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New look for WIN news... but did anyone notice the difference?

Date

The faces reading the script rolling on the autocue have changed, but has anyone noticed any difference, asks James Joyce.

Amy Duggan and Kerryn Johnston are WIN Canberra's new sports and news presenters.

Amy Duggan and Kerryn Johnston are WIN Canberra's new sports and news presenters.

So, WIN TV's weeknight news bulletin for Canberra is now presented out of Wollongong.

Did you notice the difference last week? Me neither.

OK, so it was a bit rich for WIN TV to move presentation of the program out of Canberra to cut costs just as the network's reclusive  Bermuda-based billionaire owner Bruce Gordon was stitching up a deal to sell his Perth and Adelaide stations to Nine Entertainment Co for a handsome $340 million.

Danielle Post's last appearance on WIN News.

Danielle Post's last appearance on WIN News.

And the irony was not lost on many industry observers that WIN's switch to remote-control news for Canberra came in the same week that a federal parliamentary committee deemed it OK for metropolitan TV networks to merge with their regional counterparts - so long as there is adequate protection of local content on regional TV.

But even loyal WIN news viewers might have struggled to find fault last week with the broadcaster's new nightly 'Gong show for the national capital.

OK, so the faces reading the script scrolling on the autocue are unfamiliar to Canberra viewers.

Greg Thomson.

Greg Thomson.

Danielle Post, WIN's ACT anchor for the past couple of years, has been replaced by Kerryn Johnston.

And Amy Duggan, the former Matilda and calendar pin-up, now reads out the scores of the Raiders and Brumbies matches instead of Greg Thomson.

But nothing much else has changed - it's still the same round-up of stuff that has happened in Canberra that day, or over the weekend; recaps -  with moving pictures - of the news you've probably already read in The Canberra Times or at canberratimes.com.au or heard on the radio.

For their part, Johnston and Duggan, after five nights, have delivered a pretty seamless transition to WIN's new production arrangement. They are certainly polished presenters. And so far, so good - no Canberra suburbs or Canberra Liberals names mispronounced.

The weather report probably spends too much time dilly dallying around parts of NSW that most Canberrans aren't terribly interested in - not when there's the chill factor closer to home to obsess about.

Canberra Times letter writer John Lindell, of Melba, wondered in Friday's paper if the Wollongong producers of WIN's 8pm "news break" last Wednesday might have offered a more useful description and measurement of just how thrillingly brisk the following day was going to get in Canberra.

But in the recent upset over WIN's move to 'Gong its ACT news, it should not be forgotten that the short "news break" of which Mr Lindell writes is the sum total of local news content broadcast by WIN's commercial rivals, Prime7 and Southern Cross Ten.

The brief so-called "updates" aired by Prime7 and Southern Cross in Canberra constitute the minimum amount of local content required under licence conditions that came into effect after the stations dumped full news services in Canberra, Newcastle and Wollongong in 2001.

Both Prime7 and Southern Cross Ten  present two-minute news "updates" for  various far-flung regions from their respective Canberra studios - commercial break fillers that the federal parliamentary committee heard in March were cynical "rip and read" services produced without newsrooms or reporters on the ground in the areas to which the "updates" purport to be "local".

So here is the conundrum:  if you really want the TV newsreader reading the Canberra news you can't read for yourself to be reading the news IN Canberra you can try to catch one of those Prime7 or Southern Cross Ten "updates".

Otherwise, there's WIN's weeknight half-hour (actually 22 or so minutes plus commercials) read by presenters in Wollongong.

Lest I be accused of making apologies for WIN, I agree that it just doesn't seem right that the capital city of Australia now has a local TV news bulletin read out of another city. But if that is what it takes to help keep local news on our TV screens, I for one will cope. The alternative does not bear thinking about.

Indeed, what's more depressing than Canberra news read by a person sitting in a studio a few hundred kilometres away  is that 50 years after the capital's original TV station first went to air as CTC-7, viewers in the ACT have more TV choice than they've ever had -  and yet  there's only one program devoted to local news on 11 commercial channels.

That WIN's Monday to Friday bulletin has been the only regular local show on commercial TV in Canberra for more than a decade is an indictment of the rules governing regional broadcasting.

