Covert’s the problem not overt

May 20, 2014

Maori broadcaster Julian Wilcox has no plans to stand for the Labour Party.

Maori TV said in a statement titled “Response to Media Speculation” that Mr Wilcox remained committed to his job as general manager of news and current affairs.

Chief executive Paora Maxwell said: “MTS accepts Mr Wilcox’s written statement and we will continue to value our editorial independence in providing impartial and independent news coverage of significant regional and national stories from a Maori perspective.”

Mr Wilcox was one of several journalists whose political ambitions or connections were questioned last week. . .

And a questions till remains – does he have any affiliation to or bias towards the Labour Party?

In the wake of the Shane Taurima furore, TVNZ has banned political journalists from joining political parties.

But as Karl du Fresne points out, the rules won’t eliminate the most troubling bias.

I struggle to accept that being a political journalist necessarily requires you to neuter yourself as a citizen. The crucial issue, surely, is how you do the job. Journalists should be judged on the fairness and impartiality of their reporting and commentary. It’s possible to be a party member and still be even-handed as a journalist.

I can think of relatively high-profile journalists who hold strong left-wing views in private but still manage to do their work with integrity, as the journalists’ code of ethics requires. There are also journalists and commentators (Paul Henry and John Campbell, for example) who quite openly lean one way or the other – but since their politics are no secret, viewers can decide for themselves how much weight to place on whatever they might say.

These are not the people who worry me. The ones we should really be concerned about are the journalists who hold pronounced political views that are not declared, but which permeate their reportage. There are a lot of them about, probably more than ever before, and they will never be controlled by arbitrary rules – such as TVNZ is now imposing – about declarations of political interest.

Last week news broke that lawyer and broadcaster Linda Clark, who is a political commentator for TV3 and occasional panelist on RadioNZ’s Afternoons, had been giving media training to David Cunliffe.

This wasn’t confirmed but du Fresne says she’s probably not the only one.

. . . If what I hear is correct, quite a few high-profile media figures have nice little undisclosed earners providing advice to politicians. In fact it’s an odd quirk of New Zealand politics that many of the commentators provided with media platforms for their supposedly objective views are hopelessly compromised.

If it’s fair to unmask Clark for grazing on both sides of the fence, then let’s complete the job by exposing all the others who are on the take. This could get very interesting.

It’s not the overt political leanings which are a threat to fair and balanced reporting, it’s the covert ones.

If we know the biases of journalists and commentators we can make an informed judgement on their work.

Without that knowledge we can only wonder.


Sound move

November 21, 2012

Broadcasters are going to turn down the sound on advertisements.

TVNZ, MediaWorks and Maori TV say they have reached an agreement on the compression technology that makes many advertisements so much louder than the programmes they interrupt. Sky TV has not formally signed on to the initiative but says it will support it.

The agreement kicks in January 1, but TVNZ says it will start Sunday. In a statement emailed to NBR ONLINE, CEO Kevin Kenrick said “we just want to get on with it”. The state broadcaster will foot the bill for adjusting the audio on ads already submitted.

Sounds good, but there’s a but:

Earlier, TVNZ’s general manager of technology Peter Ennis told NBR free-to-air broadcasters here had agreed to follow the International Telecommunications Union’s IITU 1770 recommendation, already widely adopted overseas by bodies such as the European Broadcasters’ Union.

But he added the qualifier, “It’s important to remember, however, that while these standards go some way towards reducing the perceived loudness differences between and within programme and advertising content it is unlikely that all differences will be eliminated, mainly because advertisers and TV creatives will continue to want to use dynamic range for effect.”. . .

In other words, they still want to yell at us.

Yet another selling point for MySky which lets you fast forward through the ads so you can avoid both sight and sound.


Why save what few watch?

May 22, 2012

Grey Power has added its voice to the individuals and groups calling on the government to save the free-to-air channel TV7.

There is a case for public broadcasting but TV1, 2 and 7 are poor models. The first two are indistinguishable from other commercial channels and TV7 has such a tiny number of viewers.

Maori TV is a better model, but it rarely attracts much of an audience either.

Rather than wasting time and energy trying to save a channel hardly anyone watches, people should be trying to find ways to get the best of the channel’s programmes on TV1 where they’d have a better chance of attracting a greater audience.


3rd debate

November 5, 2008

A thought before the debate starts: why have it today which is towards the end of Tuesday November 4th – election day  – in the USA and Wednesday November 5th - Guy Fawkes day –  here?

Update # 1: Mark Sainsbury’s tie is purple which is what you get if you mix blue and red.

Both John Key and Helen Clark are diplomatic and positive about Obama’s success.

Update #2: Key gets a point for getting across the message Labour knew about the deficits long before the PREFU and still wants a blank cheque while National has known about the economic situation for a shorter time but all policies are costed.

Updtae # 3: Clark has the climate change rhetoric, Key is more realistic.

Update # 4:  Breaking for ads just as discussion is warming up is frustrating.

Update # 5: What’s normal for one isn’t necessarily normal for everyone. Clark, in answering a question about tobacco, said she’d had a puff as a teenager as everyone does. I didn’t several of my friends didn’t and Key said he didn’t either.

Update # 6: When the discussion got on to pot Clark repeated what she’d said to Paul Holmes,” I was a student in the 60s.” I take it that means yes. Auckland in the 60s was obviously different from Otago in the 70s where and when I was a student.

Update # 7: Have they ever broken the law? Key drove his car on a carless day. Clark admitted to a couple of speeding tickets. No mention of art fraud or pledge cards.

Update # 8: Clark really struggled to answer the question about changing her mind. Key explained it well and gave two examples – Kiwibank and Maori TV.

Update # 9: Key gets a point for explaining that it’s wealthy countries which do better with the environment.

Update # 10: Key got a laugh (I think the only one of the evening) for the story about the little boy who said he knew who he was – Helen Clark’s boyfriend.

Update # 11: Final comment: Clark has a plan – but no costs and still wants that blank cheque. It was all about the government. Key spoke from the heart and about you eg . . . it will show that you care about . . .

She had rehearsed lines.  He wasn’t quite word perfect but had passion and conviction . Should I point out in case you hadn’t noticed that I’m a wee bit biased? :)


Katene will win Te Tai Tonga?

October 30, 2008

The ODT is predicting that the Maori Party will win Te Tai Tonga:

Once the fiefdom of the Tirikatene family, this enormous electorate covering all the South Island, and a small part of Wellington, has been held solidly by Labour’s Mahora (sic) Okeroa since 2002.

At 40 on Labour’s list, he must have a reasonable hope of remaining in the house, but he is under a severe electorate challenge from Rahui Katene of the Maori Party (he  (sic) is 7th on its list).

If Mr (sic) Katene can win a majority, it may ensure the Maori Party wins all seven Maori electorates, thus giving the party its hoped-for powerful position in the House, especially if the election is reasonably close.

It is being widely predicted that Mr (sic) Katene will win the seat, with the party vote going to Labour.

Update: This is a cut and paste but as Buggerlugs points out below Rahui is a woman.

Update 2: A Maori TV poll  gave Mahara Okeroa a 10 point lead over Rahui Katene but nearly a quarter of the 500 people polled are undecided.


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