Posted by: Rowan | October 15, 2008

TVNZ! What WERE you thinking?

I watched the leaders’ (subset of) debate last night and really enjoyed it. It told me everything I need to know about how to vote on November 8. That I didn’t know already, I mean. Anyway…

Well done TVNZ. What a stroke of genius to feature YouTube so prominently. The ‘leaders’ fielded questions from a channel called ‘commentators in the studio’, and questions from a channel called ‘the host, Mark Sainsbury’ (what a genial looking bloke he is), and from a channel called ‘Joe Public via the internet’.

Watching Joe Public coming in as a channel with equal priority to a commentator in the studio – or a TV host – was a delight to watch, to be honest. Our mainstream media, ever so awake as usual, recognised the ‘novelty value’ of it (hello? anyone home??) but at least they were awake enough to notice it. Sure, a bunch of Joe Public via the internet was young and expressed things in their own way – and will no doubt be sidelined for this in some of the more drab sideroads of mainstream New Zealand. But they had a direct question and they got a direct answer.

The stroke of unwitting genius was that TVNZ put this on prime-time max-audience free-to-air TV.

If 16-year-old wotshername from wherewasitagain can ask Helen Clark and John Key a question then so can anyone else. In theory, at least. TV’s probably a bad channel for it; they have to fit within their advertising slots so they probably had to choose/vet the questions they thought should be asked on behalf of Joe Public, but it’s better than no questions at all.

So – feeling quite positive about how pervasive the web was becoming, I wanted to share my view on how the leaders’ debate had stacked up, and see what the early consensus was from the rest of Joe Public. And the options TVNZ gave me were:

[Drum roll]:
– Send in a txt for 99c
– Make an 0900 call for 99c
– Nothing else.

What were they thinking?


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