PC at 4/14/2007 01:28:24 AM

4/15/2007 09:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Maria said...

I get my news from TV1 news every night - Is a great source and I like 20/20 aswell. Quality Broadcasting.

Cheers Maria

--
Posted by Anonymous to Not PC at 4/13/2007 01:47:28 PM

4/15/2007 09:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Eric Olthwaite said...

You have very low standards Maria.

To watch Hard Talk with Tim Sebastian or Stephen Sachur on the BBC - THAT is quality.

What do we have in NZ. Kim Hill talking over everyone? Paul Holmes asking people about their sex lives? Fran Mold tripping over herself going "are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign doctor Brash, are you going to resign Doctor Brash..." on election night...

Or I might be wrong, car crashes, weather, and verbatim quoting of political party press releases without any analysis whatsoever might be quality journalism.

--
Posted by Eric Olthwaite to Not PC at 4/13/2007 09:22:09 PM

4/15/2007 10:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Tane Wilton said...

See, Peter, this is where you libertarians crack me up.

TVNZ's news quality has been in decline for years precisely because of the very commercial pressures that you and your mates so loudly advocate.

The news is simplistic and aims for the lowest common denominator because advertising demands as much. Many reporters come off as ignorant or superficial because cost-cutting has led to the stretching of resources and the replacement of expensive and experienced journalists with 19 year old journo school graduates.

Yes, it's already shite. But it can and will get much, much worse.

Again, I find it hilarious the amount of libertarians (such as your mate eric olthwaite) who admire the quality of a properly funded public broadcaster like the BBC without realising that it's the liberation from commercial pressures that allows it to be good.

--
Posted by Tane Wilton to Not PC at 4/13/2007 10:27:11 PM

4/15/2007 10:04:00 pm  
Anonymous libertyscott said...

Tane, you make some interesting points forgetting of course that:

1. TVNZ is and has always been state owned, and the rot set in from the late 1980s;

2. BBC World is light years ahead of BBC domestic news which continues to dumb down despite having vast amounts of cash to operate. BBC World is a commercially funded broadcaster and competes with CNN, the difference is that those who watch international news channels tend to be more intelligent, higher income - those who watch broadcast TV news are the proletariat. In fact the best news in the UK is from Channel 4 which is perhaps closer to TVNZ in that it is state owner and commercial.

3. Most TV viewers don't WANT high quality news, they care about four things:
- Sport
- Celebrity news/gossip
- Crime
- Scandals.
TV news delivers what they want. Advertising doesn't demand it, viewers do.

The point is until enough people are willing to pay for something better, it wont come along. Radio is the same, most people want 3 minutes to find out if there has been a disaster, celebrity scandal or the latest sports scores.

--
Posted by libertyscott to Not PC at 4/14/2007 01:28:24 AM

4/15/2007 10:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean said...

Great Post LibertyScott! A complete dismantling of the blandist of arguments.

Sean

--
Posted by Sean to Not PC at 4/14/2007 08:51:16 AM

4/15/2007 10:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Berend de Boer said...

libertyscott, is BBC World different from BBC World radio? I find them so blatantly left that I can't stand listening. Have never watched BBC World, so is it very different?

--
Posted by Berend de Boer to Not PC at 4/14/2007 10:02:25 AM

4/15/2007 10:06:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Berend

The BBC does have a culture of being leftwing, although the incentives around BBC World tv and BBC World Service radio are different.

BBC World tv (which you should still get overnight on TV1 and 24hrs on Sky) is commercial, and is a spinoff of BBC News 24 which is the UK domestic news channel funded through the license fee. BBC World is less brash than CNN, but about as leftwing I believe.

BBC World service is funded by the Foreign Office, and is at arms length from the rest of the BBC, and frankly given it has 30 or so languages, I wouldn't know if it was leftwing or not across the board. I personally think the World Service maintains rather high standards although it can drive me mad with leftwing agenda pushing - the bottom line is that it probably has the best world news available anywhere by broadcast media.

4/17/2007 12:53:00 am  
Anonymous Jim said...

Liberty Scott,

TVNZ is state owned but it is also a State Owned Enterprise, meaning it has obligations to advertisers and shareholders, etc. You know that. Like Telecom, it's constantly being pulled in different directions, from those who care about consumers, to those who worry about the economy, and everyone in the middle.

I have my doubts that all TV viewers necessarily want to watch:

gossip
sport
crime
scandels

I actually think that people watch that stuff simply because it's on and the mode of address and narrative structures, whatever, become so normal that anything outside of those seem weird and drive viewers away. I know it's a cliche but when advertisers are involved it's such a pressure cooker.
The other thing is that most of the prime television on is increadibly cheap (and hey One news is about to get a whole lot cheaper!) to make and even cheaper to buy (from overseas), so that makes the networks really happy; conventional AND cheap, they save and bring audiences to the advertisers. In saying that, I quite like a lot the crappy tv that's on. But yes the news is shit. Real shit.

4/17/2007 11:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC.. your examples aren't especially compelling. The Tel Aviv situation; Melissa Stokes is an experienced journo- what was wrong with the coverage she provided? and Barbara Dreaver was in Fiji- she is the best (and almost the sole) pacific reporter in NZ media. She gave good contextualisation. Is your issue that these are young women bringing you the news and not old men? or do you have some better examples?
Cheers, Lane

4/19/2007 04:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Jim said...

Lane

I'd agree with that. I think both Melissa Stokes and Barbera Dreaver are top notch, and if anything are restrained by the conventions of the One News hour, which is then for the most part repeated without update later in the evening. So, yeah, the problem is not always the reporters but the time constraint and format. All these electronic, high tech graphics and blippy music. You know you're watching the news when you got that light show happening in your lounge.

4/19/2007 10:58:00 pm  

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