Stewart’s brilliant account of the significance of Campbell Live

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, May 30th, 2015 - 47 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, journalism, Media - Tags: , , ,

Rachel Stewart from the Taranaki Daily News has written the best account of the significance of Campbell Live that you will read anywhere. Here are some extracts, but go read the full piece too.

Why you should care about John Campbell’s demise

This is a column dedicated to those of you who couldn’t give two tosses – are possibly cheering even – about the demise of Campbell Live.

For me, Hilary Barry probably summed it up best when she broke down while reading the news last Thursday night. That would be the same day that the Budget was released.

In that Budget some relief was chucked at beneficiaries with children in the form of $25 extra per week. Oh the irony. John Campbell’s relentless coverage of the stark reality of child poverty was probably the single biggest factor for bringing that about.

Nah, you say? Well, how would you know if you’re so busy not watching Campbell Live?

To those on the centre-right of the political spectrum there appears to be two common denominators. You tend to watch Seven Sharp for your fix of evening current affairs, and you generally despise the poor.

I mean, John Campbell’s constantly been out there talking to the people that you, and this current government, would really rather prefer we all forgot about.

I’m in the company of decent New Zealanders who are extremely upset and angry about Campbell Live’s canning.

It’s because it represented so much more to us than just a current affairs programme. It was the last mainstream media hope in the new neoliberal hell called New Zealand.

Campbell Live’s demise strikes me, on so many levels, as the beginning of the end of good, solid journalism.

You’re not worried about that? You should be.

47 comments on “Stewart’s brilliant account of the significance of Campbell Live”

  1. Paul 1

    Outstanding writing.

  2. Goodshepherd 2

    Rachel’s is a voice I wish more could hear. Her columns are always worth reading if not comfy and safe reading. Her pov is unique IMO. You could shave with her keyboard sometimes… A more than occasional author here at TS? Yes please.

  3. ianmac 3

    Yep. Rachel speaks for me.

    • Kiwiri 3.1

      This is for Rachel if she is reading this or to be conveyed to her:
      Thanks very much, Rachel!

  4. Ad 4

    Top work there.

    Campbell made me feel like there were actual human beings on TV.

  5. Chooky 5

    +100…great Post by Rachel Stewart

  6. Clemgeopin 6

    Just to make a powerful point, how about everyone that is angry or sad about losing the Campbell Live show….

    (1) Either completely boycott the replacement programme that will take the place of Campbell Live from 7 pm to 7 :30 pm

    and/or

    (2) Boycott ALL of media works TV and Radio for at least one year from now.

    and also

    (3) Boycott the advertisers that advertise during the 7 pm to 7:30 pm slot on TV3.

    These practical protests should teach the media works’ BS bosses an excellent lesson that WE the people are the ultimate REAL bosses and that they are not there just for their advertisers, for excessive greed, for government or tax payer bail outs and for their RW political Godfathers and for their share holders, but are ALSO there for the social good of the country, to be also a good media for at least 30 excellent minutes a day, and to display some responsible and courageous probing type of journalism.

    Let us see if they can survive just with an audience of their own bean counting stupid shareholders and their callous minded RW self centred supporters.

    The management of Media works/TV3 are RW arse holes because, at least in the last two months, after the Campbell Live review news became public, its ratings soared so much that it became one of the most rated, and often the MOST rated of ALL TV3 shows, even beating the 6 pm TV3 news!

    That being the case, if the TV3 management were not arse holes, they would have not cancelled this show now when it is in its high ratings peak, but instead would have logically waited at least for the next few months to see if the ratings fell or not.

    So it appears that the reason to sack the show was actually pre-meditated, probably political, part of the dirty politics RW culture, and for reasons OTHER than the publicly given ratings decline excuse lie as I have shown above. Why else would they have closed it down NOW, when it’s ratings are the best of ALL TV3 shows?

    • Kevin 6.1

      Campbell Live and the News are the only programmes on 3 I watch anyway so any changes to the news and I’m gone for good.

  7. Heather Grimwood 7

    A great piece of writing.
    Reinforces the long-recognised need for a left-leaning daily, whatever the medium. The Standard at present provides a strong avenue for comment but won’t be read by bulk of population. Possibly if a philanthropical backer (or backers) is out there, a paper, even weekly or fortnightly delivered widely would serve the purpose. Volunteer delivery is not impossible in at least built-up areas.

    • David 7.1

      How much demand do you really think there is for a left leaning daily? The Guardian sells about 170,000 copies in a country with a population of 65m. It’s lost money for decades too.

