Sledge of the Day – Mark Jennings

Janet Wilson has had her annual whinge about all the “tits and teeth” on television.

In her blog Adjust Your Set, former reporter Janet Wilson gives rival stations and her old bosses TVNZ and TV3 a serve, saying they are guilty of hiring pretty, young females for their looks and not their news-sense.

“They’re not there because they can do the job better than anyone else; sniff a story out at ten paces or craft a yarn that makes us think,” said Wilson.

“They’re there because they simply LOOK good. Try contrasting that with female reporters in the American networks who aren’t considered up-to-speed journalistically until they’re approaching middle-age.”

Just one TVNZ reporter, Christchurch-based Charlotte Bellis, who was schooled in journalism in the United States, escapes Wilson’s tirade.

Bellis, Wilson says, “seems to have got off her chuff and stopped the tits-and-teeth smirking and got out there and told me something I hadn’t heard before … after all, it is news.”

“The rest belong to that inglorious group, the Pick Me Tribe. These are the prancers who endlessly pick up stories from the front page of that day’s Herald and simperingly regurgitate it on camera.”

She also cut loose at TV3.

TV3 fared little better and in Wilson’s blog she mentions how it was suggested to highly experienced senior current affairs journalist Melanie Reid that she should consider a behind-the-scenes role as she might be a little “old” to be on camera.

She said things were “even worse” on the show she used to front, Nightline.

“The 20th anniversary show highlighted a trail of bland female presenters, (oh, and one uptight Old Trout, me) who looked fabulous but whose journalism for the most part (notable exception, incumbent Rachel Smalley) was entirely forgettable.”

Cue Mark Jennings and his sledge of the day.

But Mark Jennings, TV3’s director of news, said his hiring policy had not changed in his 16 years on the job.

He said TV3 had just one blonde reporter in its Auckland newsroom, “And Simon Shepherd is a very competent journalist”.

“Nobody has ever got a job here because they are either good looking or blonde,” said Mr Jennings.

“Journalism comes first, second and third … looks and hair colour are not even considered.”

Mr Jennings said Wilson’s comments must have been aimed at One News.

“After all, she is an ‘attractive blonde’ but it didn’t enter my thinking when I made her our Nightline presenter many years ago … her reporting and presenting skills got her that job.”



– NZ Herald


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  • taurangaruru

    “Journalism comes first, second and third” – based on that statement Mr Jennings how do you justify John Campbell’s continued employment?

    • Reid

      And how come if that’s the case the audience never sees any of it.

      Newsflash to Mark: breathless shallow sensationalist repeating isn’t journalism.

    • All_on_Red

      Possibly because Jennings definition of “journalism” agrees with Campbell’s definition. Activism first and objective balanced reporting of the facts … nowhere.

      • sheppy

        Depends whether your definition of Journalism includes following a leftist agenda and attacking the government where ever possible

  • Catriona

    Janet Wilson hit the nail on the head.

  • conwaycaptain

    Yes the Blonde Bimbos and Bimbettes.

  • Carl

    “Notable exception Rachel Smalley”. Whoever wrote that needs some help.

    • ozbob68

      Perhaps she was being ironic?

  • OneTrack

    Bellis is good, as is Prime News generally.

  • happychappy

    If journalism comes first,second and third there is three reasons he should of not hired Liza Owen as she is rude, talks over people and not very professional on The Nation, or when trying to get David Cunliffe to answer why he should not resign on Election night.

  • Bluemanning

    IMO equal rights and all that, some of the male tv presenters paticularly that TV3 churnalist guy has a good face for radio. :-)

  • Effluent

    The Paul Henry show was consistently good for a non-PC version of the day’s news, and I always got the impression that the two female presenters, (Janika Ter Ellen and Rachel Wright) were cast in a different mould from the general run of young women on NZ TV. I don’t recall either of them ever presenting an item with the the sort of snide, left leaning bias that is common on both TV1 and TV3 six o’clock news programmes.

    It remains to be seen how long PH will survive as a breakfast host, because he does have an unfortunate habit of mocking the afflicted and professional victims of all sorts, who consider themselves entitled to exemption from criticism of any kind.

    He will no doubt make a remark sooner or later which will put him at the centre of an explosion of synthetic outrage. He is really pretty good at pricking the bubbles of the left, and would do well to stick to this, rather than baiting the thin skinned offenderati, of whom there is an unlimited number.
    edit- spelling

    • Catriona

      Sometimes I don’t think it’s a good idea to go back and try the format albeit on a different channel. We were in Australia when Paul Henry was on the Breakfast show there. He was completely insignificant, none of the other presenters wanted to engage with him so he was left gasping for air, so to speak, to try and get a word in edge ways. I said to my husband at the time, well, he wont’ last on this show will he’ and I was right. I won’t be watching the sow on TV3 – been there done that before with him and I hardly ever watch his show at night.

