Tuesday, April 16, 2024

JC: Journos Find They Are Not Immune

I have some empathy for the journalists who have lost their jobs, but no more than for a tradie or a staffer in the back office of a government department. Having worked in the media for a lengthy period, I can understand the disappointment and no doubt frustration they are feeling.

When I first started with the NZBC, as it then was in 1965, radio was completely government owned. The good ship Tiri had yet to sail. And we should be grateful that it did. I joined in Hamilton and the station manager was very business savvy. He, or his wife, owned two record stores in the town and he was astute enough to realise the station could enhance his record sales. Hence 1XH was the first station in the country to adopt a top-40 type of music programming with high frequency playing of current hits.

Commercial broadcasting always has been, and still is, a business. Even in the government-owned days, local radio stations were expected to be profitable. Some managers didn’t quite get the hang of the profit motive and acted as if they were simply managing a government department. I think this is what journalists have difficulty getting their heads around today. In the case of TVNZ, I think the affliction might extend to those in the ivory towers of the establishment.

Journalists seem to hold a sentiment that because they are charged with bringing information to the general population through news and current affairs they are somewhat immune and sheltered. No, certainly not working for Newshub, and the same should apply to those at TVNZ. Commercial operations are expected to be profitable entities. The 6pm news hour should be a prime target for advertisers and therefore enhance the ability to maximise revenue.

This brings us to the recently released survey of the lack of trust in the news media and declining audiences. If you listened to the Newshub journalists, you would have got the distinct impression that none of the ‘turning off’ was in any way their fault and we are going to be the poorer for not seeing them each evening.

These people, including those at TVNZ, have not the slightest conception that they are a major part of the problem. They need to dismount from their high horses and realise that when it comes to job security they’re the same as everyone else.

If they cared to study the recent AUT survey, they would see the issue illustrated. People have switched off because of the opinionated left-wing bias being shoved down their throats nightly. What makes it even worse is the poll showed we are interested in the news. Surely that is all the more reason to know who your audience is and present the news in a way that they want. Those who watch the news want the facts minus the biased personal opinions.

Patrick Gower, who definitely has issues now, said staff losing their jobs deserve a lifeline and a deal needs to be secured to save the company. He told Mike Hosking that keyboard warriors (I presume that’s me) can get stuffed and he’s about the 250 people who lost their jobs and the millions of other Kiwis that he believes trust him and his colleagues. But there aren’t millions and, unfortunately for deluded Patrick, this is a harsh realisation of how the business world works.

Mike McRoberts says they have a loyal audience. He omitted the word small. Michael Morrah said Newshub attracts 900,000 viewers a week. Basic maths shows this means only three per cent of Kiwis watch Newshub nightly. Patrick says when things get tough the first to go is advertising. He’s correct to a point. It doesn’t necessarily go completely: it goes to where the advertisers can get the best bang for their buck.

In an email that arrived last week, from NZ on Air, were the ratings for the ten most popular programmes in March. Country Calendar, as it has done for decades, came out on top with 489,200 viewers. Next was Escaping Utopia with 445,800. No other programmes rated above 250,000. Cold Case managed 233,500 and the only other one to get six figures was New Zealand Today, garnering 107,100. That and The Hui with 37,400 were the only two programmes shown on Three in the top 10.

From the news and current affairs stable, only Q+A with Jack Tame rated, reaching 97,000. Nowhere was Newshub Nation, Newshub Live or One News, never mind Te Karere. In 10th spot was a repeat of Country Calendar. It’s no wonder they’re not surviving commercially. No viewers means no advertisers.

Patrick and others, I’m sure, would like the government, NZME, Stuff or anyone to come to their rescue, not to save democracy, as they would have us believe, but their own skins. No: yours is a private business, not subject to government handouts. In referencing the government they are simply highlighting their attitude shown in regards to their predicament – ignorance.

In comes Willie Jackson, a man with all the ideas but none of the answers. He completely embarrassed himself on The AM Show and one felt sympathy for Erica Stanford beside him who had to listen to his bouts of verbose twaddle. How about tapping NZ on Air on the shoulder, says Willie, they’ve got money. YES, IT’S OUR MONEY. Why should we bail out a business we’re not interested in?

The next brain explosion from Willie concerned the Prime Minister: he should tap his rich business mates on the shoulder and put a consortium together. Successful businessmen won’t touch Newshub!

And why are we subsidising a useless outfit like TVNZ. It is a broken model and not just as a commercial operation. It needs to be disestablished and reconfigured into something with viewer appeal and to accommodate programmes like Country Calendar, Fair Go and Sunday. Shift Te Karere to Maori Television for the benefit of the few who watch it. Seven Sharp, with the school ma’am and her offsider should also be on the scrap heap.

While I don’t profess to possess the breathtaking brilliance of Willie Jackson, I think the government should implement a Sky News Australia type channel. People with suitable journalistic skills should be employed, not the current leftie amateurs. At least taxpayers’ money would be better spent than it is currently.

Australia has a population in round figures of 26 million. A survey done in November last year showed 11 million watched Sky News in any given month. Sky is a commercial operation and have a product that is aimed at who their audience is and it is therefore attractive to advertisers. The other important point to note is, as a result, they lean right.

It’s not that difficult. Look around you and see what works. There are successful models out there.

The situation is grave in terms of job losses but any self-respecting journalist should admit it’s a hole they’ve dug for themselves. The proof is in the pudding and they, through their own actions, have inherited their just ‘desserts’.

JC is a right-wing crusader. Reached an age that embodies the dictum only the good die young. This article was first published HERE


Anonymous said...

With regret, it is difficult to think that the current type of MSM journalist will be chastened by events and turn to fair and analytical reporting - as is the objective of their (in principle) honorable profession as the Fourth Estate.

They should see themselves on video - smug, righteous - and above all, totally biased. Who would plead their cause?

They have taken the bribe of bias. This has a price. Even though the source of the bribe has gone on to spectacular ( financial) success out of NZ - and left them in the lurch. Her protection was not eternal.

If National ( not the Coalition) bails them out, Mr Luxon will face a personal credibility problem.

Tinman said...

" I think the government should implement a Sky News Australia type channel:

NO! They should NOT!

Other than tax relief the Government should do nothing except create the conditions that would allow the market to do what it can and get a profit from that.

"any self-respecting journalist" a mythical creature created by media parasites - doesn't exist except in fiction.