When the news reader is the news

It’s not unusual for news readers and television presenters and especially political reporters/repeaters to appear to think their profile and influence are at least as significant as the news they share.

I think Hilary Barry was an exception, she was generally a professional, pleasant, unobtrusive news anchor. That’s before she joined Paul Henry anyway.

But the rest of New Zealand’s media has put her at the top of the news for several days now – they seem to like promoting stories about their own (with some notable exceptions where they bury awkward inside-media information).

Her resignation from MediaWorks is an NZ Herald headline today (the Herald and NZME are competitors of MediaWorks).

Source: Why Hilary really left TV3

Popular presenter’s departure from network follows string of exits of long-serving and respected colleagues.

The shock departure of TV3 star Hilary Barry is down to “the Axe-Factor” rather than lucrative offers of work elsewhere, a trusted associate says.

The camaraderie and esprit de corps of the channel’s news team kept Barry in place when she could have gone elsewhere, the source revealed.

Her departure after 23 years follows the loss of some of the channel’s longest-serving staff – and the associate says many of the reasons for Barry’s long-time loyalty have already left the broadcaster. “She has watched as key journalists, presenters and teams of people she respected and admired [have been] axed, pushed or resigned because their jobs had become untenable.”

This isn’t even news, it’s been talked about online since Barry’s resignation announcement on Friday. But David Fisher provides some more details. And he lists the notable losses from MediaWorks over the past few months.

The “Axe Factor”

  • Hilary Barry, news anchor
  • John Campbell, Campbell Live
  • Carolyn Robinson, news reader
  • Hamish McKay, sports presenter
  • Mark Jennings, head of news
  • Terrence Taylor, current affairs editor
  • John Hale, 6pm news producer
  • Pip Keane, Campbell Live producer
  • Paula Penfold, 3D journalist
  • Melanie Reid, 3D journalist

That’s a fairly damning list. CEO Mark Weldon is either doing what was required of him, or his position must be under considerable pressure.

Meanwhile Barry has to work out her notice on the Paul Henry Show. She looked quite tired and things seemed a bit tense when they went on air at 6 am.

HilaryBarryonHenry

In other news…a bit of sport from the weekend and a few bits and bobs carried over from last week.

Oh, and NZ Herald filed their story about the news reader under  ‘Entertainment’. That probably says more about the status of news in the media these days than details of Barry’s resignation.

38 Comments

  1. Hall

     /  2nd May 2016

    I can tell you that some of those sacked journalist are taking media works to court over contracts. Mark Weldon is an unpopular man and now he has many enemies in rival media outlets, not a good thing considering how close he is to John Key.

    On Hilary, I never thought she was anything special just another news reader reading off the teleprompter, an expensive one who didn’t add anything to the henry show. The problem with that is you can easily be replaced with someone younger and more attractive.

    • Klik Bate

       /  2nd May 2016

      Exactly right Hall. Watch for Samantha Hayes to fill Hilary’s slot.

      • She’s a pleasant enough newsreader I guess, but new “mother the nation”! I watch TV3 news so rarely I can hardly have an opinion and I never watch Mornigng TV – ever! I fail to understand why where she goes is considered front page news. When I listen to the media gushing all over itself and spitting, indignant left wing commentary about presenters I think I”m on another planet. TV3 is private company. It’s continued presence or otherwise, it’s programming, governance or otherwise is of interest to me only in that IF it is the recipient of any public funds, then it had better use them in a manner that entertains the greater number of viewers. The days of anyone’s political or social agenda being foisted on us – left or right are over. TV can provide the programming it chooses and viewers choose to watch or oherwise.

        If I want to be informed, I’ll access information in my own time, on my own terms, at my own expense and pleasure and in a format I prefer. Most here get all our news from the internet and watching a prescriptive evening news is both an anachronism and a choice. The MSM’s social construct around their chosen field and it’s influence is increasingly out of sync with reality.

        • Gezza

           /  2nd May 2016

          …you can easily be replaced with someone younger and more attractive.
          True. Happened to me.