    • Alright

      Effluent: these two words in your post above “synthetic outrage” make you wordsmith of 2015. Brilliant!

      • Effluent

        Thanks very much, but I am not sure that I can claim credit for this expression. It may be that I have heard it somewhere and squirreled it away for the right occasion.
        Anyway, it’s a good, concise description of the behaviour of the left whenever anyone says something they don’t like, and particularly if the remark exhibits any disrespect for one of their sacred cows.

        • Alright

          You are right on the money. And very honest. But I suspect you introduced those two words (“synthetic outrage”) here. I’ll use them both for at least the next 364 days.

  • TSD

    Is Katie Bradford really there because of her good looks? I guess it’s not because of her clear pronunciation either though, so it must be politics not looks.

    • Effluent

      Maybe she’s employed to retain the ageing teletubbie audience – incomprehensible babbling, toddler-like jiggling and giggling, primary coloured shapeless clothing, corpulent build, ……..

    • terrynaki

      Probably her inside knowledge of labour leaders.

  • coltheman

    I Believe Jennings when he says they don’t employ on looks.. Just take one look at Paddy Gower.

  • TSD

    By the way Wilson. We don’t want a yarn that you crafted, that you think is important and that has your ideas wrapped into it. We want the actual facts, just the facts and really the actual backed up researched and verified facts as much as that is possible.

    Wilson is a journalist, she should remember what that means. It is NOT a creative writing class. She is NOT more important then the reports she SHOULD be compiling instead of finding facts to further her ideals.

    • 1951

      I get the Janets mixed up ie: Janet Mac/Janet Wilson. If this is the same Janet that does ZB’s Saturday morning media watch with Jack Tame, I’m with you. This Janet is ruled by the green-eyed monster with-in. It seems an acceptable thing in the literary world to allow your jealousies to rule your thinking. Not a very nice bunch of people really.

  • onelaw4all

    “The 20th anniversary show highlighted a trail of bland female presenters, (oh, and one uptight Old Trout, me) who looked fabulous but whose journalism for the most part (notable exception, incumbent Rachel Smalley) was entirely forgettable.”

    Credibility instantly evaporates at that instant.

  • Effluent

    I think she is generally right, as there aren’t many male journalists on TV who could be accused of being good looking – take Patrick Gower, for example, who has a face that only his mother could love, on account of its striking resemblance to the upper half of a dog’s rear end, or John Campbell, who just looks like an extra from Planet of the Apes.

    Who is Janet Wislon?

  • ozbob68

    They had this discussion on the BBC a few years ago, they called it the “Auto-cuties” syndrome. Personally I can recognise and name all the female BBC News presenters, couldn’t tell you who is in Atomic Kitten or the Pussycat Dolls.

    The thing I did notice about British TV presenters is that the male lead didn’t feel the needs to say provocative things to get the female to react and disagree (I am weary of Hosking having a go at “Streety” every night, Paul Henry is a little better but not much).

  • Punter

    I think she has a soft spot for those who are not endowed with ‘good looks’ remember she married the man they call ‘Ugly Bill Ralston’

  • Ben

    I am actually inclined to agree with her especially regarding TV1 and most of these females have voices that sound like chalk scraping a blackboard.

    • pisces8284 .

      There is a reporter on Breakfast (her name escapes me) she is probably extremely competent but her voice just drives me insane. It is so grating and harsh that I have to use the mute button when she is on. You would think that ones with unsuitable voices would be weeded out during their training, it is far more important to the viewer than whether they are pretty or not

  • Murray Smith

    The blondies are a great way to recruit young males to watch the lies.

  • Mrs Ralston knew what she was doing. Lifting Rachel Smalley as they only blonde that isn’t a bimbo is a clear sign it was written with her tongue firmly stuck in her cheek.

    That said, I believe Whaleloil is a zero-blonde news organisation.

    On a more serious note, is Janet confusing newsos with people reading the news and fronting breakfast programs?

  • Michael_l_c

    The msm will read the blog and those few mentioned positively will be sooo grateful. They will use the blog to confirm how wonderful and right they are.
    Problem, the blog is written by one person, how many readers? They will ignore, the comments here of, the most important people in the world, the customers. They will continue reinforcing to each other that they are wonderful and right.

    These emperors need some new clothes or at least some mud from getting down and dirty.

  • Picturebook

    The articles dated 2010…