Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Reading the Numbers

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  • Grant Robertson,

    Not wanting to be picky, but the issue of the cuts to technology teachers was picked up on Friday, and David Shearer was commenting on it that day, e.g. in this TV3 story
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Intermediate-schools-a-casualty-of-Budget/tabid/1607/articleID/255618/Default.aspx

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant Robertson,

    Not wanting to be picky, but the issue of the cuts to technology teachers was picked up on Friday, and David Shearer was commenting on it that day, e.g. in this TV3 story

    Fair call. I was on a datura bender from Friday morning till Monday and hence missed everything.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That's Brian Cox. He was in an actual pop band (D:Ream) as a young man.

    He's also does occasional cameos on QI for which it's a great addition to occasionally have someone who actually knows their stuff and can speak about it in an engaging way instead of just cracking jokes out of ignorance. I enjoy his ability to deliver complex info, but I wish they'd stop with those shots of him staring into space in some kind of abstract wonder. It seems a bit pointless to me and makes the presentation more about the presenter than the topic. I don't think he needs that kind of stuff to make the topic interesting.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 325 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    My daughters, aged four and seven, have been watching documentaries on 7. I can't tear them away from anything do to with astronomy or the solar system. Kathlene was raving about volcanos and asteroids after last weeks episode about how Jupiter's gravity effects Earth and the other inner planets.

    They're also a big fan of 'Meet the Neighbours', a wildlife one run by DoC (I think) and the craft one (the name escapes me).

    I also find the Kid's programming (before 8:00am) to be better than on the other channels; simply by not being toy commercials disguised as cartoon shows.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That's Brian Cox. He was in an actual pop band (D:Ream) as a young man.

    Now he's in a not-actual pop band with Morgan Freeman, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Richard Feynman, and Frank Close.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 323 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    I enjoy his ability to deliver complex info, but I wish they’d stop with those shots of him staring into space in some kind of abstract wonder. It seems a bit pointless to me and makes the presentation more about the presenter than the topic.

    For sure. Some of the docos are worse than others for that. There's one that seems to largely consist of him being driven through America in a car.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Greville Whittle,

    Te Papa and the NZ Royal Society also sponsored programmes on TVNZ7. I also caught some of the amazing work of Dunedin's Natural History Unit, which doesn't seem to feature on free to air television for some reason. All reasons to keep 7, especially as the government wants to increase interest in science, technology and engineering. Here are people doing interesting stuff in all those areas, and making very watchable television in the process.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    blowing your own Angel's Trumpet?

    I was on a datura bender from Friday morning
    till Monday and hence missed everything.

    I suspect it is the Government that is on the Datura bender, they are exhibiting all the classic symptoms:

    Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium (as contrasted to hallucination): a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy ; hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior ; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4705 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I also caught some of the amazing work of Dunedin’s Natural History Unit, which doesn’t seem to feature on free to air television for some reason.

    They’re seen as too ‘unprofitable’ and too ‘cerebral’ for free-to-air, despite awards and financial success overseas. It’s symptomatic of a wider cargo cult cringe crossed with anti-intellectualism that’s dominated FTA for the last 20-25 years.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to DeepRed,

    They’re seen as too ‘unprofitable’ and too ‘cerebral’ for free-to-air, despite awards and financial success overseas.

    Didn't Wild South used to be a top rating show in the 80s?
    Then again, it used to be claimed that apartheid era South African TV viewers were probably the most natural history savvy on earth, because of the politically uncontroversial nature of all that wildlife programming they were fed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Why no howls? Well NZSTA seems firmly in bed with the Minister rather than being the independent voice for parents and Boards that they are meant to be.

    I was on the Board of our local school for about 12 years, including 6 as chair, and I was always surprised that NZSTA seemed to take the side of Government in a lot of things, like employment disputes, wage rounds, etc. They don't really independently advocate for Boards and schools nearly as often as they should.

    On other topic I had to goog NZSTA, http://www.nzsta.org.nz/ how does their being funded work?

    They're funded through an annual levy on schools as far as I know. At least our school paid a membership fee every year. The local office was handy on a couple of occasions when we sought advice on procedures, but the national body seems far too close to the Ministry for my liking.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    The local office was handy on a couple of occasions when we sought advice on procedures, but the national body seems far too close to the Ministry for my liking.

    Regulatory capture, anyone?

    It brings to mind the post-script of Paul Graham's Why Nerds Are Unpopular essay, where he answers the following question:

    Why is the problem worst in America?

    I'm just guessing here, but I think it may be because American school systems are decentralized. They're controlled by the local school board, which consists of car dealers who were high school football players, instead of some national Ministry of Education run by PhDs.

