Free speech is not the issue when it comes to Henry and TVNZ -- there's a big difference between spouting one's ill-informed opinion and consciously manipulating and enhancing people's prejudice all for the sake of viewership numbers and ad revenue.
Henry incited racism and bigotry. He's a heavily influential character and has effectively told middle New Zealand it's okay to look down on people different to them. Our country's multicultural and multi-sexual composition is fragile enough without him (and TVNZ) pressing people's buttons in order to gain popularity.
It'd be like me running for office in outback Australia and gaining votes by blaming all the town's problems on the Aboriginals and offering to round them up and throw them in jail if everyone votes for me. Taking a swing at minorities has always been a cheap way to gain and maintain popularity.
I'd like to think there's a way to prevent or punish this abuse of free speech without compromising it. But, as yet, I haven't seen any solutions.
Giovanni, I share your concern about the corporatisation of New Zealand's media but I don't agree with your logic.
I'm not sure how much influence Columbia has over the media environment in the United States, but you're drawing a long bow if you want to suggest the school is responsible for the country's media issues. There are many factors. Anyway, there's also some excellent journalism in the United States.
As far as analysis of media issues goes, I consider Columbia to be world leading. http://www.cjr.org/
But if you know of somewhere better, please point me in that direction.
Yes, I have a special interest. She's my wife.
Being a Fulbright fellow, Nicola is required to return to New Zealand for a minimum of two years. Regardless of that -- and how tasty the grass on the other side of the fence surely is -- her education is in New Zealand politics.
But mostly I'm mystified by the idea that we need to send our young promising journalists to Columbia university.
New Zealand journalism schools are funded about $10,000 per student and are often staffed by people out of touch with the media environment. Columbia is around $70,000 and is staffed by some of the brightest minds in journalism. The sort of people Nicola will be studying (and "networking") with are likely to become industry leaders. These benefits warrant the effort to get there. It's not about foreign being better - it's about resources and quality.
I’m a bit bemused by the excitable talking up of this reporter as someone who “could well become one of New Zealand’s very best public affairs journalists”. It’s hard to see any evidence in her work to support this claim.
My gosh Dave, what a condescending diatribe. I think you're perhaps a little naive about how the media industry works. Nicola is one of the top students to have come out of Vic Uni's politics school. However, she doesn't have a journalism qualification and the days of rocking up to a major publication and getting a job are gone.
Nicola's chances of writing on politics without at least a couple of years experience in the MSM are about the same as Russell Brown calling Cameron Slater brilliant. It doesn't matter that she has good contacts in Parliament or that she did her time in the provinces (The Southland Times). However, when she returns from Columbia she should be able to put her political smarts to the test.
Btw Duncan Wilson's has been around a while. You can't really compare.