Rules that deem the Canberra news "services" provided by Prime7 and Southern Cross Ten the minimum standard required.

Rules that will need serious toughening if the audience "reach" legislation banning metro and regional TV mergers is lifted.

And let's not forget that most other "regional" TV markets - some with viewing populations much larger than Canberra - don't enjoy the luxury of local items in their 7pm news on ABC1 or a local edition of 7.30.

What do you think of the new WIN newsreaders based in Wollongong? Let us know in the comments below.

12 comments

  • It does feel different. They keep saying "Canberra" too much, as if they're trying to fool people into thinking it's still being broadcast here.

    It's simple really - If WIN can't committ to keeping it's news bulletin locally produced, then I won't be committing to watching WIN television for news. I read all the stories right here on CT before the evening news anyway :-).

    Commenter
    Adzz
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    July 08, 2013, 1:18PM
    • I agree with Adzz, I've also noticed the overuse of the words Canberra and saying such as 'ours' or 'were'...well it's Canberra's and Yours, you don't live here. I hope that reach rules are lifted and WIN is merged with someone that's better equipped, able and willing to offer Canberra our own news service from our own city or maybe it's time that Southern Cross or Prime7 take advantage of this situation and offer a truly local news program being broadcast from their networks facilities in Watson.

      Commenter
      Monash Man
      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 3:04PM
  • Wollongong's revenge!

    For sometime after regional commercial TV aggregation in 1989 - yes that's what they called it - They had a Ten 'Capital' station in Wollongong - the very name must have annoyed the locals.

    Guess where they read the Wollongong news on that station - yes - Watson ACT.

    What goes around comes around.

    Commenter
    saddington
    Location
    Canberra and Wollongong
    Date and time
    July 08, 2013, 1:58PM
    • Amy is easier on the eyes and ears then cheesy Greg Thomson.

      Commenter
      anyfella
      Date and time
      July 08, 2013, 1:58PM
      • I see the Tuggeranong Valley Council is running a petition to have the WIN TV News returned to Canberra. I have added my name and I suggest others do the same. See www.tuggcc.com

        Commenter
        Kambah Kid
        Location
        Kambahland
        Date and time
        July 08, 2013, 2:29PM
        • I call it the WIN TV "No Name" Canberra News . It looks like the Canberra News, it sounds like Canberra News, it feels like Canberra News.......but we all know its really not the "Canberra News"........its a generic news service.

          Commenter
          Another Grumpyoldfart
          Date and time
          July 08, 2013, 2:41PM
          • Has anyone noticed that all commercial female newsreaders look the same?

            Commenter
            JMGC
            Location
            Weston Creek
            Date and time
            July 08, 2013, 3:59PM
            • Yes, it's difficult not to notice! Why, exactly, do Australian tv networks believe that viewers need these Barbie-presenters? What's wrong with older presenters who have long dispensed with their training wheels and bring an air of authority? I guess there's only so much you can do if your job is merely to read the news, but Peter Leonard was a popular and respected Canberran, and American news networks have had their heavy-weight 'anchors' such as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Peter Jennings. Perhaps employers like WIN don't pay enough to attract anyone other than the young up-and-comings?

              Commenter
              Karina
              Location
              Belconnen
              Date and time
              July 08, 2013, 4:21PM
          • Wouldn't think of calling the writer "'an apologist for WIN", but I would say that he seems to have the disregard for TV reporting that some print journos have. Wonder how he'd feel if the Times was written here, but the admin, printing and what not happened somewhere else? (See: Macquarie Press out of Dubbo and its control of rural newpapers throughout NSW). Fact is that locals do care about where their news comes from and this could be the start of the "down-sized" rip and read style of new broadcasting. Better to speak up now and sign the petition.

            Commenter
            YS
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            July 08, 2013, 8:35PM
            • Someone please tell them that Canberra and NSW do not have school holidays at the same time and that we are not yet in the second week of school holidays, as stated in their news break tonight. It's the lack of attention to details like these that's going to see viewers changing the channel.

              Commenter
              Sp
              Date and time
              July 08, 2013, 9:26PM

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