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Gower and the 3 News ratings slump

Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, August 20th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: accountability, journalism, spin - Tags: , ,

Last month John Drinnan at The Herald wrote:

TV3 ratings slide: ‘These are challenging times’

TV3 news and current affairs director Mark Jennings is putting a brave face on a ratings slide for 3 News against One News, saying “these are challenging times for us”.

Nielsen TAM ratings show a big slide since January last year, when the two news shows were nearly level-pegging. Today, TVNZ says the gap between them is the widest it has been for 10 years.

On Tuesday, One News attracted 42.1 per cent of the 25-54-year-old audience and 3 News had 14.8 per cent, says TVNZ. …

So what’s going wrong?

Jennings is correct that the slide at 3 News is partly the result of a poor 5.30pm lead-in to the news. But in my opinion, a dramatic fall over many months is caused by more than that. The shift to TVNZ is also about more people recognising a dual-personality element at TV3, which does break news stories but sometimes embarks on tabloid coverage and personalised rants.

“Tabloid coverage and personalised rants” is a polite way of saying “Patrick Gower”, in short Drinnan is suggesting that Gower is driving viewers away from 3 News. I was reminded of this by an exchange on Twitter yesterday:


The discussion that follows under each of those tweets is interesting, and highly critical of Gower choosing to give the Nats an easy ride on a major scandal (Gower has not so far denied this). Seems like Hosking is not the only journalist attracting attention for his obvious pro-National bias.

68 comments on “Gower and the 3 News ratings slump ”

  1. roy cartland 1

    Is Gower really pro-Nat or is he just pro-scandal? I know the latter works in Nat’s favour, but it’s not exactly the same. Fool vs knave dichotomy.

    • Kate Lang 1.1

      Gower is a Nat slathering, (part of the nether body)-licking tory. He also leers at the slightest judder by any other party, but gleams in the presence of his Nat deities. I turned off him beginning of last year, and have been happy to see less of him lately. That comes with keeping off TV3.

    • Tracey 1.2

      explains why he went big on the worm farm blunder last night, trying to seem less pro national.

    • Richard Christie 1.3

      He is overtly pro National.

      When not being egregiously silent, Gower has largely given Key and National an easy ride on scandals and lies that he would crucify Labour or Greens for, had they been involved in such dishonesty.

      He even runs with National Textor memes, Key says “tricky” Cunliffe ; Gower says “tricky” Cunliffe.

      He’s Bugs Bunny on meth.

  2. http://pantograph-punch.com/asking-the-right-questions-patrick-gower/

    wherein Gower says no time for truth so be entertainer. Some nice Gower quotes:

    you can’t do “sophisticated and complicated issues” on TV

    “the reality is that I’m not biased. I’m just not, I know I’m not. I don’t report in a biased way

    “If you ran around trying to disprove everyone you wouldn’t have time to do your job.”

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      paddy famous last words:

      “I often say that the press gallery is more political than Parliament itself.”

      “What in your eyes is the role of political journalism?

      It’s not about our agendas or anyone else’s agendas; it’s really just to be here for the voters.

      Thats was only one year ago, seems like when it comes to trade is IS ABOUT OUR agenda, oh… and hes become McCullys ‘bichon’ as well.


  3. Hami Shearlie 3

    Not biased, really Paddy? So what would you call your behaviour towards David Cunliffe when you were at the Labour Party Conference on the day when members were going to be voting to have a say in selecting the leader?

  4. Peter 4

    …. like many others I have turned-off regular viewing of TV3 News since the demise of Campbell Live

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      I think the demise of both the Home and Away lead in, and the Campbell Live lead out, is the key reason for the slump.

      However Gower is a Tory numpty so I don’t mind anyone putting the boot into him as well.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Gower is obviously a long time drinking buddy of McCully is my guess.

        Gower says ( privately) hes going soft on McCully because he believes in trade?

        Corruption , cronyism, government waste, these are the corn which political reporters make bread.

        Is there a long pattern of Gower looking the other way when scandal erupts around McCully directly.

    • Saarbo 4.2

      Me to, because TV3 told us (Jennings) they were not interested in serious current affairs so therefore why would I invest my time to watch a “news” that was presumably full of crap. And as for Story…absolute shit.

      Ive switched to TV1 news.

