Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Advertisements for diversity

23 Responses

  • Tony Siu,

    Speaking of the way in which our national news is covered on TV, can someone explain to me why in the space of three years, how can Māori TV managed to snag Carol Hirschfeld and Judy, become the official broadcaster for ANZAC day completed with keynote speakers, concerts and heartfelt documentaries and have a news bulletin with talking heads, live coverage from urban and* rural areas - and TVNZ and to a certain extent TV3, while with pretty sets and computer graphics, can't even get their act together with live coverage (Note to producers: cutting back to the studio and have a wooden reporter standing there doesn't count as "live") and produce meaningful analysis of topical issues by asking the questions that Keith Olbermann would asked (like I don't know, say the economical downturn instead of dancing with the stars). Why?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    I really liked the Media 7, There were people with a good understanding of the challenges, requirements and problems with the news, and Paul Patrick.

    It also reminded me of the value of good old fashioned honesty. Richard Langston had a fairly valid point about avoiding clichés, It's hard to do when you have a time constraint. I prefer 'we don't do that because it's hard' to 'I reject your insinuation that there is something wrong with the way we do things' which seems the standard response these days.

    I think a rule of thumb for live crosses would be to not do them in a place where _no_ information relevant to the story originated. You have to wonder what the effect of the live cross is, fundamentally. If it's to present the reporter as being close to the story then the best reason to do a live cross would be because that is where the reporter happens to be as a result of getting the story. Doing anything else is like a Journalistic toupee .

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I think a rule of thumb for live crosses would be to not do them in a place where _no_ information relevant to the story originated.

    My nightly news tends to be World News on TVNZ7. They occasionally have live crosses. More commonly, they have a taped report, followed by live analysis by the reporter. When this happens, the reporter is usually either sitting at the desk over from the anchor, or sitting in another newsroom.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I thought the 'news as entertainment'/commercial angle was interesting; but it got me to whether they are losing some viewers this. I've certainly stopped watching the news, after it being a real staple. I remember when Hawkesby left, and Campbell stepped up. But these days if I watch anything it's TVNZ7 News. They have a slightly more mercenary approach to editing footage (live crosses are the first to go it seems), and the lack of flash is actually good. I hate it when Greg Boyed stands in there though. It brings too much of the 'glitter' from the standard broadcast somehow. I just want someone to read the news.

    Maybe I'm in a minority here, and TVNZ7 is capturing it, but I can't help but wondering if they're slowing weaning people off.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Tony Siu:

    Apparently, they "snagged" Judy Bailey by ringing her, pitching an idea that she thought was tremendous fun and she had nothing better to do. I've also got a theory that when you don't actually have a lot of money, you're forced to be genuinely innovative and focus on the content over the gim-crack nonsense.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • JohnS,

    A plea to RB : Can you get your producer to turn off those maddening blinking green lights behind the panel members? Or at least stop them going on and off?

    The producer of "Close Up" on TVNZ One could also take this request to heart. Swirling red rectangles and all!

    Greenlane, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Calder,

    Re: There were people with a good understanding of the challenges, requirements and problems with the news, and Paul Patrick.

    It's scary that he is in charge of One News; scarier still that TVNZ saw him as a credible representative. But Langston's stuff about telling stories visually was glib and begged the question. Yes, Richard, the pix of the Twin Towers falling were better than a description. But after they had fallen?

    It's interesting to listen to World Watch on RNZ and note how many of the reports (BBC and CNN) were made for TV but lose nothing by being on radio without pictures. The converse is true: try "watching" a segment of One News without looking at the screen. Then replay it and watch. You will be none the wiser.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I think a rule of thumb for live crosses would be to not do them in a place where _no_ information relevant to the story originated.

    The day I watched this Media7, TV3 did a live cross to a reporter standing in the dark with the Sky Tower behind him, so he could introduce a piece on the Super City. He could have been standing in front of one of the Daily Show's blue screens for all the good it did.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4332 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I think a rule of thumb for live crosses would be to not do them in a place where _no_ information relevant to the story originated.

    My rule/wish of thumb is there should only be a live cross when something is going on or will be going on that is happening live and relevant to the story. Like:

    1. Bullets currently flying through the air.
    2. Interviewing someone live and they're at the story.

    The live cross to the courtroom which is closed where something happened earlier that day... I start to throw things at the TV. This is not better quality news television, it's wasting all our time pretending it is.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Calder,

    A propos of which, is Tim Wilson (TVNZ's New York correspondent, who sits in a studio each night at 2am to introduce footage from partner channels) not a walking breathing example of the gratuitous live cross?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    A propos of which, is Tim Wilson (TVNZ's New York correspondent, who sits in a studio each night at 2am to introduce footage from partner channels) not a walking breathing example of the gratuitous live cross?

    You'd think the person in front of the camera in Auckland could do that.

    (I hope that's not all of his job)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6157 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    Apropos of nothing, this is a good opportunity to bring up a bugbear of mine Russell. The TVNZ7 promo clip for Media7 features stills of the (proven) fake photos of Pauline Hansen naked, followed by Hansen at a press conference denying they were of her, followed by you and and some male panelists having a right old chuckle. It's not a good look, even worse with the sound off (you look like a bunch of guys leering at porn). Whilst we may all hate Hansen and her politics (me included) those photos were a low blow and I wonder if you'd still be running the same promo if the Politician were someone with whom you agreed with politically. At the very least the clip is dated, at the worst gratuitous.

    No, you don't have to be gay to play

    hence the common refrain: I'm not gay, I was drunk.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    At the very least the clip is dated, at the worst gratuitous.

    I agree: and it's out of the context of the montage in which it appeared, which noted the (at the time) fresh contention that the pictures were bogus.

    I'll have it seen to, thanks.

