Since its launch I have tried four times to watch Seven Sharp right through and given up each time in dread of the damage that could be done to the brain cells I have left.

I made it on the fifth and last attempt. And when I say last, I mean it won't be happening again.

Wednesday was International Women's Day. It was also the day when the worst storms since whenever ravaged the country and had insurance companies block booking appointments with their counsellors.

How did Seven Sharp and The Project - the current 7pm sort-of news shows - handle these events?


Let's start with Seven Sharp, the more senior, although not necessarily more grown up of the two.

Their lead was about the perennial problem of claim jumping on West Coast gold prospecting. I checked the calendar and it was definitely still the 21st century.

Perhaps it was a question of relatability and relevance. After all, many people might have spent the day indoors and not noticed the weather. And only half the audience is women. Whereas everyone has heard of gold at some time or another.

Or maybe it was a bigger problem than anyone realises. How many prospectors are there today? "Plenty," according to co-host Toni Street.

This was followed by some patronising banter about International Women's Day, an item on flooding in Whangamata that told you there had been flooding in Whangamata, and then the big draw: a panel to discuss International Women's Day, populated by a group of women described by co-host Mike Hosking as "strong, wondrous and successful".

You'll wait a long time to hear the word "wondrous" used to describe a panel of men.

The guests were broadcaster Kerre McIvor, columnist Kate Hawkesby and Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett.

The Deputy PM has said she is a feminist "most days" and as recently as this week unearthed evidence of a gender pay gap, which "all-days" feminists have identified as a concern for decades.

Over at The Project the weather was the lead. But this show didn't stop at telling us the weather had been bad, it moved the story on by investigating why the proposed national emergency alert texting system hasn't been launched, despite the fact we seem to be having more than the usual number of emergencies.

Gerry Brownlee popped up to enlighten us, which he did with his usual conviction and plausibility when it comes to explaining inadequate responses to disasters.

Apparently, politicians are going to be so busy working to get themselves voted back in in November that they won't have any time for basic life-saving initiatives. I am not making this up.

Equally substantial was a piece on capital gains tax and the property market.

The Opportunities Party's Gareth Morgan got to comment. He appears to have subconsciously absorbed the political advice that you should wear something that conveys your message and was sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with an image of a dead fish. He was followed by former Act leader Jamie Whyte - the ex-leader of a non-party.

So much for relevance, but at least The Project tried.

The mistaken assumption brought to bear on these shows is it is a law of the universe the 30 minutes after 7pm must be devoted to daily current affairs. We have lost a lot of journalism lately, but alternative news sources are starting to coming online to fill the gaps.

In the meantime, I ended up better informed and more entertained by The Project.