  5. les 5

    ‘he told me he believes in trade so doesn’t think it is in NZ’s interest to follow story too aggressively’….this is not his brief!His personal assessment of what is in NZ’s interests is totally irrelevant to reporting issues.

  6. infused 6

    Well I watch at 5:30. Sums it all up in 5-10mins.

    Gower will rip on anyone he can get an easy free shot.

    Story isn’t half bad though.

    • les 6.1

      yes but you are ‘infused’ with establishment propaganda and probably have no understanding of what ..’objective’ means.

      • infused 6.1.1

        yeah of course not.

        you are very objective, when it suits your cause.

        it’s like every election where one sides screams the other side is paying the media. back and forth we go.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          only one side has the money to pay the media, and only one side has cut sweetheart financing deals with corporate media

    • Stuart Munro 6.2

      The cooking show was better – often as a study in pathology but still. He said/she said is a joke format.

    • Skinny 6.3

      I agree me old mate Paddy G is not afraid of giving anyone a crack. Key has taken many a hit from Gower.
      Let’s not forget Gower set a solid platform smashing National in the Northland ‘Buy’ Election from the get go and it went pear shaped from there.

      I like Paddy and find him a decent guy and have never had a problem working together. If you can’t handle him interviewing you than ya need further media training.

  7. J.K.F.U 7

    The slump is down to piss poor reporting, what a B.S excuse for an interview was that with Paul Henry and Don Key, News Worthy? Not so news worthy!! cant stand the way they sit down in those stupid chairs especially the guy who leans back like its a talk show or something??? Its a little thing but it erks me everytime I accidentally flick past that channel in that time.
    For me it is definitely not 3 News.

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      That show is in big trouble too- you hit the nail on the head, exactly my thoughts.
      Poor autocue reading skills doesnt make compelling viewing and they may as well be propped up with pillows in a double bed ?

      TV3 from that bozo at breakfast to late night news type shows are poorly formatted and have low production values.
      Get the experts in and listen to their advice, the days of do it your self have long gone.

  8. Mike the Savage One 8

    Being a regular TV news watcher, and active follower of political and other reporting in the mainstream media, I am not the slightest bit surprised about the slump in viewers for TV3 news.

    I do not think though that Gower is that strong a “National supporter”, although his general reporting and commenting over time does indicate, he is softer on the Prime Minister and the National led government, than on Labour and especially their leader(s).

    Gower is just one of those modern day “hitting headline” reporters, who “report” like an effective “PowerPoint” presentation. He does also whip up at times marginal “news”, into something he tries to make sound and appear “sensational”. But like with any adrenalin focused reporting, it loses its effect over time, especially when it is used on events and incidents, that do deserve analytical and comprehensive reporting. He just seems too often to make a “d*ck” of himself, I feel.

    As for TV3, their presenters are like from a glossy mag’s front page, but mellow, at times a bit too emotive, it seems, and simply too boring for someone who cherishes basic facts and objective news reporting. I think though that is not just the presenters’ fault, the producers want to appeal to the above middle age middle class viewers, who do not wish to have their dinnertime too much upset with the real news in the world.

    TVNZ on the other hand have some similar problems, but overall appear more balanced, and do tend to cover broader news, besides of the usual crime, weather and sports diet, we get too much of. There is still some tiny remnant of the public broadcaster and attempts for “balanced” reporting that I detect there. And I value the TVNZ One News on Sunday, now being the only more comprehensive news on that weekend day, while TV3 rush through a tiny array of at times more trivial news then, prior to sports and their new current affairs show, which is with 30 minutes too short for me to bother with.

    So for international news, it is BBC and Al Jazeera for me, and various media and other sources online, and for NZ this is increasingly also the case. The commercialisation of the MSM seems to get worse, and most is un-watchable in my view, given the ever annoying ads. No wonder Netflix and others are doing so well now.

    • lprent 8.1

      That is my view as well. He operates on short-form slogans that are sound bites. Less powerpoint (which would involve having better graphics), and more twitter in his case.

      The problem is that it invariably winds up as just being a personal rant. There are better twitter writers on politics.

    • dukeofurl 8.2

      TVNZ seem to spend more money on their news That to me shows and why I generally keep an eye on it.
      Does TV3 still use Tova O’Brien and that other guy that went missing while his father was in strife?

      Interestingly google images for TV3 political reporters seems to mostly be Paddy and no one else

      • Mike the Savage One 8.2.1

        “Does TV3 still use Tova O’Brien and that other guy that went missing while his father was in strife?”

