The death of a genre? Television current affairs programmes on New Zealand Public Television
Baker, Sarah; Baker, S
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“We need the angry buzz of current affairs programmes” (Professor Sylvia Harvey in Holland, 2006, p. iv). “In a public system, television producers acquire money to make programmes. In a commercial system they make programmes to acquire money” (Tracey, 1998, p.18). Television current affairs programmes have from their inception been a flagship genre in the schedules of public service broadcasters. As a television form they were to background, contextualise and examine in depth issues which may have appeared in the news. They clearly met the public broadcasters' brief to 'inform and educate' and contribute to the notional 'public sphere'. Over the past two decades policies of deregulation and the impact of new media technologies have arguably diminished the role of public broadcasting and profoundly affected the resources available for current or public affairs television with subsequent impacts on its forms and importance. This paper looks at the output of one public broadcaster, Television New Zealand (TVNZ), and examines its current affairs programming through this period of change.