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Who else is weary of watching sucks o'clock news, with reporters speaking in a language few would understand and passing personal opinions?

Do I need to know Simon Shepherd's name has two aitches when he's doing a story about Whanganui?

Is Samantha Hayes an expert on Department of Conservation estates and can justify telling us the land behind her is "some of our most precious" national park?

Patrick Gower, young and new to television, this week told us Sir Edmund Thomas is one of this country's "finest legal minds". Fancy. I never knew Gower's opinion of the judiciary was so authoritative.

But it's unfair for me to blame the reporters when their bosses, the managers of TVNZ and TV3, are to blame. They are ordering reporters to present their stories this way, even if the journalists object.

I thought One News was bad until I tuned into Network Nine's news in Sydney at Easter - abandoned baby, drug bust, and car crash - wall-to-wall tabloid junk. Will this be One News' destination?

Network Nine was the home of Anthony Flannery, who now heads TVNZ news, and when he was hired in 2007 one of his Aussie colleagues predicted he would bring a "very much Nine Network approach to the job".

At last year's bash celebrating 40 years of network news, Flannery's speech talked about trends and change, and he declared pride in the fact TVNZ's voice-over announces the "sucks o'clock news", and that the network has been officially brain-dead for 15 years (it's actually 16).

Journalism is a craft, be it print or broadcast, and for television reporters pronunciation is just as important as all other skills, like investigating the story, getting the facts correct and looking tidy and presentable.

So why are we assailed night after night by journalists who say "ower" instead of "hour", "ear-lifted" instead of "air-lifted", "wow" for "well", choowdren, Wallington, vunrable, New Zilland and alactricity?

If they were print journalists and wrote that way, they'd be taken aside by the sub-editors and retrained, so why are they cruelly shoved in front of the cameras by their bosses and allowed to make the same mistakes?

Because their bosses don't care about their employees.

TVNZ is the state-owned broadcaster but we're never consulted about this constant erosion of standards.

Television journalists get clothing allowances; they should also get speech training allowances.

Speaking of brain-dead, the man who made that term famous by applying it to TVNZ popped back into my life last week after a long absence. Perigo means danger, and Lindsay is on the warpath again.

He, too, is fed up with inarticulate New Zealanders but, as a graduate of the NZBC announcer training school, he is in a position to "fux" it.

"Kiwis Don't Quack" is his latest venture, and he's coaching television reporters as well as courtroom lawyers, budding politicians, corporates, students, sportspeople - anyone who, as he says, needs help to speak in coherent sentences rather than inane banalities such as, "Yeah, no, I'm like, oh my God, I'm like, you know, I'm like so totally an airhead" (rising inflexion on the airhead).

Perigo's imitation of an Air New Zealand announcement can have you rolling around laughing, but it's really no joke. Mediaworks' latest print ad, "How to speak New Zillund" is very funny too (U is for Undies, West Undies, good at cricket), but how many people will realise it's meant to be humorous?

This country needs help. Nobody is advocating a return to the days of sounding like an NZBC announcer, but we must aim higher. If a jury or judge can't understand what a lawyer is arguing, surely that jeopardises the client's case.

Sportspeople these days must front on behalf of sponsors; they need to be articulate, not grunt "whatever, awesome, cool". When travellers fly, they need to hear clear boarding calls - at present the wrong words are emphasised so it's senseless, just like MPs in the debating chamber.

Does anyone else care that Kiwis, John Key included, are quacking? If so, why not shame television bosses into training their reporters, and reclaim the 6 o'clock news?

deb.coddington@xtra.co.nz