There’s talk that long-running New Zealand current affairs program Close Up is to close up.* Cease to be, that is.

On sciblogs, we talk about what we’d like to see media do a fair bit. Naturally our concerns mostly relate to science stories but these issues apply more widely, too.

What would readers like to see in a replacement of Close Up? (Let’s assume it’ll be news, rather than be replaced by reality TV or what-have-you.)

Here’s a short selection from the comments at Stuff. (I’m not endorsing these! Many comments there focus on the host; my including these examples is for the remarks on technique, not the man.)

Max: “Would it be that hard to have a serious current affairs show that doesn’t just go for sensationalist stories?”

tbird: “He’s [host Sainsbury] not as arrogant and unlikeable as Hoskings, and not as far left as Campbell. But he doesn’t listen in interviews, the person’s reply does not seem to affect the next question. And he only accepts sound bites – any explanation seems to annoy him.”

ohhhheeey: “The problem here is Mark Sainsbury because he asks such stupid questions. They need a new show with decent journalists that have a desire to fully investigate stories and present the facts to NZers, who are smart enough to understand. None of the one sided BS. Tell us the whole story and all the angles!! BRING BACK MIKE HOSKING!!!”

hector: “That will be a pity, it suits me but….as long as its replaced by decent journalism not soundbites, cooking or pseudo celebrity reality garbage I wont complain too much.”

Jase: [Just added for laughs.] “I would watch it if only Mark would shave that terrible mo! He’s probably a very good journalist but hard to take seriously with his nose so very badly underlined__”

Me? I can easily think of what I’d like less of. Among them journalism that is less gullible, less prone ‘false balance’ and other unhelpful practices. One off-the-cuff thought would be a format the took in fewer items, but examined them more diligently. Not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee), but the brevity of news format limits it’s ability to explore issues and what can be left is mostly people’s ‘positions’ – a political and weak substitute for understanding.**


* I can’t resist opportunities to play on words…

** One end of that spectrum might be the BBC’s Hard Talk, which focuses on just one person or specific topic. While I personally like this approach for some things, provided the people and topic chosen are interesting and have nuance, it’s not what I’m thinking of here.

Other articles on Code for life:

Media reporting of subsequent findings

Dear journalist and editors,

Media thought: Ask what is known, not the expert’s opinion

Note to science communicators–alleles not ’disease genes’

When the abstract or conclusions aren’t accurate or enough

Science blogging in the New Zealand media