This could be 1 News at 6

CBS_Evening_News_with_CronkiteTuesday commentary July 2020

Television New Zealand does not need a Covid-19 revenue nosedive as a reason to rethink its two-person early evening news hour. The format is a 1980s American import that should have disappeared with power shoulders and Miami Vice.

There is no journalistic benefit in presenters taking turns in reading from a teleprompter and if female/male partnerships are a gesture to gender equality, who says a single news reader must be male?

The double act hit our screens in 1989 after TVNZ brought consultants from the United States to tell it how to face competition from TV3. The advisors were surfing the wave of neoliberal marketing and peddling razzle dazzle formats. Continue reading “This could be 1 News at 6”

[Don’t] read all about it!

The latest readership survey shows New Zealand newspapers are very good at reporting other people’s bad news but not their own.

Last September the New Zealand Herald bragged that its Nielsen readership statistics had “soared to record levels” and this year ran an extensive story about NZME titles increasing readership in the February Nielsen survey, which it claimed was “highlighting Kiwis’ love affair with print”.


Last week Nielsen released its latest survey. It received no coverage in the Herald or in the Waikato Times or in the Dominion Post or in The Press or in the Otago Daily Times. Continue reading “[Don’t] read all about it!”

How afraid should NZME be?


New Zealand Herald publisher NZME should be afraid. It remains to be seen whether it should it be very afraid.

The abrupt exit by company chairman Peter Cullinane last week was the first move against the company by Australian fund manager shareholders but it will not be their last.

Cullinane resigned only hours before a shareholders’ meeting at which he was up for re-election and later conceded that “it recently became apparent that I didn’t have the support of significant Australian fund managers.”

He said the obvious reason was the depressed share price. Continue reading “How afraid should NZME be?”

Perils of (literally) shooting the messenger



There is something alarmingly wrong in a democracy when police physically attack journalists and its politicians normalise verbal abuse of the media. But, if we are not worried because it’s happening half a world away, we should be.

We need to worry because there is a far-reaching corrosive effect in what is happening in the United States and shown daily on the news feeds and social media accessed by many in this country.

The agreement that allows newsgatherers to bear witness on the public’s behalf is a fragile thing with strictly limited legal force. It is an understanding between media and the public but the average person on New Zealand streets has little comprehension of either its purpose or importance. Continue reading “Perils of (literally) shooting the messenger”