Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Has 3News Shrunk Its Own Head?

Over the last few days, I've noticed two news agencies attaching incorrect photographs to their on-line stories ( and 3News).
3News is a New Zealand tv company reporting a NZ story. So it puzzles me why this error was made: I would not have expected such a mistake, in a story from one's own country.
But not to rest on its dubious laurels, 3News did it again yesterday!
This time the story was of international significance: the return to NZ of shrunken maori heads (= toi moko, the maori term for the tattoo and the head that bears it). Under the headline 'Maori heads returned after French senator's fight' we read:
"Twenty Maori heads taken from NZ more than 200 years ago are finally on their way home after an emotional ceremony in Paris...the repatriation is largely thanks to French senator Catherine Morin-Desailly who personally campaigned for five years for the return of the toi moko...".
So far, so good. But then...the illustration.
3News used this picture >, a 19th Century image of a maori woman (or wahine) with facial tattoo (moko). But why use her image to illustrate the story? Hers was not a head that was removed and shrunk. Instead, why not post a pic of the actual subject, a shrunken head? This
< particular image has been widely used by other media - but not this time by 3News!
And the picture's caption reads:
"A French senator fought for five years to change the law so the toi moko could be returned." Why then did 3News not use a picture of Catherine Morin-Desailly herself? > After all, she seems to be the hero of the hour, and the 19th century maori woman was not a French senator!
Fair go, 3News! Surely you can't be in that much of a rush, that you can't get it right! Or should your slogan now be: 'See it first...then get accurate news elsewhere'?


Timespanner said...

Not that I'm trying to defend TV3 on this one, but -- that image appeared as one of a number of large images displayed around a stage and ceremonial tangi as shown in the televised news item itself, supposedly something to do with the return of the heads. The question is -- what have those four or five images (the woman shown was but one of them) got to do with the participants in that ceremony and, I would suppose, the returning heads themselves? Some iwi/whakapapa connection?

Writer Of The Purple Sage... said...

That MAY have been a possible (though nebulous) link...if so, then 3News should have captioned the picture thus.
Questions, questions...not answered by the story. Thus, an inadequate story.

Timespanner said...

I do agree with you -- it would have been great if there was more of an explanation behind those background images. I suppose they thought "We can't show the heads, because of tapu, so -- we'll show a Maori face instead, because it was there." Quite sloppy, really. Now folks will think one of the heads was of that woman ...