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Death throes of journalism at TV3

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, November 16th, 2015 - 56 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, journalism - Tags: , , ,

So it continues, Spinoff has the story:

Lawyers Called in as the 3D Investigative Team Resists Shutdown Plan

The recently-announced proposal not to renew TV3’s flagship current affairs show 3D is now subject to fierce resistance from the show’s journalists, who have assembled a legal team to work on a challenge to the way employment process was conducted.

The Spinoff can reveal that 3D‘s journalists have called on lawyers, forensic accountants and employment experts to help build a case that proper processes weren’t followed, and are in a dialogue with the channel’s Human Resources department. “If Weldon thinks he can take on a room full of investigative journalists and they’re just going to roll over, he’s very much mistaken,” says a source privy to the situation.
….
The nature of 3D‘s approach indicates that the era of passive resistance through social media or appeals to the public might be coming to an end, replaced by one on which the employment implications will be the new battleground.

I wish the 3D team well in their fight, and of course wish the same to all journalists who have lost their jobs or are under pressure in the various media purges that are going on. I also wish that there had been more examination in said media of the social, economic and political trends that inexorably led to this attack on democracy and critical thought. I hope it’s not too late.

56 comments on “Death throes of journalism at TV3”

  1. BM 1

    Current affairs shows are no longer commercially viable therefore their time is up.

    Time to except that.

    • Tracey 1.1

      Did you enjoy the post I wrote for you?

      • BM 1.1.1

        I had a bit of a browse through it.

        Bit long winded to be honest and no mention was made of my good looks and charm, which disappointed me a bit.

        • Tracey 1.1.1.1

          It was ALL about you BM… You may well be its poster child

          You only really needed the first few pages but I am sorry that was too much for you.

    • Mike the Savage One 1.2

      I neither “except” nor accept it, as it would force me to basically say ‘Sieg Heil’ to the status quo, or consider the worst as I cherish information and discussion. What purpose is there to live in a society where business and business friendly, endlessly biased, commercially focused interests dictate to us what is supposed to be useful, important and worthy.

      I may as well be dead, rather than live like a brain amputated zombie.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        I had a bit of a chuckle at BM’s comment.

        It certainly is time for an exception to the death of TV journalism.

        Many a true word said in the great kiwi monovowel…

    • Kaplan 1.3

      BM. You make a good case for having well funded publicly owned media. Well done.

      • BM 1.3.1

        It’s probably the best place for them, I don’t think a privately owned company should be forced to lose money.

        Still have to have people watching them though, otherwise it’s a terrible waste of tax payer dollars.

        • Tracey 1.3.1.1

          Do you think that a privately owned company should get debt relief from taxpayers? And if you don’t, why would you vote for a government that does that?

          • BM 1.3.1.1.1

            You mean this.?

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10711051

            Reading that I think we got quite a good return ,11.2 per cent interest, so yes I would vote for a government that does that.

            • Tracey 1.3.1.1.1.1

              So you do see a place for the state to be involved with propping up private enterprise, cos without that intervention and your criteria of commercial viability, this business would have failed, right? So why not give more money to prop up news/current affairs which serves a democratic purpose?

              You were against asset sales that generate good returns for the government, right? Oh wait, no, you voted to sell those.

              • BM

                So you think the taxpayer should step in and pay for or subsidize the current affairs shows on TV3 ?, bit risky to be honest.

                Regarding your comment on asset sales.

                High lights include

                Thus the Crown has received $4308 million from the partial sale of these companies yet its dividend income has fallen by only $45.8 million. This is a remarkably positive outcome for taxpayers.

                http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2015/09/the_huge_benefits_of_the_asset_sales.html

                • Tracey

                  Yes, and in fact TV3 takes money from the taxpayer for its documentaries already

                  Now, answer my questions above?

                  “So you do see a place for the state to be involved with propping up private enterprise, cos without that intervention and your criteria of commercial viability, this business would have failed, right? So why not give more money to prop up news/current affairs which serves a democratic purpose?

                  You were against asset sales that generate good returns for the government, right? Oh wait, no, you voted to sell those.”

                  “State-owned Genesis Energy paid out a $114 million dividend to the Government in the year ended June, nearly $10 million more than its reported profit of $104.5 million.”

                  sale price about 750m = 7 years of dividends…

                  Mediaworks owed 43m

    • savenz 1.4

      @BM minus 100

      Good luck to the journos in their fight. Media works canning 2 entire sets of journos within the year. Sounds like a firm that believes in zero hour contracts and zero employment rights.

    • Reality 1.5

      So how come funding has been available for those rubbishy and embarrassing programmes like “dine with me” etc etc which were presumed to be commercially viable and worth producing? What a waste of money and resources.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.6

      Commercial viability isn’t the best measure of their purpose in a democratic society. Getting rid of them on such a score is tantamount to an attack said democracy.

