Television New Zealand is cutting a swathe through its daytime programming and axing 90 staff as it fights to meet the Government's tough profit demands.As a result, 17 newsroom staff - including 11 journalists - are being sacked. Now, some of them probably deserve it, but it is a disturbing trend. It's not like I would have thought that the problems with TV news were down to a surfeit of journalists. But the most disturbing aspect of the story is this:
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that TVNZ had told the Government the job losses reflected changes in the industry and speeded up changes that were already planned for later on.Ignore for now the atrocious use of the 'word' "speeded" for now - we can probably blame that on our eloquent Prime Minister. The big worry ought to be that loss of journalists - as opposed to, say, Susan Wood - is the way the industry is going. Of course, this banal to some degree; I suspect that no reflective person relies on TV news for actual information about what is happening in the world. But I do think it is a problem that our PM (as well as, evidently, the TVNZ board) thinks that our state broadcaster has no role other than to follow industry trends. If you're not going to be any better than commercial broadcasters, then why bother with a state broadcaster at all??
Unless Labour are right, of course, and John Key is setting up TVNZ for sale. Honestly, I'm almost past caring. I suspect that replacing the rubbish human interest stories that constitute One News with more weather and celebrity ballroom dancing wouldn't make a lot of difference.