Wollongong’s WIN News justifies its existence

I have become a regular WIN News watcher. Their Wollongong-produced local news is a very good service. Mind you, The Gong is where Canberra, the Riverina and the Central West news services also originate. All the bulletins are, I am told, put together at WIN’s Wollongong studio between 4.30 and 7.00 pm. The blend is usually seamless though one does notice that a story purporting to be local to Wollongong has actually been made in Canberra, say, or Orange or Wagga….

Last night though our local WIN really scored.

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Local anchor Geoff Phillips sat down for an exclusive one on one with Bluescope CEO Paul O’Malley. You can find the interview on Facebook. ”We’ll have the reaction from key stake holders in WIN News tomorrow night from 7pm.”

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This is a big national story as well as a local one. Geoff Phillips was forensic in his questioning and indeed asked pretty much all the questions we wanted asked. Paul O’Malley’s answers were so smooth I did wonder if he had been furnished with the questions ahead of time, but it has to be said also that he came across well.

Much is at stake for the Illawarra Region. See for example this analysis from ABC.

After almost 90 years of operation, through numerous gyrations of the economic cycle, Port Kembla’s last remaining blast furnace is facing a distinctly bleak future.

In current conditions the BlueScope Steel operation is uneconomic.

Even the recent collapse of the iron ore price doesn’t help that much as steel prices are falling too….

BlueScope’s refusal to guarantee a future for steelmaking at Port Kembla, coupled with a desire to slash costs by around $50 a tonne – or around $125 million annually – has seen a flurry of broker research published on the subject.

Activist investors – such as Sandon Capital – have also stepped up, agitating for change and the closure of the Port Kembla blast furnace.

Credit Suisse’s highly regarded analyst Michael Slifirski was blunt, saying Port Kembla was “a strategic asset, but not as a steel mill” and, at current prices, losses appear to extend well beyond exports…

See also

WIN News last night was a must see, and I suggest the follow-up discussion tonight will be too.

There is quite a controversial campaign around local television lately. See It’s our voice – Join the campaign to save regional media. Not everyone is impressed: Save Our Voices campaign: Save us the selfish voices.

You may have noticed broadcast adverts in the past week or so promoting a Save Our Voices campaign.

It says regional newsrooms are at risk and people living outside the big cities may not have their stories told in the future.

It is a gross exaggeration…

The 12 daily papers and many websites we have across regional Queensland and northern New South Wales, including this site, have bright futures.

They are essential to local businesses and to readers.

Yes, the industry is grappling with change, but it is wrong to say regional people won’t have a voice. We are committed and the strong will survive.

The Save Our Voices campaign is an attempt to get a review of the TV reach rule, which prevents a free-to-air broadcaster such as Nine from having access to more than 75% of the national audience.

If that is broken down, regional broadcasters such as Win and Prime could be bought by the big boys. Is Nine going to be more committed to your town than a regional broadcaster?

The Save Our Voices campaign is broadcasters’ selfish way of looking after their own interests at the expense of anyone else in this game. They are not providing balanced coverage of the issues…

Media Watch had an item on 31 August:

A fierce war has erupted between the national networks and their regional cousins. Prime, WIN, Southern Cross and Imparja have recently launched a political campaign to change the media laws. But now Seven has hit back with a campaign of its own to oppose reform.

Whatever one thinks of all this I repeat my commendation of WIN. And it is rather nice that one can now and again chat personally with Geoff Phillips should he, as he sometimes does, call by City Diggers at lunchtime.

PB110083

City Beach Wollongong

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