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Bill Ralston: A lively life in TV news...

Interview – 2011

Bill Ralston has had a long, varied, and sometimes controversial career in New Zealand's media. He joined South Pacific Television as a news reporter in 1979 and went on to become political correspondent for TVNZ in the era of Muldoon and Lange. Moving to TV3, Ralston was the channel’s Political Editor and hosted a current affairs slot on their nightly news bulletin. Ralston joined the Nightline team and later hosted popular panel discussion show The Ralston Group, then arts/media series [email protected]. In 2003 he became Head of News and Current Affairs for TVNZ.

In this ScreenTalk, Ralston talks about:

  • Reporting from the midst of a riot during the Springbok Tour of 1981
  • Learning how to tackle former PM Rob Muldoon in press conferences
  • The drama of covering the split between former PM David Lange and Roger Douglas
  • How The Ralston Group was successfully modelled on a similar show in the US
  • Bringing politics to the art world in the show [email protected]
  • How a fight with TV executives brought about the demise of the show
  • Facing budget cuts after becoming TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs
  • Being flummoxed by the furore over newsreader Judy Bailey’s salary
  • Acknowledging that there is no true objectivity in the media

This video was first uploaded on 9 August 2011, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

I don't believe there is any true objectivity in journalism, everybody is biased to an extent by their background, by their education, by their own personal beliefs. The hardest thing to do as a journalist is to try and remain as objective as you can be.
– Bill Ralston discusses the role of bias in journalism