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ScreenTalk: Bill Ralston

Bill Ralston
Bill Ralston has had a long, varied, and sometimes controversial career in New Zealand media.


In this ScreenTalk interview Bill Ralston talks about his long, varied, and sometimes controversial career in the New Zealand 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 the popular panel discussion show The Ralston Group, then the arts/media series Backch@t. In 2003 he became Head of News and Current Affairs for TVNZ.

In this interview, Ralston also 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 Backch@t
  • How a fight with TV executives brought about the demise of the show
  • Finding it hard going, becoming the Head of TVNZ 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 is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence

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