  2. Radio NZ: Newsreader leaves job, stuns media

    Hilary Barry’s decision to quit Mediaworks and TV3 has made headlines – lots of them. It was unexpected news about a much admired broadcaster, but is it a big deal?

    …The focus on trivia isn’t her fault of course. Her ability to be both professional and engaging is what sets her apart.

    But for all we know, the merging of entertainment and news these days could be a reason she wanted to leave Mediaworks, as well as the company’s news-hostile management moves or anything on offer from another broadcaster.

    • Gezza

       /  2nd May 2016

      Half the nation is probably going to be interrogating their smartphones every hour to see where she’s going to pop up next once they actually hand her the flowers and show her Paul Henry Show highlights.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd May 2016

        Oh yes-I will go and buy a smartphone tomorrow just for that.

        • Gezza

           /  2nd May 2016

          If you find a really good deal can you let me know who with? And the best apps?

  3. David Farrier has been very critical of MediaWorks since he left. On the Barry resignation:

    • Talking of T-Rex. I’d widen the analogy to dinosaurs in general. Anyone or any organisation who fails to grasp that days the MSM could invade citizen’s letterboxes and airwaves – on their terms, without question is best out of the game. They’re nearly all agenda driven and so patch protecting that they’re well worthy of the newly coined title “The Media Party”. Thing is, Farriers of the world, we don’t hold you in any particular esteem and we don’t much care what happens to TV3. Our world is all drive thru now. I might have a Big Mac combo with cheese today, but as I’m on a diet tomorrow if you’re not offering me the lo-cal or Paleo burger, I’ll go elsewhere. As for who serves me? Couldn’t care less as long as I get what I want.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  2nd May 2016

      PG I think DF is being very clever and is not criticising mediaworks at all here, in fact just the opposite. I read it several times and to be honest I think this is a piss take. KC could enlighten but in rhetoric this is a technique called ‘litotes’. My missus does it to me all the time with some savage emphasis thrown in

  4. duperez

     /  2nd May 2016

    The phenomenon of “reporters/repeaters appearing to think their profile and influence are at least as significant as the news they share” is not new. The Herald filing their story about the news reader under ‘Entertainment’ is interesting.

    Another thing which encapsulates the landscape of the evolution/revolution of news and its presentation, the perceptions of that, (and maybe the perceptions that some want us to have) is the Herald headline – “TV3 star Barry quits.”

    (Hilary Barry is undoubtedly very capable in her job.)

    • Brown

       /  2nd May 2016

      Yep, reading aloud.

      • Gezza

         /  2nd May 2016

        Former TV3 presenter David Farrier called her “uniquely unhateable” in an emotional tribute for stuff.co.nz.

        They obviously haven’t spoken to Corky.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd May 2016

          As I said before, news reading is not as easy as it looks, even on the radio !

  5. MaureenW

     /  2nd May 2016

    Do people still watch mainstream television news. I occasionally switch it on, but usually have my back to it, preferring to access “news content” that interests me. I can’t think of one newsreader on TV1 or TV3 that would change my news access habits. I have observed though, that Simon looks like he’s never gotten off his chair and has just aged, sitting in the same spot.

    • Gezza

       /  2nd May 2016

      Funny you should say that about Simon – they have a new “thing” now where they cut to one of the anchors, including him sometimes with a full body shot of them standing to give a 1.32 minute full backgrounder on special items. At least he’s stopped using the Just For Men Brown/Black.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd May 2016

        Is that the Simon who was going to leave One if they went ahead and cut his salary in. when was it now ? The 90s ?

        • Gezza

           /  2nd May 2016

          I don’t know. That’s the second time you’ve mentioned that. Where did he say this?

  6. Grump

     /  2nd May 2016

    They’re all a bunch of sanctimonious wankers. This is deliberate sabotage of Mediaworks for Weldon needs to get the axe out further.
    Story and Paul Henry’s show are now regarded as successes in terms of ratings and objectives met.
    Remember when both were meant to signal the end of TV3?

