Media expert blasts Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp host Jesse Mulligan. Photo/supplied
Seven Sharp host Jesse Mulligan. Photo/supplied

A University of Canterbury journalism expert has slammed TVNZ's Seven Sharp programme, saying it lacks depth and drive.

UC Senior lecturer Tara Ross said the new programme, which launched at 7pm on TV One last night, had a long way to go to earn its title as a current affairs show.

She pointed out that while the show debuted on the same day as the resignation of Solid Energy's chief executive, Don Elder, it failed to provide any analysis on what that could mean for the state owned enterprise (SOE).

"Instead, we were given a fluffy tour of parliament, a promotion for a music gig, and an awkwardly placed story about one man's battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and all pre-recorded. The stories weren't so current and offered nothing that we wouldn't see at 6pm," she said.

"When the New Zealand Herald launched its new format it did so with significant stories.

There was none of that journalistic drive here. Where was the passion to tell a good story or get viewers thinking? Good current affairs stories should pose a question; Seven Sharp's stories didn't do that.

Ross said she wanted to see public watchdog journalism, not the inside of the Prime Minister's kitchen.

"Ask Key the hard questions about the economic health of our SOEs. Don't run an asinine poll on the role of escort at Waitangi; explain why it became an issue. Focus less on the format and more on in-depth journalism. Is it current affairs? You'd have to say not yet."

Ross did commend the show's producers for trying to connect with their audience and promote news discussion, but she didn't feel that this was achieved on the first night.

And while TVNZ was on track with the incorporation of social media, a "handful" of Facebook opinions did not constitute a discussion, she said.

With an increasing amount of news consumption going mobile, it is estimated that a third of adults in the United States now get their news on tablets and smartphones.

Ross said a similar trend had emerged in New Zealand, especially amongst young people, meaning that they get their news fix in their own time and "not at 7 sharp".

"The challenge for the programme's producers will be how to generate the discussion they say is their key focus if the audience is looking elsewhere for news and how to generate a discussion that rises above the superficiality of Facebook polls. We were invited to tweet and we were invited to vote, but what were we invited to think about?"

- nzherald.co.nz

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