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"Who will fight for us now?" Also known as Another 'Save Campbell Live' Blog

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

The potential axing of Campbell Live has been the hot topic of conversation with family and friends this week, and in the blogosphere.

There have been couple of non-objectors to Jono & Ben, or to a new soap, but a definite theme of concern through to overt objection has emerged, with conspiracy theories abounding.

“They are trying to dumb us down.”

“So... essentially the only interviews with the government will now be with TVNZ shows...which are owned by the government?”

“Oh, they've been trying to get him out for ages, remember, he pissed off John Key by reporting on Christchurch?”

“Who will fight for us now?”

This last one made me pause.

Advocacy journalism, done well, is journalism that earns its practitioners a huge amount of trust and respect. Take The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart for example – although he claims he is first and foremost a comedian, his willingness to ask hard questions and fight for the little guy, and his determination to represent the world as it is, has lead to a huge engagement with the American public that surprises many.

The difference between The Daily Show and Campbell Live is that Jon Stewart takes the truth and makes it funny, and Campbell Live takes the truth and connects you to the story emotionally.

From reading social media posts, talking to friends and family, there seems to be a belief in one or more of the conspiracy theories printed in the media lately, from ratings decline (which, incidentally, is not unusual across the board in the U.S., as viewers turn to online show-watching - and which has also occurred with Shortland Street) to Campbell Live making powerful enemies with everyone from John Key to Julie Christie.

I don’t know what is true.

I would suggest that any sensible government historically/traditionally uses the media for its own ends wherever possible – anyone casually binge-watching House of Cards will tell you that.

I would also suggest that advertisers are not adverse to exerting pressure over content in order to more successfully sell their product – as media companies like MediaWorks are responsible to shareholders, as stated in the NZ Herald, attracting advertiser money has to be a higher priority than content. Concentration of media ownership must factor somewhere here too.

I honestly don't know what the truth is. I'm just a girl, writing a blog, who believes is that there is almost zero advocacy journalism in New Zealand as it is.

How often have you been in conversation with someone who, frustrated at bureaucratic red tape or lack of corporate responsibility, or concerned with a societal issue, has said, “I’m going to email Campbell Live.”

Not their local MP.

Not their national government.

Not their local or national newspaper.

Campbell Live, who has established such a strong emotional connection to its audience that it should not be discounted as a brand itself. Where Campbell Live goes; viewers go – case in point Lunchbox Day, which raised $800,000 for KidsCan Charitable Trust.

I don’t know if eliminating Campbell Live’s style of journalism will be another “this is what the people want” decision without ever asking the people.

I don't know, if, actually, I'm being a little too emotional myself and maybe, people really do want only to binge-watch reality shows and not have to worry about anything else when they get home.

But as a person who thinks there are too little stories about “us” in our media as it is where "the little guy" wins, I encourage you to do one or two things.

Sign the petition at Action Station.

Watch Campbell Live.

Or, you could write to Campbell Live

Unfortunately I don’t think they’ll be able to help this time.

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