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Media Watch takes on crappy local TV News

By johnboy - 1 June 2010 18

Thanks to all of you who’ve been in touch to point out that last night Media Watch went to town on Ten and Prime’s pathetic excuses for the regional news they’re required to provide under their broadcasting licences.

Being part of the ABC’s taxpayer funded crusade to be the One True Media there is no mention of any news services providing timely coverage of events except the ABC (WIN, 2CC, dare I say it RiotACT could all have been used).

But aside from that it’s a good picking apart of the two broadcasters failure to meet their obligations.

Old news, it is worth noting, rarely upsets potential advertisers.

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Media Watch takes on crappy local TV News
geetee 6:27 am 02 Jun 10

benett said :

I would like to say that the ABC’s 7pm Canberra broadcast is seemingly a complete copy of the news items made in Sydney. There may be 1-3 token news items for Canberra, then the weather. Not entirely impressed with ABC’s efforts in this regard.

Well the ABC has to fit 30 minutes of world, national and local news in its nightly service, while WIN has 60 minutes for Nine National News plus the ‘must see’ local news:

– Cat stuck up tree in Belco
– Cracked paving in Kingston
– Bus late in Tuggeranong
– Zed Seselja puts out media release
– Raiders player seen at All Bar Nun

I think I’d rather see 30 minutes of (ad-free) international, national and local stories rather than waste an hour of my life watching (ad-full) WIN’s news offering.

Gungahlin Al 5:33 am 02 Jun 10

moneypenny2612 said :

Strangely I had always been under the impression that SC10 was the first commercial TV station in Canberra, yet it seems WIN – as in Wollongong Illawarra NSW – has been regarded as ‘the incumbent’ when it comes to local news in the ACT… Perhaps it’s really because Southern Cross is second rate.

the original was CTC7. Bring back Roger Climson I say!

moneypenny2612 10:19 pm 01 Jun 10

So, out of curiosity, did WIN News provide up to date and informative coverage of the siege the day it happened? (I ask cos I don’t know)

For those who are interested, the local news rules are rather ancient and have been pretty ineffective for a long time. The media regulator’s approach focuses on quantity not quality. Plus they don’t like imposing new cost burdens on industry (they are a bit captured it seems). This is what you get when the nation’s capital is just another regional country town.

Canberra did have a high watermark in the 1990s when SC10 and Prime plus WIN broadcast proper weekday news bulletins. However, SC10 and Prime both shut their Canberra newsrooms in 2001 because ratings didn’t justify the expense.

The media regulator investigated the withdrawal from the Canberra market (among others) and basically concluded that since only WIN had a long-standing commitment to Canberra news – or something – Canberra really hadn’t lost much when SC10 and Prime shut up shop. You can read about it here: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_91817 (the Investigation Reports are probably the most useful for historical context).

Strangely I had always been under the impression that SC10 was the first commercial TV station in Canberra, yet it seems WIN – as in Wollongong Illawarra NSW – has been regarded as ‘the incumbent’ when it comes to local news in the ACT… Perhaps it’s really because Southern Cross is second rate.

bd84 9:49 pm 01 Jun 10

Well I agree that SCTen and Prime’s “local news” update’s are a load of rubbish. I would also point out that their news “updates” normally remain exactly the same for more than half the day by just repeating earlier bulletins.

Comparing ABC and WIN’s local news coverage, WIN’s half an hour of local news (well about 12 minutes of actual news/weather/sport and the rest personal interest) craps all over ABC’s 2-3 token ACT stories. Unless the sky has fallen in, you normally struggle to find the stories buried in ABC news at various points about the 13-15 minute mark of the bulletin.

I don’t expect the local news to be the greatest thing on tv, but at least WIN try with their limited resources. Although, anything beats the “journalism” of reading news wires that SCTen and Prime provide us as news.

benett 6:41 pm 01 Jun 10

This is the rant I submitted to the comments section @ http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2914395.htm:

[ Start Rant ]

Thank you Media Watch for highlighting the pitiful ‘service’ Prime and Ten brings Canberra.

We Canberran’s are quite aware as to the lack of service these stations bring us. What confuses me is that the central west of NSW (Orange, Bathurst etc) have a local dedicated half hour of news from Prime, yet Prime doesn’t have time or the care to bring Canberra news. I would however like to add that Win TV ‘does’ provide Canberra with a dedicated 30 minutes of news each night which you failed to mention. It’s not the best news, but it is news.

Whilst we are talking about the lack of news provided to Canberra via the television. I would like to say that the ABC’s 7pm Canberra broadcast is seemingly a complete copy of the news items made in Sydney. There may be 1-3 token news items for Canberra, then the weather. Not entirely impressed with ABC’s efforts in this regard. Yes the ABC has a great online and radio presence in Canberra, but the local news is also lacking.

I would like to know how the ABC stacks up in regards to ACMA local-news-content compliance. Let it be known. It’s strange that Win TV manages to deliver 30 minutes of news for Canberra and surrounds, yet Prime, TEN and the ABC can’t. Not enough news for Sydney glutton’s? The generalisations of Canberra are very tiresome, yet hardly uncommon. But if you’re broadcasting nationally, it makes sense to give Canberra a bit of a boot. This is not a broadside at the ABC, it does better than most, as it should.

