Cunliffe on the mess The Spinoff and the Herald have made of the Hilary Barry story

Media commentator Regan Cunliffe blogs about the Hilary Barry story:

When Hilary Barry’s resignation was made public late on Friday, the inevitable snow job on Mediaworks was fast and fierce.  The rumours ran rife, the most common of which was that Barry would be heading to TVNZ’s Breakfast program, a poaching that happened because apparently, TV3’s alternative was having an impact.

The amount of mourning that has happened by people who apparently either hate Mediaworks, or are supposed to be boycotting the network is hysterical.

Leading the charge on the Mediaworks attack has been its major competitor, The New Zealand Herald.  Considering they publish more fiction than John Grisham, I’m reluctant to believe anything they write.  But let’s assume for a moment that they are right and that Hilary Barry has been poached.

When the three retardos, John Drinnan, Matt Nippert and David ‘Tainted’ Fisher, are all piling in you know you are looking at a manufactured hit job.  

Who is the real star of The Paul Henry Show?

It certainly isn’t Hilary Barry.  Sure she might have contributed to the banter but how replaceable is she when she’s just the sidekick?

Does TVNZ really see value in someone who has spent the prime of her career producing unflattering ratings?  Does TVNZ not have their own talent pool to promote from?  Do they honestly believe that by removing a highly paid employee they’re going to impact their bottom line?  I’m pretty sure TVNZ are still laughing at Prime poaching Paul Holmes.

Besides, how many people will be happily waiting for their opportunity for a promotion at Mediaworks?  Especially for the 6pm news bulletin?  Hello Samantha Hayes…?

That is the thing; all these supposed stars have failed to deliver up ratings for Mediaworks. Ratings and audience are what sell advertising…they failed to deliver.

Is Hilary Barry really the “Mother of the Nation”?

In the 23 years since Hilary Barry began working at TV3, Mediaworks have completely failed to convert those in their target demographic of 25-54 year olds to being long-term, loyal viewers.  Those who were in their thirties and forties when Barry started are now in the 55+ demo.  In more than two decades, Mediaworks haven’t come close to closing the gap with TVNZ in the 5+ demo which is made up of a not so insignificant percentage.

The ratings for TV3’s news offerings have been truly awful with Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts at the helm.  With Barry abandoning ship, where to now for McRoberts?

On a side note, I am completely amazed at how long Mark Jennings managed to keep his job as Head of News at TV3.

I’ve never worked in any job for longer than 11 years, and that 11 years is in my current job as editor of Whaleoil. I can’t comprehend someone working for 23 years in one job. It is the stuff of history in manual labour type jobs or job-for-life mentality.

Are Mediaworks that Stupid?

If TVNZ have poached Hilary Barry, can someone please explain to me why she was fronting the news bulletin again tonight and isn’t on gardening leave?  This would be fairly unprecedented wouldn’t it?  Your major competitor has supposedly just bought the loyalty of one of your employees and you want to allow them to maintain access to the building?

My policy has always been to show people to the door and ease them out with my boot if they were going to a competitor. A little bit like the proverbial stray cat that is eating your dog’s food.

Apparently the staff are going to revolt now

The New Zealand Herald’s Duncan Grieve, who doesn’t seem to have any desire to salvage his reputation, appears to have learnt nothing from being threatened with legal action after falsely reporting that Julie Christie had resigned from Mediaworks while bringing his former sponsor, Media Agency MBM, into disrepute in the process. This time around, Lightbox are sponsoring NZME’s their coverage attack of Mediaworks.

The click bait merchants would have us believe that we’re about to see “mass resignations across TV and Radio, not just news” now that the Mediaworks board has announced their full support of CEO Mark Weldon.

If it’s true, Weldon must be hoping that they follow through with their veiled threats so he can be rid of them once and for all and get on with rebuilding the Mediaworks brand.

Duncan Grieve is fast developing a reputation for being more wrong that Martyn Bradbury and interviewing his keyboard more assiduously than John Drinnan. That takes some doing.

Why are we even talking about this?

With respect, Hilary Barry is little more than a glorified reader of the teleprompter.  Newspapers, radio stations, and websites have dedicated huge amounts of resources to cover a story that really just isn’t news.  Mainly, it’s just another excuse to give Mediaworks a bit of a self-interested kick in the groin.

Precisely what I said on the weekend. She is a NEWSREADER…get over yourselves.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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