Ralston & Wilson on ‘NZ on Media’

Bill Ralston and/or Janet Wilson (not sure which one of them authored it) blogs:

Over on Kiwiblog Dave Farrar reports on an interesting idea from the redoubtable Herald columnist Fran O’Sullivan who talked at a recent Rural Women NZ conference about expanding NZ On Air funding to cover all media, not just broadcasting.

Fran has a good point. Why should what is effectively a government subsidy to ensure there will remain a New Zealand voice in the media be reserved solely for radio and television?

She argues that NZ On Air (or NZ On Media) funding should be made available to worthy local content whether it is broadcast, in print or on the internet. …

Currently NZOA funding is contestable, both public and private broadcasters can dip into it. What’s wrong with private sector publishers and bloggers having access to it also?

Back in the day, when Maurice Williamson was broadcasting minister, the whole idea of contestable NZOA funding was that it was needed for all broadcasters to provide NZ content because otherwise commercial pressure on the channels would mean cheaper imported foreign product would overwhelm locally produced material.

This effect is now being felt not just in broadcasting but all media. So, open up the fund!

Yep. NZ on Air used to be funded by the TV license fee. But ow it is funded out of general taxation, the rationale for broadcast only is weakened.

Frankly, it will eventually have to happen because of media convergence anyway.

Once that wonderful high speed broadband to the home rolls out and the broadcasters start pumping more TV programmes and video into your computer, what’s the difference between a TV channel and, say, a newspaper site like nzherald.co.nz or stuff.co.nz that screens news videos?

And the newspaper sites are putting up considerable video content.

If anyone doubts internet sites lack journalistic nous and quality check on interest.co.nz and Bernard Hickey’s recent great yarn about how this country’s biggest privately owned dairying operation (they own 22 farms) is allowing dozens of calves to starve to death on one of it’s farms in the central North Island.

Hickey’s story comes complete with a whistleblower, graphic video footage and a MAF investigation that oddly seems to have come to nothing in terms of the animals’ welfare. …

Hickey produced a scoop that was eagerly followed by TV ONE’s Close up and RNZ National’s Morning Report, the NZ Herald and others.

Perhaps the most interesting part is that Bernard Hickey has long been regarded with suspicion and resentment by some in the mainstream media, who curl their upper lip at what they see as his self-promotion and entrepreneurial approach to the news business.

Oh Bernard is a media whore of such excellence, he is the Princess Diana of media whores, and everyone else is at the Jade Goody level. Bernard appears on Tv several times a week, and never fails to get the magic words “interest.co.nz” into his dialogue at least twice. I swear he will have the domain name on the coffin at his funeral 🙂

Unlike some though, I don’t see this as a bad thing. I think it is great Bernard has abandoned safe employment within the traditional media, to work online only and turn it into a commercial success. He is in this to make money, and good on him for making sure he consistently gets the brand across. And it has allowed him to do investigations such as the Crafer one, which has been hugely beneficial.

I find it highly amusing that that avowed right wing capitalist has fully exposed the practices of NZ’s biggest farmer, rather than the environmental left movement. Not totally surpised, as people on the right can be very harsh on those who “let the side down”. That is one reason I hate “scummy employers” who are exploitative. They are the reason we get all these rules and regulations on the other 98% of employers.

This is the kind of investigative story that would merit NZ On Media funding.

A good example.

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