INDEPENDENT NEWS

Scoop's Questions For Tomorrow's RNZ Staff Meeting

Published: Thu 12 Aug 1999 06:31 PM
Scoop would like to be a fly on the wall at tomorrow's (Friday) meeting in Wellington between representatives of Radio New Zealand's board and its staff.
The meeting was arranged after RNZ staff representatives complained about an article by board member Denis Dutton, published in the Dominion on August 22.
Dutton's article, which needlessly fanned embers of a previous board-staff confrontation back into flame, was based on a report on RNZ's news that the board had commissioned from a Christchurch journalist, Paul Savage.
Scoop understands that the Savage report quoted by Dutton is a revised version and that the original was so badly flawed that it had to be destroyed.
Scoop also notes that the views expressed by Paul Savage are remarkably similar to those of Dutton and that the two both live in Christchurch.
If RNZ's staff felt so inclined, they might raise some questions about the board's decision to review RNZ's news operations, including:
1. When did the board decide to review the news operations? Who was at the meeting?
2. Was the review put out to tender? Was anyone other than Savage considered for the job? Was anyone other than Savage interviewed for the job? How was Savage introduced to the board? Which board members interviewed Savage? When did the board approve his appointment?
3. What happened to Savage's original report? Why was it destroyed? What was its chief recommendation?
4. How much did the review cost?
5. What happened to the section in which an independent comparative survey of other radio news bulletins revealed RNZ in a favourable light?
Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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