Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009: Great news

According to the Herald this morning:
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.


  1. Wow. "Speeded". I'm speechless. That's even better than "relook".

  2. I think the basic problem is that "good" journalism needs to be subsidised - either by a philanthropic owner, thru monopoly profits, or by taxation/license fees. Having a state broadcaster that has to make a profit doesn't really help. May as well sell it.

  3. Has anyone else noticed that they are cutting lots of actual journos but bringing back Paul Holmes? His salary wouldn't be cheap I imagine.

  4. "Of course, this banal to some degree" - is hardly the height of grammatical correctness either, unless you end it with "or nah" or "ao".

  5. Interesting that you pick up on the death of 'public broadcasting', and the loss of television journalists.

    The Herald now has half the reporting staff it had but a few years ago. Its sub-editing desk, central to the quality and consistency of the product, has been "outsourced". This is why it faces the problems it faces, and why you have plenty of ammunition for your blog.

    We're seeing exactly the same thing happen on television. Quite simply: the deeper the cuts, the worse the product.

    I could get into what the destruction of the news media means for us as a society and our democracy, but shit, that's just too scary to think about.