  8. Atiawa 8

    Hats off to the Taranaki Daily News who I understand won the Cannon award for best provincial newspaper last week. The editor hasn’t been afraid to allow some voices on the left to be heard in recent years. Unfortunately he had his last day with Fairfax yesterday so it will be interesting to see if the likes of Rachel continue.
    The media print industry is undergoing massive change. Fairfax it seems, see’s it’s future in on-line reporting. Less tree’s I guess.

  9. Murray Simmonds 9

    Yes, Rachel is exactly right. In the end it all comes down to empathy – a now much devalued currency in the neoliberal hell that NZ is fast becomming – as she puts it.

    EMPATHY. Not that far removed from the centrall issues adressed in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (for that ever-shrinking sector of the population that has heard of it).

    Not much different from the cetral tenets of Confucianism and Buddhism (where it takes the guise of ‘compassion’).

    No doubt represented also in Hinduism and many other major world religions, about which I know shockingly little.

    Empathy. Most definitely NOT something that the neoliberalists should worry their selfish little heads about . . .

    • David 9.1

      Weird, you seem to think the response to ‘neoliberal hell’ is religion.

      Good luck with that.

  10. Sirenia 10

    This has probably been posted already but the piece by Ali Ikram is pretty good. He has lost his job too.

    http://ruminator.co.nz/ka-kite-ano-campbell-live/

    • Tracey 10.1

      according to the herald he was one of a few who decided to leave and not take up any possible position elsewhere. Good on him and the others for that too.

  11. Rachel Stewart hit the nail on the head when she wrote of centre-right news audiences who didn’t watch Campbell Live (full-stop): “You tend to watch Seven Sharp for your fix of evening current affairs, and you generally despise the poor.”

    But, I think it would be prudent for Rachel Stewart (and many others) to realise that the likes of Hillary Barry need to ‘get a grip’ (for crying while reading the news that John Campbell had resigned). Why? Because as a rule, the 3News newsroom, along with the other anti-competitive cartel-owned major news outlets of New Zealand, feign neutrality on crucial issues such as imperialist projects (commonly called war), the continued deployment of ‘the Shock Doctrine’ (aka ‘free market shock therapies’ or economic warfare) and the refusal to broadcast, and publish retractions of the major news stories of the last 100 years (including the real reasons for WWI, as the sentiments in “Top (dissident) tweets about Anzac Day” allude to. See: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2015/04/top-dissident-tweets-about-anzac-day.html; and see also: “Missing in News-action: Confronting ‘Deep State’ Power Crimes” at: http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=1002

    When Hilary Barry and the rest of the 3News newsroom (& other major news outlets) dispense with the ‘once over lightly’ approach to news gathering, and actually express real empathy for real people here and abroad who are bearing the brunt of the psychopaths jostling for control of the world, then maybe such tears might begin to show they really care.

    With these criticisms in mind, I think its important to ask at this juncture, are we to sit on our couches and allow the dystopian PooTube media cartels to continue to dominate real peoples’ view of the world, or do we strategise, organise and mobilise to crowdfund a new newsroom model?

    See: The $4 Million Newsroom: Crowd-funding a new newsroom model that has ‘The Shit’ at: http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=2918

    • Naturesong 11.1

      That news readers become inured to the death, destruction, misery and evil intentions that they sort through every day is understandable.
      I couldn’t do it, it’d drive me mad.

      When such a person sees the power whose affects she reports on everyday reach in and snuff out the last daily televised current affairs show in NZ that takes its job seriously?
      I imagine it really stings.

  12. Tracey 12

    Steve Braunias nailed it in the Diary of Campbell Live today. Get the ego out of our media. Stop employing them to tell us what they reckon to make themselves feel more important and better about their narrow and at times compassionless world view.

    • weka 12.1

      Speaking of compassionless, this journo is getting some flak on Twitter for writing about how holiday makers are complaining about Syrian refugees ruining their holidays.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3099736/Holidaymakers-misery-boat-people-Syria-Afghanistan-seeking-asylum-set-migrant-camp-turn-popular-Greek-island-Kos-disgusting-hellhole.html

    • Ergo Robertina 12.2

      Ego isn’t the nub of the problem – understanding, empathy and compassion anchor decent journalism, as Rachel clearly explained.
      Advocacy journalism is open to attack over supposed balance issues, especially in what Rachel’s piece describes as the ”new neoliberal hell called New Zealand”.
      Charges of the reporter/presenter putting themselves in the story frequently ensue when people disagree with its angle or supposed agenda.
      I like the analogy used by Guardian journalist Nick Davies to illustrate the issue of balance, as related in this economist blog:

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/08/press-criticism
      ”Mr Davies does a bit of teaching, and he has his students imagine that they are asked to write a report on what the weather will be like tomorrow. They interview a woman in one room who says it will be sunny. Then they interview a man in another room who says it’s going to rain. Your job, as a journalist, is not to simply write up what you have been told, he says. Your job is to look out the window.
      Writing a “balanced” version of this story would produce an article that reads “he says it will rain” but “she says it won’t”. You have all these quotes fluttering around like “butterflies in a jar”, going nowhere. But there is a bigger danger lurking. What if the man who says it is going to rain is lying? What if he is an umbrella salesman? Your options are to either make a judgment about the truth, or print what you have been told. But if you balance an article when you know that all the evidence points to a sunny day tomorrow, then you are participating in a denial of truth.”

