In the first of an occasional series, a TV insider who wishes to remain anonymous shares her thoughts on the local industry. First up, the awkward forced sentimentality of the TV news goodbye. //
The Sunday edition of 3 News always seems to take forever to get to 7pm. New Zealand’s small population isn’t really up to generating an hour’s news seven nights a week. Outside of the election campaign they’re usually resorting to movie reviews by around 6.17 – but there was a little Easter egg last night for anyone willing to sit through 25 minutes of sport.
Josh the weather boy was saying goodbye for the final time. He with the fresh face and inappropriate wardrobe. Nothing could make you feel more ill at ease than seeing the weather read out by what looked like a 15-year-old kid in a three-piece suit, but you could tell he was a nice guy couldn’t you? He smiled a lot and worked with Oliver Driver on Sunrise: two signs that he was happy just to be alive.
Farewell speeches are difficult to write and no easier to listen to. God knows we’ve heard enough of them on Seven Sharp, where hosts usually opt for a mix of ‘it’s been great’ [lie] and ‘I’m excited about new opportunities’ [double lie].
Josh curiously used his final words to say ‘thank you to the amazing team at Metservice’ before vaguely announcing that he was going to London. “So enjoy the summer when it finally arrives here because I am certainly not going to be. Back to you Carolyn.”
“I am boycotting summer because you’re not here,” said Carolyn Robinson with no plausibility whatsoever, before quickly moving on to the kicker story. Then there was more at the final signoff, with Josh having to stay awkwardly at the weather screen while Carolyn and her occasional co-host Christchurch Earthquake Man stumbled through a final farewell.
“Josh is off, he’s travelling … seven years is that right you’ve been here at 3?” asked Earthquake Man
“Yeah seven years, seven years,” agreed Josh
“Seven years, he’s away” concluded Earthquake Man, clearly having wished he’d thought of something more enduring to say at this emotional time.
“On behalf of all of us here at 3 and on behalf of your lovely mum …” said Carolyn.
“Ha!” guffawed Josh from off screen.
“… we wish you safe and happy travels, we’ll really miss you” she finished.
“Good luck,” muttered Earthquake Man automatically. “Firstline’s back at 6 tomorrowmorning,.I’m Hamish Clark.”
“I’m very sad,” said Carolyn.
“Ha!” guffawed Josh from off screen.
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It doesn’t pay to make too big a fuss on your departure to the UK. I remember one journalist in particular who made a big song and dance about leaving one of the Sunday papers, only to end up writing for them as a freelancer from London, mostly columns about how she couldn’t find a job. She then came back to New Zealand and started working at the paper again, which would have been pretty embarrassing if anyone apart from me had noticed. To be fair, this is the experience of most New Zealanders in most industries. It’s just that journalism can be a cruelly public venue to say your goodbyes. There are precious few Anita McNaughts and Zane Lowes in this world.
On the bright side, a couple of years in London will age just about anybody. If Josh can’t get anything going career-wise, he’ll at least come back looking a bit more like somebody who should be on the 6pmnews. We wish you great success and long nights doing coke and waiting for the first tube, Josh. If nothing goes right on your OE, it might be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.