Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hosking on Holmes

Mike Hosking is possibly the last defender in New Zealand of Lance Armstrong. But he's managed to put aside the feelings of betrayal that he must be experiencing to write a fulsome piece on Sir Paul Holmes who will be invested today. Hosking opines:

So a very big and very well deserved day for our old mate today, Sir Paul Holmes.
The investiture is at his farm in Hawke’s Bay this afternoon. There is sadness of course because it’s been brought forward due to illness. But the importance of the day and the event is not diminished one jot.
He’s a fan of these things. He loves his CBE, wears it with pride. I have been to any number of events where it sits with pride on his lapel and he’ll be beside himself about today’s honour.

He's quite right. In many ways, the importance of the day will be enhanced because Sir Jerry Mateparae will travel to Holmes' whare for the early investiture due to Sir Paul's well-chronicled ill-health.That an exception to protocol has been approved by sue Jerry is a mark of the esteem that Holmes is held in after a long and at times controversial career.

Hosking then turns to the role of the news media, and makes some interesting points; read on:

I thought he made a very good point over the summer about broadcasting not really being all that well recognised in the Honours list. My suspicion is because those of us that ply our trade in it don't see it as particularly important. Not in a dismissive way but in a way that shows we’re having so much fun, in a way that shows we feel lucky enough as it is to actually be getting paid for this lark. Anything beyond that might well be seen as being a bit over the top. Awards and rewards and wide public recognition are for the serious pursuits. No broadcaster saves lives, splits atoms, advances science, changes the world, uplifts the poor or toils tirelessly unsung for years on projects that go unnoticed. But then that is to place broadcasting, as Paul quite rightly points, in a place where it doesn't belong.
You should never dismiss information and entertainment, its impact, its mass appeal. You should never dismiss the profound power of clever communication and its ability to bring people together, to educate, to amuse or bring laughter. And if you don't dismiss that then you certainly don't fail to recognise the most gifted of the exponents of the art of which Sir Paul is unquestionably one.
I guess if the fields of endeavour are all regarded as roughly equal, then the test is for the potential recipients. Did they make a difference? Did they go above and beyond? Did they push the boundaries and by and large get away with it? Tick yes for Sir Paul. Did they stand out in their field? Were they better than most of the rest, if not all of the rest? Tick yes again.
If you place the spotlight on broadcasting and cast its light even fleetingly around the room of luminaries that have graced the microphones, cameras and keyboards of the business, that light quickly and rightly finds Paul Holmes.
So he is right, broadcasting has been brushed over perhaps a bit lightly in terms of serious recognition. But if that's the case, who better to rectify matters than today’s recipient.
Our love, our thoughts and kindest of wishes go with him today.

We live in the information age. And advances in social media, Twitter especially have even threatened the role of the electronic media in disseminating information. But Holmes' career flourished when he took over the prime 7pm slot on TVNZ; he was in many ways a man for the times, and in the right place at the right time.

Mike Hosking of course replaced Sir Paul on the Newstalk ZB breakfast programme. That he feels so strongly about Holmes' contribution to the New Zealand broadcasting scene is no surprise. But his points are well made.

Congratulations Sir Paul. We have not agreed with everything you have said through the years, but your contribution to broadcasting has been immense, and your campaign against methamphetamine has been both significant and successful. May today be a special day, and may your health allow you to enjoy your new status for some time to come.


David said...

Hosking's airy dismissal of media gongs on the grounds that they aren't important is entirely inconsistent with the importance they attach to recognition, name branding and ratings.

The lack of gongs is more likely related to the fact that to get one, you have to be nominated and sufficiently lauded by 3rd parties. I suspect that few in the media are willing to sufficiently praise others (ie their deadly competition for the public's attention. If snarling earned awards, they would be plentifully handed out.

Rex Widerstrom said...

Mike Hosking and yourself have said it all, KS, so all I can really add is a hearty "hear hear", especially to the sentiment in your last paragraph.