Get the news online without the irritation of over-the-top newsreaders

This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

One of the best things about having access to the latest news online is not having to put up with the irritating assortment of newsreaders and reporters who seem to be taking over our TV news.

I’ve worked in the newspaper industry for a long time so, not surprisingly, I have a strong interest in the news. Every morning I kick off my day by reading the paper, then follow that up with a quick check on an assortment of websites to catch up with the latest overnight news. I always end up feeling better informed and not irritated.

However, my 6pm news fix isn’t always so successful. Television news seems to have become a haven for smug, smiling or simply irritating newsreaders. Paul Holmes was once the epitome of all that bugs me on the news presentation front but now that he’s no longer part of the TV1 news family TV3 appears to have the market cornered.

Before I move on, I see Holmes is currently boogying across our screens in the latest series of TV1′s Dancing With the Stars and can’t help wondering if here in good old New Zealand we have a slightly different definition of star or celebrity.

Rebecca Loos on Celebrity Treasure Island is another one who has me confuddled. Wasn’t her first and biggest claim to fame the alleged bonking of David Beckham?

Anyway, back to the news. What is it with these newsreaders who insist on reading each item like they’re trying out for the role of Captain Kirk, pausing between each word and emphasising them in the strangest of places: And. In. Breaking. News. Therewas. An. Hawww-riffic. Explosion …
Sadly, I heard one of TV3′s weekend dudes pronounce horrific exactly like that this week. I wanted to reach through the TV screen and bitch-slap him in an hawwww-riffic manner (can’t remember his name, he’s the one with the permanent slight smirk and synthetic-looking hair).

Then there’s the lovely wee chicky-babe on TV3 who always smiles, which is fine if it’s a story about kittens and puppies but not so fine if it’s a devastating earthquake.

TV3 is also home to little Jesse Peach, who would appear to be about 12 years old and wearing his dad’s suit. In the scheme of things he’s one of the better reporters because he doesn’t spend his time trying to appear stern and knowledgeable — like Dr Lillian Ing (emphasis on the Dr) — or friendly and bubbly like some of the other grinning microphone jockeys.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that he does look like a young lad who was somehow left behind on Take Your Son To Work Day.

Here at the office some of us have decided his name sounds a little porn star-ish. Now, every time I hear him reporting on some newsy event I expect to hear ’70s guitar porn music in the background.

And let’s not forget he was Blake Crombie in Shortland Street.

As things online become increasingly interactive I’m beginning to get nervous. I like news websites for the same reason I like a real newspaper — I get the news without all the over-the-top bells and whistles.

Long may it last.

NEWS ONLINE

  •  Stuff: The news portal of Fairfax NZ, parent company of The Southland Times
  • NZ Herald: Named one of the top 12 online newspaper websites in the 11th Annual International Webby Awards
  • Google News:  Google’s offering
  • BBC: The best of the Brits
  • CNN: America’s favourite
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