From a blog post to TV

By David Winter 17/03/2011 12


There can’t be many countries in which you could end up on national TV for staying up all night and writing a blog post criticising someone, but New Zealand is one them.

I knew when Campbell Live aired that interview with Ken Ring there was going to be a great deal of interest in his predictions, but I never imagined just how far my post on the topic would reach. It got more than a years worth of normal traffic for me and my wierd bugs and was quoted by an AFP article and Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch (one step towards my life goal of being interesting enough to be interviewed by Kim Hill). Then I got contacted by Tristam Clayton from Campbell Live, who was putting together a follow-up to that first interview and wanted to include me. I think the hour or so I spend filming that interview isthe scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I was very nervous from start to finish. Somehow, they managed to cut together a few minutes that make me sound as if I know what I’m talking about, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I don’t think the TV3 site lets you embed their videos, but you can go and see it here (the site isn’t geo-locked, so, foreign friends, you should be able to laugh at my accent):

Ken Ring’s quake theories — how scientific are they


12 Responses to “From a blog post to TV”

  • I thought the whole programme was nicely done, David, and well done for your part in it all. I think it went a long way towards atoning for that rather disastrous first interview (disastrous because it had the unfortunate effect of increasing the sympathy vote for KR).

  • I must admit to reading your article and thinking Wow, is this guy wasted on bugs… then I went back and read some of your articles on bugs, and was pleasantly pulled by the enthusiasm for your topic of choice.

    But seriously… your article was a fantastic precis on scientific method, along with stats that even I could follow. If you feel the pull to write more laterally again in the future, I will be there looking forward to reading it

  • David;
    You will likely remember me as one of the SciBlog antagonists who decried the manner in which the original Campbell interview was conducted, whilst declaring no belief in the Ring Theorems. My primary issue then was that the execution (word chosen with intent) of the original engagement was low journalism and insulting to the intelligence of the predominantly non-scientist audience by playng the man rather than the ball. It seemed at the time, and indeed proved to be, couterproductive to the public view of the matter, raising an unwelcome sympathy vote for Ring..

    I think that your contribution and indeed the complete Campbell Live item was appropriately handled and pitched just right, and has gone a long way to restoring sense to this debate. This is exactly what science communicators must do to win the core of public opinion; respect their intelligence and stay with the facts. Well done!!

    I see that Sainsbury is having his shot tonight. I now await that with severe trepidation!

  • Thought it turned out really well, and it was super instructive to have it all explained in a multimedia way – not to mention having the segment on Campbell Live, so the general public would watch it by default:) (Even though all that information was out there already – a lot of people may not have bothered to go look for it.) I hope it changed some people’s minds at least. I’ve stuck it on FB and on my blog!

  • David,

    I watched the Campbell live article this morning, and I thought you did a great job of presetning your argument in a calm fashion, without being too scathing or resorting to name calling.

    The whole debate was thrust into the limelight through a totally inadequate performance from John Campbell in the first place, but the ensuing discussion has been useful and ultimately productive in bringing the differing views to light.

    Congratulations on a well balanced piece – I think thats all people wanted. I think Campbell live still took unnessecary digs with the reference to previous books by Ken (reading cats paws etc), which were irrelevant and showed their bias, but you did a nice job.

    Interesting seeing this play out. Cheers

  • “I see that Sainsbury is having his shot tonight. I now await that with severe trepidation!”
    Trepidation well founded, MainlyMe. I thought it was an epic fail giving so much space to the Ring-supporters who really added nothing of value. But Mark Quigley was awesome.
    Well done, TV3, for sticking to debunking the quackery.

  • Carol,

    Dunno – more lop-sided that their effort tonight. Not addressing the basis of the thing – just interviews with families leaving town for the weekend, etc.

  • Thanks everyone for the comments (although I can’t imagine how anyone could be “wasted’ on bugs!)

    Good to hear even the doubters from the first round of Campbell Live v Ring were happy with the piece. Obviously, being involved with this one, I’m going to be biased towards it, but it makes a pretty stark contrast to the Close Up “Wave of anecdote” approach to the same story.