        Yep, sorry to say so, they are part of the “furniture” now, I fear.

        Tova is a real amateur in my view, she is a wannabe reporter, struggling to really ask hard questions with substance, and also not that good on keeping focus. She seems to love trivial bits, and like Gower, to dress these up as “news”, which should in serious media not even be bothered with.

        Young Mr Sabin is also very “keen”, on some stories, but he does also continue to make some smart arsed comments, pushing the trivial, before anything that deserves to be looked at.

        If these are the best they can deliver, TV3 can be assured of sinking ratings in the medium to longer term.

        Garner is in my view also disappointing, but not surprising, on ‘Story’. But then again, was he not Gower’s mentor of sorts?

        • Naturesong

          And yet TV3 does have a world class journalist sitting on the sidelines.

          He reads the news at 6pm most nights

          • dukeofurl

            I presume he is involved in writing the stories. I have a feeling he’ll be back to writing full time soon enough

          • Lou

            Wow, thanks, Naturesong. You just reminded me why I persist with TV3 News! I have a great respect for Mike McRoberts and for his wife. Both top-quality journalists, imo.

    • Hanswurst 8.3

      He just seems too often to make a “d*ck” of himself, I feel.

      People like and relate to that, though. Look at how popular John Key is.

  9. cogito 9

    When it comes to media kissing Key’s a*se, this piece made me throw up.

    Especially the last sentence:
    “It was all about “treating other people the way you want to be treated,” he [Key] said.”

  10. maui 10

    Not sure why if you’re a young person you would slide back to tory inspired tv1. The political and world news propaganda probably goes over most peoples heads though.

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    John Key’s cheeks must be huge to accommodate the jowls of so many of these disgraceful Nat stooges masquerading as so called ‘journalists’!

  12. Gerald Breeze 12

    I have ceased watching the TV3 news due to the removal of “Campbell Live” The lead in didn’t figure at all.

  13. Stephen Dickson 13

    It seems more and more news reporting is in fact opinion pieces.
    It’s not like there is no news but it’s not being reported like that.

    So to the Web I go, still watch a bit of news but it’s more like comedy hour.

  14. Sabine 14

    why would anyone watch any “News Programme” in NZ? They have never done news, nor will they do news. Gosh, that would mean informing the public about the happenings that affect their country and the world and that can’t be.
    SO more cooking, more rugby, more made up personal opinion and other assorted rubbish.

    Still not watching TV. In fact i think my TV has not worked in over two years now.

    • lprent 14.1

      After I moved back into my apartment in 2012 after a few years away, the aerial wasn’t working. Never got it fixed. I never noticed it dropping anything out of my life.

      I have fast fibre with 1000Gb per month and no shaping, netflix, quickflix, and pipes throughout the world.

      About the only thing I do on local for is the odd current affairs program, via the web. Incidentally, I wouldn’t mind paying someone to provide a no advert channel of NZ current affairs collated from the free to air channels. I’d even write the applet for my Sony bluray.

      Lyn occasionally says that she’d like to see the adverts for professional reasons (she makes docos and other film pieces). But I think that should be easy enough to get from on-demand. It isn’t like we are constrained on the amount of data.

  15. Colonial Viper 15

    If only TV3 had a great show like Campbell Live to pull in the punters around news time.

    • dukeofurl 15.1

      Apparently it only appealed to over 45 demographic so was dead meat to media buyers.

      The reason Ive stopped watching their news is its done on the cheap and filled with long overseas fillers unrelated to NZ.
      Even Campbells show was under resourced which helped quicken its decline.

      • Colonial Rawshark 15.1.1

        over 45’s…are the people with the money and the property in this country…

  16. Tracey 16

    IF Gower did say that to Hooton he should be sacked immediately.

    what he believes or thinks or supports is not his job.

    Presumably he is not a Union member


    Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are overriding principles for all journalists. In pursuance of these principles, journalists commit themselves to ethical and professional standards. All members of the Union engaged in gathering, transmitting, disseminating and commenting on news and information shall observe the following Code of Ethics in their professional activities:

    (a) They shall report and interpret the news with scrupulous honesty by striving to disclose all essential facts and by not suppressing relevant, available facts or distorting by wrong or improper emphasis.

    (b) They shall not place unnecessary emphasis on gender, race, sexual preference, religious belief, marital status or physical or mental disability.