    We don't make the programme promos or control the content, but I've already emailed my producer to point out that we need to change that one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    It seems that most of the "live crosses" I have seen have been random and do not add value at all. The secondary problems with them is the echo mirror effect, intro/intro/intro.

    Sometimes for a late breaking story this is going to happen saying "look over here" over done as a dramtic device.

    Perhaps the best thing about this programme is to have the 4 panelists almost talking together. Couldn't help wondering if they do that very often and if they are going to watch their own answers and regret some of them.

    I have recently become more aware of the visual/spatial learning mode. I wonder if involving more visually oriented performance people might help with some TV news items with some yopunger viewers.

    Although if the main news audience is over 40 then radio with pictures is probably OK.

    A faux pas by Trish Carter on presenters telling us what to think was nicely rescued. I'm afraid the news is only really good when its on Jon Stewart and being skewered like the turkey shoot it mostly resembles.

    From my observation there is precious little analysis on the news as that takes way too much presentation effort. And mostly the news fomat doesn't have time to do that justice.

    The piece about Mana news was oddly reassuring in that someone is documenting contemporary NZ history from an alternative perspective. There is an old cliche about history being written by the winners. We could all benefit from a more even sided approach.

    It is now possible to take that print archive and convert all of it to an online library and perhaps that could be a flow on source of revenue for Mana.

    Last but not least - being able to watch Media7 on Youtube is a huge bonus. All of the distracting TVNZ flutter wrapped around even the new micro channel is a bit OTT - sort of like a random live cross which is where we came in.

    P.S Don't tell TVNZ but having mutiple ways of consuming video content works well. I won't be getting a tuner anytime soon but I am online most of the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The day I watched this Media7, TV3 did a live cross to a reporter standing in the dark with the Sky Tower behind him, so he could introduce a piece on the Super City. He could have been standing in front of one of the Daily Show's blue screens for all the good it did.

    You know, we toyed with the idea of doing a Daily Show-style bluescreen "cross", but after Simon's taped piece it seemed a bit much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    if the main news audience is over 40 then radio with pictures is probably OK.

    My old man is pushing 71 and a big Daily Show fan. Don't be knocking the video literacy of people who've been watching TV for decades.

    My feeling, talking to him, is that he watches the TV news (which I gave up on years ago) from a sense of duty and habit, not in the belief that he is being informed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    Live crosses are another bugbear of mine too. TVNZ once crossed live to a reporter at Auckland's Vaduct Harbour to tell us about some boating incident in (I think) Wellington.

    TVNZ regularly cross live to a reporter who is standing out on the TVNZ balcony in Auckland. They try to vary the backdrop, but anyone who knows TVNZ's CBD location knows what's up. Ditto for TV3 who do the same (but less so) from their Symonds St location.

    I often am bemused by the number of interviews conducted with news pundits/subjects that are clearly filmed in the TV3 outdoor carpark. I suppose it makes them look like they are 'out getting the stories' when in fact they've asked someone to come in to their newsroom.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Stephen I wasn't knocking video literacy. More trying to make a distinction on styling differences for differnt market groups.

    Television over the years has changed enormously in style.

    In watching the Media 7 clips there was a stong idea of coming through on how the news needs to be more visual. At the same time recognition that tradition and audiences might be stuck a bit. Radio is seen as more of a new authority by many listeners so an augmented radio approach is not a bad thing.

    TV3 and TV1 audiences overlap but I'd say TV3 makes more of an effort to get younger viewers whereas TV1 plays it safe.

    I don't think the pigs in cages story whould have had anything like as much traction if it had been on TV3. In fact John Campbell was at pains to point out they had run that story 3 years previously.

    I'm always interested in the rol of the media and their treatment of content so personally vanilla news is mostly better when its satirised. We do need the raw material though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    Just wanted to say thanks Russell, for these clips, particularly the newsmash - am about to start a 4 week unit with my class on TV news production - culminating in a day down at ONTV here in Wellington.

    It's a solid unit put out by the ONTV folk - lots of integrated learning - writing, editing, visual art, teamwork, technical aspects.

    In light of the copyright discussion, can I ask permission to use this in my class?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In light of the copyright discussion, can I ask permission to use this in my class?

    It's not strictly mine to give, but I do think that use in education is both fair and in line with the goals of the programme. So go for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    From my observation there is precious little analysis on the news as that takes way too much presentation effort. And mostly the news fomat doesn't have time to do that justice.

    Word. It's all about the sizzle these days and the great unwashed is being brainwashed into thinking sizzle is what counts.

    I'm entirely unsure what happens next in this narrative; do some of the great unwashed 'wake up' and realise what's happening? Does someone offer something more substantial somewhere else to attract them (after all, an empty stomach grumbles on a diet of pure sizzle). I don't know.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    @Nick:

    Got this back from TVNZ regarding the promo with which you took issue:

    We're going to do the following:

    - Pull the 30" generic which includes the Hansen component.
    - Keep running the 15" generic which doesn't have the reference in question.
    - Continue to run the tonight 15" specifics you supply every Thursday.
    - From this weekend we will be running a Media7/Back Benches website promo which will be up weighted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    cheers for that ... maybe they can make a new generic 30"??

    And since you're being helpful...

    Can you find out (or perhaps you've already covered it?) why TVNZ decided to put TVNZ6 & TVNZ7 onto the Sky platform, without getting Sky to reciprocate by putting Prime on Freeview?

    I understand the presure came from the Minister, but it seems it's another case of private companies running circles around govt bureaucracy. The govt made a significant investment in Freeview only to shoot itself in the foot by giving Sky it's unique programming without any quid pro quo.

    And can you get it sorted by the weekend? I'd like to record the Dr Who special on Sunday. ~ cheers.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 157 posts Report Reply

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