[ End Rant ]

Basically, Prime is pathetic and so is TEN. The ABC doesn’t have much local news on the TV either. But they make up for it in many other ways, I guess. This Media-Watch segment probably omitted WIN TV for the simple reason that they can’t compare to WIN TV’s local-news content and coverage. Sadly, it’s a no-brainer. WIN TV has 30 minutes of local-news each night, the ABC has about 4 minutes of local-news on TV each night. If the ABC Media-Watch show was to say WIN TV provides 30 minutes of local-news for Canberra, but we provide maybe 4-8 minutes, well that wouldn’t look good for the ABC, would it…..

J Dawg 5:19 pm 01 Jun 10

I think that is a bit of a longshot – after all Media Watch is about spotlighting bad journalism and not about praising good journalism. By not mentioning WIN I don’t believe that they’re inferring that WIN made the same mistakes that SC Ten and Prime did.

I wouldn’t expect the ABC to provide free advertising for WIN News. If WIN had great coverage and the ABC had no coverage, and Media Watch still refused to acknowledge WIN, then you may have a point. But the ABC had adequate coverage to make their point (being that other news agencies could provide timely news), so why bother dealing with extra hassle of obtaining and using WIN footage. What difference would WIN footage really have made to the point of the story?

As for the ABC killing off other media, well that is a completely different issue!

johnboy 5:02 pm 01 Jun 10

J Dawg said :

So the ABC aren’t allowed to show ABC footage when another network might have suitable footage too? I don’t think the point of the story was “look how good the ABC is compared to SC Ten and Prime”, I think it was more “look at how bad Prime and SC Ten are”.

I wouldn’t expect Media Watch to use WIN footage if the ABC has adequate footage of their own. Do you really expect them to?

They never have trouble accessing footage on the commercials when it suits them, they painted with a broad brush that covered everyone who wasn’t the ABC, innacurately as it happens.

And it’s part of a broader pattern whereby the ABC kills off by virtue of taxpayer subsidised pricing, all media that isn’t the ABC.

J Dawg 4:53 pm 01 Jun 10

johnboy said :

pierce said :

It’s not really Media Watch’s job to praise good journalism, it’s more about keeping the lazy and shiftless on their toes. If you’re not getting a mention on MW, it’s a good week.

And yet they found plenty of time to highlight timely ABC reportage.

So the ABC aren’t allowed to show ABC footage when another network might have suitable footage too? I don’t think the point of the story was “look how good the ABC is compared to SC Ten and Prime”, I think it was more “look at how bad Prime and SC Ten are”.

I wouldn’t expect Media Watch to use WIN footage if the ABC has adequate footage of their own. Do you really expect them to?

ConanOfCooma 3:56 pm 01 Jun 10

TV is for plebians.

Gungahlin Al 3:34 pm 01 Jun 10

Win TV do not get enough credit for the work they do putting together a credible collection of local news stories every weekday. The fill the half hour with all local stories and frequently we get calls as a result of one of their journos checking out an item on our website.

As has been said, 7 and 10 are crap, merely dot-pointed other people’s work.

While ABC does a great job with local stories on their radio station and on Stateline, their TV news is underwhelming, merely turning up to wherever the Chief Minister is doing a media op, and tucking those items in around the national news.

Holden Caulfield 10:59 am 01 Jun 10

It is definitely a fair criticism of Media Watch that they didn’t mention WIN News. Especially following the line “So what were the ABC’s commercial rivals in Canberra reporting?”

The point of the exercise, though, was to highlight how absolutely crap the Prime/Southern Cross arrangements are. I’m embarrassed for them, I don’t know how they credibly serve up their virtually useless “updates”.

troll-sniffer 10:55 am 01 Jun 10

Yep Media Watch have hit the nail on the head once again… mind you it’s almost a case of “who cares?” these days with so many other sources of news for the news-hungry. But it’s true about the kind of stories they try to pass off as news, which are little better than these types of ‘news stories’:

Farmers welcome rain across the region
Teachers union expected to criticise cuts to school funding
Housing crisis to ease as new suburbs in planning phase
Opposition expected to criticise govt push for more community artworks
Raiders tipped to overcome injury worries for Saturdays match against Parramatta

And so on. All sound like news but if you allow a few brain cells to think about what’s being said, it’s not news at all.

screaming banshee 10:02 am 01 Jun 10

Lets face it, they do have easy access to the ABC footage.

I didn’t really see the piece as ABC chest-beating, it was more a case of using the footage to show what was happening, not rah rah look how well we covered it.

johnboy 9:40 am 01 Jun 10

pierce said :

It’s not really Media Watch’s job to praise good journalism, it’s more about keeping the lazy and shiftless on their toes. If you’re not getting a mention on MW, it’s a good week.

And yet they found plenty of time to highlight timely ABC reportage.

pierce 9:29 am 01 Jun 10

It’s not really Media Watch’s job to praise good journalism, it’s more about keeping the lazy and shiftless on their toes. If you’re not getting a mention on MW, it’s a good week.

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