Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Campbell Live axing prompts review

TV presenter and journalist John Campbell. Photo / Greg Bowker
TV presenter and journalist John Campbell. Photo / Greg Bowker

A group of Kiwi movers and shakers will undertake a review of New Zealand public broadcasting in the wake of Campbell Live's axing.

Community campaign group Action Station is concerned about the decline of public-interest journalism since TV3's flagship news magazine show was canned last year, amid a public outcry.

It has enlisted a panel of experts - including economist Shamubeel Eaqub, singer Lizzie Marvelly, former MediaWorks news boss Mark Jennings, TV and film director Kay Ellmers and policy analyst Wendy McGuinness.

The panel's findings will be presented to the Government in the run up to next year's General Election. "About 100,000 people signed up to the campaign to try to save Campbell Live so investigative journalism is clearly something that is important to an awful lot of people," Action Station spokeswoman Marianne Elliot said.

"People are very worried that this kind of campaigning is disappearing from television in particular."

Action Station organises petitions, social media swarms and mass emails to decisions makers. It also creates crowd-funded creative campaigns and offline actions like creative stunts, vigils or hikoi.

The not-for-profit organisation was involved with the Save Campbell Live campaign and teamed up with Auckland teacher Virginia Woolf and policy analyst Fiona Gordon to help stop the trade of ivory in New Zealand.

The new venture is in partnership with the Coalition for Better Broadcasting.

Economic commentator Eaqub said the undertaking would not be "an exercise in sentimentality".

"We want to understand the role of the public sector and we will look for ways of keeping investigative journalism alive while still providing value for money," he said.

"It will be a transparent debate right across New Zealand. There is still incredible journalism going on here but we want to find out new ways of helping that to continue."

- Herald on Sunday

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