Brian Edwards Media

Archive for April, 2010

The Apprentice File – A Little Bird Told Me…

Now here’s a mystery which has just been drawn to my attention by an eagle-eyed little bird high up in the journalism tree. Last Tuesday, April 27, TVNZ’s Close Up programme ran a story on small businessman David Henshilwood who, since July of 2009,  had been owed $3680 for work he’d done installing television screens in the Century City Hotel, owned by multi-millionaire businessman and host of TVNZ’s  The Apprentice, Terry Serepisos. 

It was quite a gritty little story. And, in the best traditions of Fair Go, it had yielded a result. On the previous day, Monday, April 26, Close Up had contacted Mr Serepisos’ office and outlined the basis of the story they were about to run. And, lo and behold, a cheque for the full amount owing was already in Mr Henshilwood’s hands. Hurrah! Well done Close Up.

But the eagle-eyed little bird had spotted something strange in the Close Up story. In it reporter Daniel Faitaua interviews David Henshilwood and his wife Sally about their problems with Serepisos. Referring to the interview, Faitaua says in voice-over, ‘That was them four weeks ago when they told us of their frustration trying to get paid for installing screens in Terry Serepisos’ Century City Hotel.’

Whoa there! Four weeks ago! You interviewed the Henshilwoods four weeks ago, but you only approached Sereposis’ office yesterday to seek a response. Isn’t that just a little strange?  Read the rest of this entry »


Terry Serepisos and The Apprentice Fiasco






I read that businessman Terry Serepisos owes the Wellington City Council $2 million in rates which he is unable to pay and has failed to repay several contractors who worked on his Century City Hotel in Wellington’s Tory Street. Mr Serepisos is reportedly worth $140 million but, since he is unable to do what much poorer folk like you and me are able to do – pay our bills – I take this to  mean that he is asset rich but cash poor.

Mr Serepisos  is also the ‘star’ of TV2’s The Apprentice programme – ‘star’ being someone who has made more than 5 appearances on the box  –  in which young entrepreneurs compete for a job in one of his companies at a salary or $200,000 a year. Were I one of these ‘entrepreneurs’ – a word incidentally mispronounced by every single television newsreader and reporter – I might have some anxiety as to whether, if I won the competition, my pay cheque really would be in the mail. Read the rest of this entry »


Media Tip: If you didn’t get a fair go…


If you’re unhappy about the treatment you’ve received from any branch of the media, you have a number of possible courses of action. Which course you take will depend on the seriousness of your complaint. 

If you feel you’ve been misquoted, quoted out of context, unfairly edited, misrepresented, mistreated, misled as to the intention, style or nature of the item, you should write to the immediate superior of the journalist or reporter who did the story. This will normally be the Chief Reporter in the case of a newspaper, the editor in the case of a magazine, or the Head of News and Current Affairs in the case of television and radio.  If that fails, approach the next person up the chain, and the next, and the next, until you reach the top. 

If you still get no satisfaction from the publication or broadcaster, you can take your complaint to the Press Council, in the case of newspapers and magazines, or the Broadcasting Standards Authority, in the case of radio and television programmes. 

The Press Council is a voluntary body supported by the industry and has no power to compel newspapers to do anything or to punish them for their misdeeds. However, its findings on a complaint will be taken very seriously by the publication concerned and will be  published by them whether favourable or unfavourable. 

The Broadcasting Standards Authority is a statutory body and has available to it a range of punishments for breaches of the Broadcasting Standards. These include compelling the broadcaster to broadcast an apology or retraction, imposing a fine on the broadcaster or, in extreme cases,  requiring it to be commercial free for a period.

You should consult a lawyer if you believe you’ve been defamed.

On the other hand, if you feel you were fairly treated, why not let the immediate superior of the interviewer or reporter know that as well. Journalists don’t get a lot of positive feedback either.

For more information here are the links to the BSA and NZ Press Council:

 “Television and Radio Complaints: A Guide for Viewers and Listeners” (PDF – 56k)


Laws Loses The Plot

Wanganui Chronicle

Wanganui Chronicle

I’m rarely shocked by anything Michael Laws says or writes these days. His columns in the Sunday Star Times range from the merely intemperate to the odiously offensive. I’m never entirely sure whether these bilious outpourings represent the columnist’s  deliberate intention to outrage or are the fulminations of a deeply disturbed mind. The common factors in everything he writes and almost everything he says are irrationality and rage. In television interviews he increasingly comes across as someone who has completely lost the plot. His aggressive forward posture, his wild eyes and angry mouth, his belligerent answers all suggest a manic personality whose only response to those who criticise or oppose him is to seek and destroy.

The Laws I once knew had a brilliant mind, displayed an incisive wit and was possessed of a wonderful sense of humour.  That man no longer seems to exist. I have no idea why this should be or what it is that has turned Laws into a caricature of himself. At one level, I find the transformation deeply saddening. At another, I am angered by his often withering attacks on groups and individuals. Read the rest of this entry »


If The Aussies Can Do It, Why Can’t We? [From Sunny Sydney]


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has a weekly 10-minute media commentary programme called Media Watch. On this week’s programme host Jonathan Holmes had fun with a Channel 10 reporter who referred to the ‘crucification’ of Jesus Christ, which Holmes called ‘an excellent example of the gradual crucifixion of the English language’, and a female ABC newsreader who, referring to ‘Maoist rebels in central India’, pronounced the word ‘Maoist’ as ‘may-o-ist’. Holmes gleefully pointed out that Chairman Mao had been around for quite a long time and was pretty well known and this wasn’t how his name was pronounced.

In the next story the ABC was castigated for failing to properly conceal the addresses of petitioners on behalf of a transsexual man who was fighting for the right to have the gender on his birth certificate changed. To make matters worse,  the channel had also failed to properly conceal his address, leaving him terrified of sightseers or other undesirables coming to his home. Read the rest of this entry »


Duncan Garner on Chris Carter – Journalism or Personal Campaign?

Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald

Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald









In returning to the topic of Duncan Garner, I am in danger of being accused of conducting a personal campaign against TV3’s political editor. That would be doubly unfortunate since it is my view that he, and/or TV3,  is conducting just such a campaign  against Labour ‘s  Foreign Affairs spokesman Chris Carter.

On last night’s  bulletin, Garner devoted 2’17”  – a long item in television terms – to a 2½ week trip Carter will make later this month to Europe. It was the third item in the bulletin, suggesting major significance in that day’s news.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Sweetest Carrots and the Biggest Stick















 Regular visitors to this site will know that I am a huge fan of Herald columnist Tapu Misa. Misa combines fierce intelligence with a profoundly compassionate view of her fellow man and woman and provides a welcome antidote to the mindless bigotry of the broadsheet’s other god-bothering columnists. (She would not approve of those last ten words.)

Some time ago Misa found God. These are my words, not hers, but they convey the general idea that she went from being a non-believer – atheist, agnostic, secularist, whatever  –  to being a committed Christian.  

Her columns have not suffered as a result. I rarely find much to disagree with in them. On moral issues atheist and believer often find common ground. But her Easter Monday column, appropriately  headlined Religion Undergoing Startling Resurrection, leaves me scratching my head. In it she takes a poll-driven approach to defend her thesis that ‘Globally, religion is winning and secularism is losing’. It’s a competition apparently and, other than in the West, a lot more people are coming to support our team than support your team. Ya boo sucks!  Read the rest of this entry »