    (c) In all circumstances they shall respect all confidences received in the course of their occupation.

    (d) They shall not allow personal interests to influence them in their professional duties.

    • dukeofurl 16.1

      Its not for the employer to discipline its employees over a ‘code of ethics’ supposedly drawn up by a union.

      Its the journalists union ( with EPMU now I think) to do so and disclose its findings.

      Good luck with that, if its ever been done at all ?

      Its all window dressing dressing Tracey, surely you knew that .

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Reading Gower’s supposed statement, it appears that he thinks it in the national interest that he NOT do his job as a journalist. How can one argue with that?

      • dukeofurl 16.2.1

        Go ahead and lodge a complaint based on the detailed advice on EPMU website…..

        Do they even have a formal body which meets to decide such things ?

      • NZJester 16.2.2

        It is in the National interest just not in the national interest that he NOT do his job!

      • weka 16.2.3

        “Reading Gower’s supposed statement, it appears that he thinks it in the national interest that he NOT do his job as a journalist. How can one argue with that?”

        At least we are all on the same page now with what he actually does for a living.

    • Lou 16.3

      Don’t forget it was Hooton who said Paddy had said that. Hmmmm, do we trust Hooters to have reported faithfully what Paddy said? I’m not so sure about that. Wonder why Hooters is p’d off with Gower?

      • Matthew Hooton 16.3.1

        Why do you think I am pissed off with Gower? It’s not personal. I just tweeted what he said to me.

  17. Tricledrown 17

    It’s not about then news with Gower.
    It’s about Gower anything to make himself more important than the news.
    Narcissistic egomaniac.
    Thats whats happened to journalism.

  18. Detrie 18

    I think the problem with Gower is not a pro-national bias. He just doesn’t have the basic interviewing, personality and people skills to do the job he is employed to do. And the fact TV3 management want this and similar current affairs to be an ‘entertainment’ slot doesn’t help. Their late night news coverage is even more amateurish.

    • David H 18.1

      Watching Gower on Tv is like watching a puppet with half the strings cut. And that Ego, almost a case of Screw the story, it’s all about me! and lets not forget his despicable behaviour with Cunliffe at the Conference, that was inexcusable, and the last time I watched TV 3 apart from The Nation. And after last week that’s also going to go as well.

  19. rhinocrates 19

    Hosking, Henry and Gower aren’t journalists, they’re Key’s selection of flavoured condoms.

  20. tc 20

    Just desserts for axing the only current affairs show willing to stick it to this abhorrent gov’t.

    Gowers sneering tone and [r0b: re looks deleted] are a complete turn off to most I talk to which is crucial in TV as looks and tone count for alot. Sad but true just look at the pretty looking muppets with mics across at TVNZ.

    He’s a crap journo, has poor delivery, [r0b: re looks deleted] so must be doing something right. That something would be bias towards the gov’t.

  21. Markm 21

    I would have said Gower is very anti National, but from the comments on here he seems to upset everyone equally.
    The point is , if he was pro National the ratings would logically jump as National have the majority of support , so logically National supporters would follow him.

    As they don’t it seems Gower is just very unlikeable no matter what parties you support

    • Colonial Rawshark 21.1

      I would have said Gower is very anti National,

      In what way is Gower very anti-National? Do you believe that he has been supportive of Andrew Little and Labour this year?

      The point is , if he was pro National the ratings would logically jump as National have the majority of support , so logically National supporters would follow him.

      Unless people expect Gower to be a reporter, not a cheerleader.

  22. Chooky 22

    this is very good NEWS…I want to see TV3 ratings go through the floor

  23. Paul 23

    Please keep highlighting how biased our media is.
    Once people realise they’re being lied to, Key is history.

  24. millsy 24

    People who I know, that dont keep up to date with politics, news etc as those on here do have commented that there is a bias toward National in the media.

  25. Pistol Paul 25

    Bit rich that O’Sullivan makes that comment about another journalist considering her oh too close relationship with Groser as she runs his lines on a daily basis. As for Hooton, anyone want a bet he’s being paid somehow by someone to oppose McCully on this?

    I work in trade in Norh America and both Hooton and O’Sullivan have zero cred as commentators among those of us actually doing the deals. McCully is rated well above Groser who many question his true worth. O’Sullivan would be far better paying closer attention to that issue but won’t due to her personal conflicts.

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