      Sounds straightforward but it takes a certain sense of self to say: ‘This is what it actually is’. And CL was a show that always tried to ”look out the window”.
      My idea of balance will be different from yours, and I’ll differ issue by issue from people I’ll agree with in other respects. Which is why we need pluralism in both MSM and new media, and right now, it’s looking pretty bereft.

    • b waghorn 12.3

      Absolutely bang on , give us the facts and let us make up our own mind is what I want.

      • Ergo Robertina 12.3.1

        Yep, like when Leighton Smith and Mike Hosking state the ”facts” and let YOU make up YOUR mind. Awesome.

        • b waghorn 12.3.1.1

          You’ve lost me sorry I should of started my reply with @ Tracy possible.

        • Tracey 12.3.1.2

          lol

          like when hosking said dirty politics was just nade up by hager.

          on the whole Hosking and smith state their opinion based on fact or myth and frame it so YOU will feel stupid if you dont agree

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    The Campbell Live Twitter account tweeted that it was the show’s most watched episode in its 10-year history.

    Dear NZ, last night's show was our most watched, EVER. 484,000 viewers plus 48,000 on +1 = 532,000. TV3's biggest show of 2015. THANK YOU!— Campbell Live (@CampbellLiveNZ) May 29, 2015

    Rival Seven Sharp on TV ONE received 411,580 viewers

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/68989784/campbell-live-final-episode-most-watched-in-shows-history

  14. venezia 14

    clemgeopin….Count me in the boycott of the TV3 replacement programme. I’ll be doing more reading, more listening to Radio NZ National, or Concert Programme or more DVDs.

    • Chooky 14.1

      +100…me also…and the rest of the family

    • Clemgeopin 14.2

      Good on you! I hope lots more people will take a stand, at least for the 7pm-7:30 pm slot, to give the TV3 management a resounding message.

      I just read this interesting report which seems to show that the Media works management have acted shadily with their false excuses of ratings etc.

      Take a look at this news link:
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11457005

      Their OWN research also showed Campbell Live was watched by more people than Seven Sharp and the Paul Henry Show – results AT ODDS with official rating information that was used to justify an ultimately terminal review of the show.

      In the 25-54 year-old age range, 26 per cent watched Campbell Live at least once or twice a week, compared to Seven Sharp’s 20 per cent and 17 per cent for Paul Henry.

      The decision last week to axe the show, following a controversial six-week review, is understood to have come as a bitter blow to the show’s host and 22 staff, who believed the ratings spike – and continued advertiser and sponsor support – had been enough to save the program.

      The briefing document said Campbell’s crusades should not “go past the point of audience fatigue e.g Pike River”, and steps would be put in place to prevent this happening with the show’s replacement.

      “To facilitate this there will be greater editorial oversight by News leadership,” says the document.

      The replacement show would have a “greater emphasis on entertainment,” as a lead-in to the channels’ entertainment-heavy schedule from 7:30.

      According to their survey, most preferred current affairs presenters were

      John Campbell – 29%
      Mike Hosking – 15%
      Paul Henry – 14%
      Miriama Kamo – 13%
      Toni Street – 13%
      Samantha Hayes – 10%
      Duncan Garner – 2%
      Sonya Wilson – 2%
      Lisa Owen – 2%

      Source: Perceptive Research polling commissioned by MediaWorks in 2014 of viewers in the 25-54 age bracket.

  15. David Bachman 15

    Boycotts are deconstructive, pushing over others’ sandcastles.

    Far better to be a builder, construct a better sandcastle. It’s sexy, attracts the broad support of others.

    I’m boycott weak, if I accidentally clicked onto JABAT and they were hiding prawns under the backseat of Paul Henry’s exoticar, I might stay on TV3 a bit longer than acceptable.

    I could easily support an action plan that involved presenting a fiscally and socially attractive TV show proposal to the Mediaworks programming decision-makers. Personally, I think the reality format that swaps 2 lifestyles for a week could be fascinating to many Kiwis eg: A lad born with a silver spoon attending a leading private Auck school could swap places with a Northland lad and his welfare dependant whanau of 8.

