Toby Manhire says John Campbell’s style is irreplaceable.
When news broke six weeks ago that Campbell Live was on the chopping block the response was genuinely astonishing. This wasn’t just your garden-variety social media outrage – huge numbers of people were properly pissed off, they took it personally.
I felt a bit sorry, even, for MediaWorks bosses, who found themselves copping heaps of flak. Some of it they deserve (and yesterday’s announcement, two minutes before Bill English began reading the Budget, was cynical and unbecoming), but at least as much would have been better hurled at politicians from both major parties who had allowed public service television to become all but extinct.
Oh come on…the media hate politicians doing the Friday dump…and when it suits them they use it themselves.
John Campbell’s mix of acuity, tenacity and integrity is irreplaceable. His work in leading campaigns on school lunches, in disaster relief, and especially in remaining tirelessly focused on Christchurch, when most outside the region had stopped paying much attention, adds up to a formidable legacy.
It is hard to overstate how keenly he’ll be missed by colleagues, too: everyone from those in the mailroom through to senior journalists at TV3 speaks glowingly about Campbell’s willingness to stop and talk, to mentor the next generation of bushy-tailed reporters.