    It would not necessarily be a good thing for schools to be controlled by the federal government, though. In the US, except for a few carefully insulated agencies like the NSA and the CDC, smart people are reluctant to work for the federal government. The example of private schools suggests that the best plan would be to go in the other direction, away from government control.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    NZSTA is largely funded by a voluntary levy on schools but I think they also get extra for board governance training. I was involved on school boards for about 15 years until a few years ago. NZSTA is basically an employers' organisation, so they are inevitably conservative on issues like bulk funding and improving pay rates - which is a tension for those who want to support the teachers in their schools.

    In the 1990s many schools in Wellington withdrew from NZSTA over its support for bulk funding. In the early 2000s there were a group who tried to set up the Wellington region STA as a more independent and relevant supporter of schools, and we had many schools pay their local levy to us but not the part to the national STA. We were very active in training board members in governance, including special training for the student reps who only held their role for a year. I was an enthusiast for local democratic governance. We had really well attended governance days, and some great speakers and workshops. One time both Bill English and Trevor Mallard attended for free and frank Q and A..

    But in the end most people seemed to burn out and move on - school governance can be very intense and stressful - and the national body gobbled up the stroppy region again. However, I see the NZSTA still has all the same staff and attitudes as they have had for the last couple of decades.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    All kea, no responsibility...

    Didn’t Wild South used to be a top rating show in the 80s?

    It has been released on DVD, so you should be able to get it at the Library - otherwise it is probably trapped (along with the large parts of the rest of our TV heritage) behind Sky's paywall at Heartland TV.
    Does anyone know how much TVNZ makes from that particular deal?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4705 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Greville Whittle,

    My littlies loved Baby Planet. Mountains of cuteness.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    I've had a go with Mike Hosking already - listen here. In the 90 seconds I had to explain the issue between intensive advertising, I was asked why TVNZ 7 is important to which I said it doesn't have ads so it doesn't need to simplify subjects down to a soundbite.

    Perhaps the station took that personally as it then produced this.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    Thank you for your answer. I get the feeling they may be the Govts. foil to the teacher's union?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick, in reply to merc,

    Thank you for your answer. I get the feeling they may be the Govts. foil to the teacher's union?

    They're supposed to be an independent lobby and support group for Boards of Trustees, but as Hilary says above, they're more like an employers organisation than anything else, and also do receive a lot of government funding in the way of training contracts. But their "employer" stance puts them at odds with a lot of Boards who, while they are employers in name, have a lot more in common with the teachers than with the Ministry.

    Their "training" around National Standards (or at least the sessions I attended) were not much more than a thinly-veiled ra-ra session on how easy to implement and great to use National Standards were going to be.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    In the 90 seconds I had to explain the issue between intensive advertising, I was asked why TVNZ 7 is important to which I said it doesn’t have ads so it doesn’t need to simplify subjects down to a soundbite.

    This is true. We can talk for 20 minutes without interruption if we need to. That's for ever.

    Answer to the question: what are we getting on TVNZ 7 that we can get elsewhere?

    When we totted it up recently, there were 15 documentaries on free-to-air TV in one week. 10 of them were on TVNZ 7.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    Thanks again.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Tom, you make it sound as though having lost our remotes we're all forced to watch a single channel. It may err on the side of 'earnestness' but I think TV7 provides a better balance than most. As for 'passion and urgency'?? You find this where? Reality TV? Cooking shows?

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    How do I get hold of the petition?

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Jan Farr,

    How do I get hold of the petition?

    It's online @ issues.co.nz.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks,

    It seems to me that having supported the Save TVNZ7 campaign from the outset and heard many of the views for keeping it or ditching it that it's actually not the best model for a public broadcast TV service. For a start, TVNZ obviously aren't interested in keeping it going because it earns them no revenue and they are probably thinking it robs them of audience who would otherwise be tuning into their commercial channels. They've never promoted it or provided programme listings for publication. The National government will shut it down because the funding that Labour provided has run out and they see no economic benefit in the channel. Once that has happened I think those of us who believe in public broadcasting need to start campaigning for a stand alone channel, independent of any commercial TV company, similar to the Radio NZ model. Maybe there could even be a sharing of resources with Radio NZ, particularly with regard to news gathering. It can't be that hard, we just need a government that sees television as something more than a revenue earner...

    Pt Chevalier • Since Apr 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ken Sparks,

    I think those of us who believe in public broadcasting need to start campaigning for a stand alone channel, independent of any commercial TV company, similar to the Radio NZ model.

    While I'm not up with the details, that sounds broadly similar to Green Party policy.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

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