For PNG journalism to succeed and earn admiration, we need “writers”

ABC Foreign Correspondent Journalist Eric Campbell

Saturday, February 3, 2018


I watched Foreign Correspondent on Australian ABC TV tonight.

Journalist Eric Campbell took me on a journey to Greenland exploring the ice capped region that’s going through enormous climate change effects.

ABC Foreign Correspondent Journalist Eric Campbell

One of them,  fishermen are able to catch more fish to sell and earn money.

The ice there is melting.

His storyboard  took me on a journey that’s kept me hooked and glued from start to finish.

And I understood the story real well.

I didn’t realise I was watching a 30mins documentary until it ended.

It felt like a 5 mins piece.

This documentary, in my reflection challenges the content programers of TV stations in PNG to develop such.

A PNG television advertisement for a biscuit

I want to be frank and assertive,  we lack the ability to “write” and tell a good story using the most appropriate words to create a hook,  deliver a punch and hold an audience through out.

We need to articulate and dissect in a logical manner that  takes an audience through out the story without them losing interest or being left confused anywhere in between.

I began on my  journey in 2015 to produce documentaries like that of Foreign Correspondent or Nines “60 Minutes “.

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They inspire me.

Nothing beats it, in my experience I got to be able to “write” well.

And in one of my productions which at least sold me for another job was the “write” up complimented with the choice of voice over.

Today I still feel I am not there yet and I got to do better.

I need to write,  write,  write and rewrite if I were to sell my production.

The second thing which essentially complements my write is the graphics and animations.

But I don’t think I should over do it.

A TV promo spot on ABC TV

Eric Campbell’s producer never did it.

I believe that in TV documentary production, content is the king and layout and design is the queen.

We got to first write well then dress it up beautifully like a queen with graphics, music and animations.

I desire PNG TV newsrooms must emphasise on regular training to write well and produce documentaries or news packages.

We got to start building, before we lose them, another John Eggins, Scott Waide, Frank Kolma and Malum Nalu to name a few.

When people give feedback that they like a news piece or a documentary by Scott Waide or John Eggins,  well their work stand out because they can “write”.

They use the most appropriate words that strike a chord and sends a message that pierces the heart and mind.

I don’t think there is any secrecy to that.

So learning from them let’s start workshopping to write better and another thing that helps us to write better is to read and speak more.

Let us challenge our selves in TV programming to produce documentaries like Foreign Correspondent.

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Not purported documentaries that’s filled with time fillers of music and long grabs.

Control the story in your narration, that’s what Scott Waide told me years ago.

Keep your inserts short at about 4 seconds the least is suffice.

The longer it is,  it kills your story.

Foreign Correspondent subscribed to that production idea too, I confirmed.

PNG television station programers under the news and current affairs division must be serious about developing documentary programs.

We got plenty stories,  we got adequate and affluent audience who are keen in watching documentaries but we aren’t delivering to them.

We need documentary script writers developed and producing programs like Foreign Correspondent.

Time for developing journalism writers is now and let’s produce real PNG documentaries, aired on national television.

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