      You agreeing with it is you agreeing that democracy must come to an end because it’s not commercially viable.

  2. Mike the Savage One 2

    Well, if the involvement of legal experts and so forth may force TV3 to review a decision on employment law grounds, then this will by no means be the end of such “media” trying to off-load investigative journalism in order to replace it with more commercial advertiser compliant “infotainment” and “reality tv” shows.

    Money talks, and money dictates, when it is done by employers and big and not so big business, which certainly now includes most mainstream media in this country (like most of the world).

    The only way to fight this trend is for people to make more use of political and other blogs, to offer more resources to informative blogs, and to make more use of such and other alternative channels for sharing information and offering discussions. So far though most blogs live off people mostly commenting on “news” they already get from the MSM, and some humble voluntary contributions by individuals, which are then presented and actively discussed. Too few offer their own OIA and other self gathered information here.

    Or the more traditional alternative, which may work alongside the just mentioned, would be to bring back well resourced, robust and independently managed public broadcasting and community media networks, that inform rather than just entertain and dumb down, as most media now seems to be doing. Take the commercial dependence out, and many problems will be solved. The only last bastion of relatively balanced public broadcasting is now Radio NZ, but even that is increasingly under threat. Then there are of course still Scoop and a few smaller players in the media landscape, but their reach may not be that great.

    I am afraid the efforts by 3D journalists and support staff are simply a last ditch, desperate effort, to save a humble remnant of useful media. Our present government is simply not interested in giving such program makers much air and space, so do not raise your hopes too high.

    • gsays 2.1

      hi mike,
      “would be to bring back well resourced, robust and independently managed public broadcasting and community media networks, that inform rather than just entertain and dumb down,”
      apart from the well resourced, this sounds like access/community radio.

    • Raf 2.2

      The report says the journalists “have assembled a legal team to work on a challenge to the way employment process was conducted,” – i.e. their goal is simply to force TV3 to obey employment law, rather than to make a “last ditch effort” to save “a humble remnant of useful media”.
      TV3’s attempt to boot them all out in a week (on the basis the journalists themselves didn’t come up with any viable programme options! the cheek of it) is definitely on the wrong side of the law. They are due far more notice and consultation, and a considerable payout.
      Whatever we think of TV3 (nada, me) we should support the journalists in their struggle here.

  3. Al66 3

    Boycott TV3 – easy!

    Nothing to see there any longer.

    • alwyn 3.1

      You infidel, you!
      TV3 shows “The Blacklist”.
      How could you possibly ignore James Spader at his best?

      • tracey 3.1.1

        He was at his best in boston legal. In any event that is wat dvds are for

        • alwyn 3.1.1.1

          Tracey
          You are probably correct about Boston Legal. “At his best” may be pushing it.
          How about “How could you possibly ignore the great James Spader”?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.2

        TV3 shows The Blacklist with ads, several days after it is available from various internet sources.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3

        That would be, IMO, another good reason to boycott TV3 – if I watched TV at all.

        • alwyn 3.1.3.1

          You have no taste Sir.
          Refusing to watch James Spader?
          No taste at all.
          On the other hand I find it very hard to think of anything else on TV3 that I would consider watching.

      • Ffloyd 3.1.4

        Dammit alwyn!! We switched tv3 off at the death of Campbell Live and have never watched it since. NOW you remind me about The Backlist. My most favourite programme ever. That’s!! what I gave up for CL. I have read it has gone in a completely different direction. BUT staying strong and not reviving TV3 in our household. Tears in eyes.

      • Paul 3.1.5

        18 minutes TV for 12 minutes of advertisements
        No thanks.

        • alwyn 3.1.5.1

          Paul.
          You are clearly not a fan.
          It is of course an hour long (or to be precise 55 minutes) program.
          I haven’t actually timed it but I suspect they run 40 minutes program to 15 minutes ads.
          Try watching the whole thing some time.
          Actually I just commented on this as a little throw-away item. I never expected to see such strong views on the matter.

          Ffloyd.
          Your determination to stick to your principles must be admired. Pitied, but admired.

          • Ffloyd 3.1.5.1.1

            Actually it wasn’t principles really, but more that we didn’t miss anything about it. Had even forgotten about Paddy G until I read something about him recently. However, having being reminded about Backlist still going will look out for alternative ways of viewing.

  4. Tracey 4

    John Campbell’s former producer at tv3 is now working with him at RNZ…

    Interesting to see that JC has gone to Chrismas Island…. something only Kelvin Davis was prepared to do…

  5. NZSage 5

    I though John Campbell’s piece on RNZ this morning re the Christmas Island concentration camp was an excellent example of professional journalism. See: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/289753/shut-down-detention-centre,-say-christmas-islanders

    I wonder how long it will be before RNZ get their funding cut?

  6. Stephen 6

    I’m wondering about the whole TV3 news/current affairs thing. Since the demise of CL, we haven’t tuned into 3 at all. Maybe the ratings for all shows have dropped, and the management are trying to stop the worst of the financial hemorrhaging.