    • You serious about Story??? Who watches it? I’ve not seen the Stats compared to Seven Sharp

      • MaureenW

         /  2nd May 2016

        Seven Sharp and Story, both a waste of time. I don’t even understand what demographic they’re meant to attract. Just fluff pieces of silly nonsense

        • Brown

           /  2nd May 2016

          Yep, floss to be flushed.

        • Gezza

           /  2nd May 2016

          I barely watch the news – just have it on in the background in case anything earth shattering or remotely interesting might come on. If I find I’ve got absorbed in something else and 7-Sharp or Story come on it shocks me out of my reverie and I rush for the remote to switch whichever it is off! I wonder the same thing – who’s their audience and how do they know?

        • MaureenW

           /  2nd May 2016

          Reasonably seasoned Broadcasters (in Garner and Hosking) presenting Woman’s Weekly style magazine items – what is that about?

          • Gezza

             /  2nd May 2016

            LCD. Lowest common denominator I guess Maureen.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd May 2016

              I watch the news-sort of-but very seldom Story, which seems to me to be a self-indulgent vehicle for the presenters.

              Can anyonr remember when almost anyone who appeared on television became a ‘star’ ? I have, so I must be one 😀

            • Gezza

               /  2nd May 2016

              ➡ ⭐

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd May 2016

              Alas, star has become meaningless. The new ‘Catcasserole’ ad stars Fluffo and Tabbycat.

            • Gezza

               /  2nd May 2016

              Pete can you delete the star from my post. Kitty doesn’t want it. Leave the arrow please. Cheers G

    • Hall

       /  2nd May 2016

      Personally I cringe when watching Henry, story, and seven sharp. The desperation for attention, the awkward moments when they try to be funny, it’s so unnatural.

      • MaureenW

         /  2nd May 2016

        Perhaps the current affairs media market has changed with internet access available to whatever rings your bell.
        I can watch Al-Jazeera for half an hour or so quite happily, but the rest of the local media “news” shows leave me cold. Those formats might have been ok 10 years ago, but they’re just tired and out-dated now. TV1’s Breakfast (while I haven’t watched it for probably 6 years) on the occasion when the TV has been on and I’ve seen a flash of it, it looks exactly the same as it was all those years ago. Can’t imagine who’d watch it, or who’d advertise on it (I guess someone must otherwise they wouldn’t still be on).

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd May 2016

          It’s not still on ? Are you serious ? Who watches television at that hour ? Oh, never mind, I know someone who has it on all day, every day and would watch the old test pattern if there was nothing else. I was brought up to think that it was bad manners to have it on when someone came to the house-unless it was some really important story-the Rainbow Warrior, or something like that.

          I last watched Breakfast when someone I knew was being interviewed, and wasn’t surprised when Paul Henry began sneering at her and whatever they were talking about as soon as she was off the air-very bad manners, as she had done nothing to deserve this. What discourtesy.

          • MaureenW

             /  2nd May 2016

            Not the moustache lady? No, she did nothing to deserve the discourtesy other than appear on television with a moustache. He only said what people were already thinking. While it may have been a medical misadventure, it’s really no different to someone turning up to a job interview with visible Tatts and expecting no one to notice. I take the view tat those on the side of insisting people don’t notice aberrations are just as bad as those that do.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd May 2016

    The TV news now consists almost entirely of trivia and pictures of stuff that was on the internet a day or two ago. If it is on I am almost always doing something else and mostly it isn’t. Haven’t watched Sharp or Story for months. I’m not sure who their audience is now but it isn’t me.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd May 2016

      Or me. I watched the one with the Tesla-I knew that it was coming, so left it on after the news.But otherwise…I’m not that hard up for something to do.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd May 2016

        SOMEBODY must be watching them-but WHO ? It’s not as if television addicts had only three channels to choose from now, so had to have their fix provided by one of the three. If my set dies, I may well not replace it as I watch so little.

        • Gezza

           /  2nd May 2016

          I’ve been trying to figure out how they establish who watches what but I’ve given up.