Bob Jones


Unmitigated tosh was talked by diverse commentators, mostly with a personal employment interest in the matter, with advice that TV3 is to close its spasmodic news service, plus the ending of some TVNZ shows such as “Fair Go”. The death of democracy was the ridiculous common theme.

The cold hard fact is these closures originated from a single cause, namely the commercially inadequate, steadily decreasing audience they were attracting. For example, I’m a life-long news hog to a degree unmatched by anyone I’m aware of and I never watched these shows.

Much of the attention focused on newsreaders, their jobs being about as simple as any known to mankind. A stop-go sign holder at roadworks literally has more intellectual demands placed on him or her than someone robotically reading the lines from a screen. This celebrity treatment of newsreaders reading off a screen reached its most embarrassing point last century when the likes of women’s magazine branded TV One’s then screen reader Judy Bailey as “the Mother of the Nation”.

While it’s good to have different opinion outlets re the news, the indisputable fact is that television with its time restraints can never match print in analysis, thus the danger exists of a sensationalist approach.

Television as a news source to some degree equates with comic strips, that is providing a pictorial element to a story.

For example, a few days ago I read in The Guardian that the flooding in Kazakhstan occupied an area as big as Europe and that parts of western Russia were similarly hit. Subsequently Al Jazeera showed the latter, namely the usual scenes we’re well familiar with, from any flood anywhere.

Again, the disgusting genocide in Gaza has been dramatically brought home, particularly by Al Jazeera, and so it goes.

The one advantage television news has to print, and it’s a huge one, is its immediacy being up to date by the minute, but that doesn’t apply to the twice daily TV3 news service or TVNZ shows such as “Fair Go”.

For example, if say the British Prime minister was assassinated, radio and television will inform us instantly whereas depending on the time of day it occurs, it might take a newspaper 24 hours to report it. But that only applies to continuous 24 hours daily news services such as Al Jazeera, the BBC, Sky and CNN which is why each morning when I wake, I tune in to see what’s happened.

These channels always lead with an introduction of their forthcoming main stories and occasionally they reflect nothing significantly news-worthy to report whereupon I turn them off and pick up the book I’m currently reading while awaiting fulfilment of my natural human right of breakfast in bed.

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Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion...