November 10, 2004

Back to Basics

MediaCow writes...

It's time for some good old media watching.

From the 'Where's the Outrage' file... hasn't TV3's Hannah Hodson gotten off incredibly lightly over the Asher saga? Here's what we know: Another TV3 reporter was given a copy of the log of Iraena Asher's 111 call by a "trusted" police source. Ex-TV3 employee and current police spokesman Jayson Rhodes rang different TV3 journalists, asking for the source of the leak. He was understandably told to "rack off". Then Hodson gave him the log. A fax number on the document allowed police to track down the source of the leak. One assumes that Hodson had noticed the fax number. Which means that she deliberately gave away a colleague's source.

TV3 news boss Mark Jennings immediately asked Hodson for her resignation, which makes sense. But within hours, TVNZ news boss Bill Ralston gave her a vote of confidence by hiring her for Close Up at 7. This makes less sense. Ralston's justification? "I'm sorry for the source but it was not a mistake made at TVNZ, it was made at (TV)3." Bizarre. TV3
may foot the legal bills of the source.

Contrast Hodson's treatment with that of Renee Kiriona. Kiriona was a green print journalist who
made a silly mistake - plagiarising in what she thought was an early draft - and got blasted in every publication in the country. Hannah Hodson is an able and experienced broadcast journalist who put a colleague's source in danger of losing her job. Hodson gets a new job. The number of print stories about her actions? Just three.

Another 'Why is everything so quiet?' story from abroad... It seems weird the UK hasn't seen an anti-tabloid backlash this week. On Sunday the Sunday Mirror revealed a 21-year-old television soap star had
sold fake stories about his supposedly virulently heterosexual sex life. These 'fake' stories had appeared in rival The Sun, and the Mirror didn't hold back in gloating. Its article strongly implied the actor was really gay.

After opening his newspaper on Sunday, the actor took an overdose of paracetomol and then slashed his wrists. His suicide attempt was unsuccessful, but
made the newspapers. Now The Sun is publishing daily updates on Parker's condition, while the Mirror has gone completely quiet. I'm just surprised the rest of the media aren't seizing the opportunity to engage in moral outrage about the Mirror going too far.

In one of those titbits that we know you love... Page 94 of the Listener is due for a makeover soon, as is the books section of the New Zealand Herald. Subtract 1 from Wellington, carry the 1 to Auckland.

And finally, isn't it tempting to make fun of the profile and startlingly large photograph of self-styled social commentator Russell Brown in this week's Listener? We won't, because it would just reveal how jealous we are: We're not yet old enough to grow chin hair like that.

That's enough for today.

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