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Farewell Guyon

By Steven | May 7, 2019

I’m sorry to see Guyon depart the presenter’s chair on RNZ’s Morning Report. I think he’s one of the best interviewers RNZ has ever had. He is well-informed, thoughtful and persistent. He consistently asks good questions and presses for answers. He is fearlessly independent. And I salute his use of te reo Maaori, which always gives me a little squirt of pride. He was part of a great team with Susie Ferguson.

He’s also right that it’s his job to interrupt sometimes, even if some listeners don’t appreciate it. These days, politicians and spokespeople are coached by savvy media trainers in how to run out the clock on awkward interviews rather than answer difficult questions.

One of the lesser-known theories supporting free speech is that is promotes “the Checking Function”. This suggests that people in power are worried about being publicly exposed through hard questions and diligent journalism, and it’s that fear that keeps them honest. When I was studying in the US, I used to tell people that one of the terrific things about NZ was that, when something went wrong, the relevant government minister was basically obliged to front up on Morning Report the next day and answer questions about it. Sadly, that’s not so true today. But we should not underestimate the importance of the daily Checking Function that is Morning Report, and correspondingly, the importance of the quality and ethics of the interviewers.

No pressure, Corin Dann.

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