Media have got caught up in the idea that Hilary Barry is a Princess Of The People for New Zealand TV. But I think they need to keep their feet closer to the ground. Hype about Hilary leaving MediaWorks is the backdrop to the crisis that led to the exit of Mark Weldon and is very relevant because her resignation brought maters to a head. No doubt “the mate of the nation” has a story to tell on her reasons for leaving, but so far she has not told. Maybe the juicy bits will come out in a woman’s magazine feature in the future. With limited facts media have pulled out woman’s magazine gush.
But I wonder about the claims that Barry is universally “loved” by New Zealanders. She is a very good newsreader, has a natural style that is perfect for Paul Henry’s breakfast show. But if you look at the viewer numbers, you would conclude that Wendy Petrie is much more “:beloved” than Hilary Barry. But that is nonsense too. Some in the media love is due to her personal flourishes – the genuine tears when her mate John Campbell left TV3 (at a time when many staff at TV3 were overwrought with stress).
Love, Love, Love
Media reports also loved her Paul Henry style giggling fit. But what does it mean exactly when we “love” a newsreader. I get the Judy Bailey “Mother of the Nation.” thing. From my memory very kiwi tongue-in cheek kiwi kind of way. (Maybe a readers can tell me who first used the line) Hilary has been unofficially been given the title “mate to the nation,” apparently, because fans find her ease to relate to. There is a valid unwritten story in the reasons why MediaWorks allowed one of its star performers to go out contract allowing her to leave easily with just one months notice, and apparently with no additional restraint of trade. How did Hilary manage that? Meantime, this “love” thing makes me feel uneasy. Earlier this week one online entertainment reporter this week put hands on hips and declared ” if you don’t love Hilary Barry its because you have not being paying attention.” Here’s another pearl of wisdom. “If you love Hilary, let her go.”