Friday, April 11, 2008

Convergence and crossover

Since the rise of the web and the advent of streaming video, there's been a convergence and crossover of news sites. Mostly this has been driven by newspaper sites adding video and audio content. But TVNZ has now got into the game, adding some good old-fashioned analysis in the form of a regular column by political commentator Dr Therese Arseneau. Given its length, presumably it won't be appearing on our TV screens any time soon.

As for the content, it's good stuff. This week's column looks at the minor parties in far more depth than the usual media talking heads. One of the interesting facts is about the nature of media coverage of minor parties - these parties really exist to push policy, but according to a study from the University of Otago, only 19% of newspaper coverage of minor parties in the 2005 election dealt with policy issues. The rest was all about "the game" - how they were polling, who they'd go with etc. That's a pretty serious imbalance. And its not as if this focus on the horse race is what viewers want - according to Arseneau, "studies confirm that voters are crying out for more coverage of policy during election campaigns". But shallow coverage is easy coverage, so in modern newsrooms where journalists are told to "do more with less", that's what we get.

Anyway, Arseneau's column looks to be a welcome relief from the tradition of shalow journalism, and I'm looking forward to the next one.