The media event: the future of television in New Zealand


  • Bronwyn E. Beattie University of Otago



With the fragmentation of the audience in the digital mediascape, television broadcasters are looking for ways to strengthen their brand and secure strong ratings. This article argues that media events, especially news events, are used by television broadcasters to promote journalistic cultural authority. The core elements of the media event genre (liveness, immediacy, intimacy, dramatic imagery) match the values of the medium, making the news event particularly powerful in its effect. Because of this alignment between medium and genre, and the genre’s ability to attract large audiences, media events demonstrate the relevance of television as a broadcast medium and therefore its potential longevity within the digital mediascape. The Christchurch Earthquake on 22 February 2011 is used as a case study to reveal how TVNZ and TV3 pursued brand recognition through the journalistic cultural authority they could obtain by providing prompt, dramatic and informative rolling coverage to their audiences.