NZ Samoa: TVNZ Airs PR Story On Primetime News On Eve of BSA Release

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On the matter of TVNZ and its Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver versus Samoa. TVNZ’s latest PR arsenal to circumvent any damage from the BSA findings. The timing of it all makes one very cynical and only more distrustful.  It’s starting to feel like a Margaret Mead re-run. Looks like TVNZ issued a release promoting its good works in Samoa, and the rest of the Pacific, on the same day that the Samoan Government issued its release on the BSA findings. Coincidence? That release within days of both parties receiving the BSA ruling. Whoever issued their release first, it’s no coincidence. You be the judge. The intended effect we suspect from TVNZ’s latest PR spinning is to help minimise any damage to its correspondent’s and network’s reputation in the islands.

It’s a PR story where TVNZ and its Pacific Correspondent hold itself up as the champions of Pacific broadcasting by delivering equipment and the like to the islands to improve broadcasting. Very clever. They’re broadcasting it on One News tonight. Usually those types of stories haven’t warranted making it onto the news agenda on mainstream One News.  It’s hardly hard news and certainly  not controversial so it’s usually covered by its magazine style show, Tagata Pasifika. But not hard news Dreaver, although we did notice there was a distinct but subtle change in direction with her stories after Samoa laid a complaint. She suddenly did more soft news stories on PIs like the story about a rowing team of PIs in NZ who use rowing as a form of healing therapy.

The time and the charity image that TVNZ have sought to convey here has the effect of one, deliberating positioning Dreaver as a supposed champion and supporter of free Pacific media. It also has the unspoken premise that islands like Samoa should not complain  when TVNZ gets it wrong because look at what we’re doing for you and your people. Tacky PR from TVNZ.

Let’s hope Dreaver had someone else teach ethics and basic journalism standards like accuracy, fairness and balance, while they were there. They are running their PR story as a news story on One News tonight, according to their release. We were not sent a copy of the release.  No mention though of when they will issue the statement stating the BSA findings. But don’t worry, the pacific grapevine still works, loud, long and far.

By the way, the BSA report does not specifically name the reporter.  As is standard practice for the BSA, the Authority’s practice protects the journalist’s anonymity on record but not the complainant.


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