    Mediaworks programs are merely product. Their primary concern, like most businesses, ‘Show me the money’. The right idea for a program could tick all the boxes. Make money, attract a large audience and provide a socially responsible window for all of us to look into. No boycott for me, I want to be a builder, not a wrecker.

    • Clemgeopin 15.1

      It is your right not to boycott. No worries. But I want to boycott and send a powerful message, the only one that they will care to take seriously.

  16. David Bachman 16

    Newspapers, radio stations, TV stations have 2 distinct customer groups. Both are crucial, juggling and balancing the 2 groups is what makes running such a business tricky and the corporate decisions often difficult to understand.

    Yes, Campbell Live’s ratings have risen. Yes, he’s a good bugger, few of his critics had a go at him personally….”Nice guy but…..”

    The question the board-room suits have had to wrestle with is: How many of those watching are buying new Mazdas this year?

    The toffs of Remmers (New car buyers) would love to watch the lad from round the corner chucked into the poor end of the pool. They love that ‘That’ll teach him’ ethos.

    • Clemgeopin 16.1

      The practical protests and boycotts should teach the media works’ BS bosses an excellent lesson that WE the people are the ultimate REAL bosses and that they are not there just for their advertisers, for excessive greed, for government or tax payer bail outs and for their RW political Godfathers and for their share holders , but are ALSO that they are there for the social good of the country, to be also a good media for at least a mere 30 excellent minutes a day, and to display some responsible and courageous probing type of journalism to keep the people and the government honest.

      Let us see if they can survive just with an audience of their own bean counting stupid shareholders, money changers and their callous minded RW self centred valuless shallow supporters.

      I am kind of amused that you seem to imply that the audience for Campbell live is not the type of audience that will buy those ugly Mazdas, but the type that will buy that metal junk is the type that will enjoy watching a lad from round the corner chucked into the poor end of the pool’ ! On dear! Sure, let TV3. 7 pm -7:30 pm slot go for that type of crowd. That won’t be me.

      As an aside,
      Here is a list of tweets on 7 April, when the so called BS progamme review was announced/leaked out;

      http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2015/04/top-tweets-for-savecampbelllive.html

  17. whateva next? 17

    As I said yesterday, “That’s a rap for freedom of speech.”

  18. whateva next? 18

    From Dom Post, Duncan Garner admits:
    “I recall talking with different government ministers who openly disliked John, because he was effective. His coverage of the Christchurch quake, early on, put pressure on the Government to act faster. John Key admitted that to me.”

  19. Rachel Stewart hit the nail on the head when she wrote of centre-right news audiences who didn’t watch Campbell Live (full-stop): “You tend to watch Seven Sharp for your fix of evening current affairs, and you generally despise the poor.”

    But, I think it would be prudent for Rachel Stewart (and many others) to realise that the likes of Hillary Barry need to ‘get a grip’ (for crying while reading the news that John Campbell had resigned). Why? Because as a rule, the 3News newsroom, along with the other anti-competitive cartel-owned major news outlets of New Zealand feign neutrality on crucial issues such as imperialist projects (commonly called war), the continued deployment of ‘the Shock Doctrine’ (aka ‘free market shock therapies’ or economic warfare) and the refusal to broadcast, and publish retractions of the major news stories of the last 100 years (including the real reasons for WWI, as the sentiments in “Top (dissident) tweets about Anzac Day” allude to. See: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2015/04/top-dissident-tweets-about-anzac-day.html; and see also: “Missing in News-action: Confronting ‘Deep State’ Power Crimes” at: http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=1002

    When Hilary Barry and the rest of the 3News newsroom (& other major news outlets) dispense with the ‘once over lightly’ approach to news gathering, and actually express real empathy for real people here and abroad who are bearing the brunt of the psychopaths jostling for control of the world, then maybe such tears might begin to show they really care.

    With these criticisms in mind, I think its important to ask at this juncture, are we to sit on our couches and allow the dystopian PooTube media cartels to continue to dominate real peoples’ view of the world, or do we strategize, organise and mobilise to crowdfund a new newsroom model?

    See: The $4 Million Newsroom: Crowd-funding a new newsroom model that has ‘The Shit’ at: http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=2918

  20. Binders full of women 20

    I am centre right and have never watched 7 sharp and I don,t hate the poor…. So I guess I don,t think it’s an excellent article.

  21. Heyegg 21

    While we are waiting/actively pursuing our own free media, the united States (believe it or not) has a good listener supported current affairs show. http://m.democracynow.org

  22. david 22

    The Campbell Live is yet another good reason why we need a well funded public TV service but I think there is more chance of my cat speaking than that happening under this government.

    I note that TVNZ has also quietly shelved their Heartland programme today. One wonders what the purpose of TVNZ is these days other being a dividend earner for a surplus obsessed government.

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