  7. adrian 7

    Investigate Weldon, there’s more skeletons in that cupboard than in a fair sized cemetery.

  8. Ad 8

    The Standard, Scoop, Kiwiblog, TDB and TransportBlog get more and more important each day compared to TV news.
    The right balance of facts, emotion, interactivity, and high quality writing will win.

    Even TVNZ is going to start surviving more and more on its great catalogue of downloads.

    • Ergo Robertina 8.1

      By growing importance you mean reader numbers.
      That’s great, but outcomes still matter more than eyeballs.
      Think Teina Pora, the Fox Glacier air crash (the official report was reviewed and changed after the 3D story), bullying in the fire service – it’s a long way from your banal ”right balance” complaisance.
      These good solid stories and investigations are important, and we’re entering dangerous territory if we allow the market to decide this one.
      Partisans often miss (or don’t care about) stories outside their field of interest, which is why they usually make dreadful media commentators.
      The right response is to call for an overhaul of the significant amount taxpayers are spending on public broadcasting and rethink the whole approach.
      As for high quality writing – I’d settle for readable and crisp, and you’re lucky if you get that on a blog.

  9. Steve Withers 9

    National doesn’t want any serious current affairs on TV prior the next round of local body and national elections.

    They have TVNZ completely terrified by yanking the funding noose….and Key’s buddy at TV3 is throttling the news department for any purpose other than reading happy-happy, joy-joy press fodder from the Beehive.

    • Karen 9.1

      It isn’t just Key’s buddy Weldon trying to get rid of media that could potentially expose the ineptitude of the National government. Julie Christie has a close relationship with a number of National Party cabinet ministers, particularly Gerry Brownlie.

      • tracey 9.1.1

        Yup… hence the flag panel gig…

        And note phil heatleys new plumb post… and tau henare…

    • tc 9.2

      TVNZ isn’t terrified it happily plays along as its stacked with Nat friendly sorts who aside from the on air spruiking gift sky archive content, blow money on failed digital ventures, sell land to casinos at mates rates and just generally roll over like the lapdog they are.

  10. Tc 10

    Exactly as designed by the reworked nz on air formula which discriminates against anything thats not targeted at the masses i.e high rating.

    More fine work from the nact installed chair and members to promote the dumbing down

  11. Smilin 11

    when the few in power decide for the many its that right we give by vote for them to act but if they act to control rather than improve or provide for the people then you dont have democracy you have some form of totalitarianism

  12. G C 12

    Who watches television anymore? Let this show (3D) go-by-the-wayside. Have they covered important issues that have NOT been covered better elsewhere – I think not. I wouldn’t watch the ‘6pm News’ expecting to come away with a cohesive world view.

    As for 3D, it’s much the same I imagine – tragically executed emotionalism and drawn out facts, wraped poorly in a shoddy world-view. shows get cancelled all the time, they shouldn’t try to sue/legal-it-up.

    Don’t complain when you lose your job – when you chose the dying platform of television. Also I laughed when I read they think they’re ‘investigative journalists’ – more like soon-to-be x employees of TV3, who can follow a laid out trail of breadcrumbs. They should be drug tested, not watched~!!!

    • Ross 12.1

      Well, they did great work on the Teina Pora case whose conviction was quashed by the Privy Council soon after. It was apparent from 3D’s examination of the case that Pora was possibly innocent and had been treated badly by the criminal justice system.

      However, 3D let themselves badly down by seemingly backing David Bain and suggesting he was innocent because of a photo of Robin Bain’s thumb! That was just nuts. 3D should have been scrapped on the basis of that story alone.

  13. veutoviper 13

    This is definitely NOT the death of ‘journalism’, but another arm/brand of Mediaworks also appears to be in its death throes.

    https://t.co/RuObOUtkbf

    Short, so here it is in full.

    Mediaworks are not denying suggestions that they have lost the last of the full-time members of the editorial team at Scout, their recently-launched gossip website edited by former New Zealand Herald “gossip queen” Rachel Glucina.

    Sources close to Scout say that Glucina is now the only editorial staff member left in the website’s newsroom. Gone by Christmas?

    It is believed about 11 staff members have left since the site launched in September, with Glucina now being assisted instead by a few freelancers who work remotely.

    After a rapid exit by its news editor Francis Cook just four days after the launch, other staff members began leaving the site.

    One source said the common thread behind the staff turnover was friction between Glucina and her staff members.

    MediaWorks head of communications Charlotte McLauchlan said MediaWorks had no comment to make about Scout losing the last of its staff.

    Glucina has not responded to requests for comment.

  14. Murray 14

    BM Current affairs programs programs are no longer commercially viable therefore their time is up.
    Perhaps if they were genuine current affairs programs rather than national parties promos masquerading as current affairs programs they would be more viable.

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