November 12, 2004

Silent Letters

MediaCow writes...

Nobody in telly-land was hugely surprised when TVNZ revealed it was canning teenage news show Flipside. It was expensive programming that rated poorly. NZ On Air funding wasn't available because it counted as "news".

But the interesting thing about TVNZ's decision was that Flipside was pure Charter. Most yoof aren't gonna watch a news show no matter how it's packaged. The remaining teens who do want some current events after school aren't catered for by anybody else. Sure, the audience was small - but providing a service for "smaller audiences" and "extending the range of ideas and experiences available to New Zealanders" was what Chartervision was supposed to deliver.

I'm not a fan of the Charter. But I find it strange that pro-Charter politicians haven't at least drafted media statements mourning the loss of the show, or asking what message this sends loyal TVNZ staffers who are toiling away to implement the Charter.

Wow. We did that without once mentioning Flipside Hotties.

One MP not afraid of a challenge is Tariana Turia,
outraged on behalf of Donna Awatere Huata that Awatere Huata's plan for a face-lift and tummy tuck was released by the private hospital that performed a stomach stapling on her. "It gives me little confidence in our health system if patient confidentiality can count for nothing," she said. The information was included in an evidential statement from the surgeon, which was then presumably released by Auckland District Court to Dominion Post reporter Deborah Diaz. It was a good scoop, and it was a little interesting that so much ostensibly private doctor-patient information was made public... but because this was delivered through an evidential statement, it doesn't seem Turia has anything to go on, does it? You'd think, if Turia was right, that the Herald would use a media law expert or medical ethics person to back her up.

(In the interests of full disclosure: an author of Dog Biting Men, David W Young, was loyal press secretary to Donna Awatere Huata for around three years. This period included the time she received surgery and lasted until her formal suspension from Act.)

According to people who should know, The Listener's Page 94 man Steve Braunias has been snapped up at the last minute by the Sunday Star Times, after the Herald thought his hiring was a done deal. How very cut-throat the world of arty literati types must be.

And thanks to fascinating emails received, MediaCow has a few more questions about the Hannah Hodson shift from TVNZ to TV3.

Emailed answers would be lovely.

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