Is it a, b, c, d, or, e.tv ... all of the above? It's my humble opinion as a TV critic that e.tv appears to be either too cheap, or either just don't care; or possibly don't realize it's wrong, or don't really think anybody will kick up a fuzz about it - to favour Johannesburg press covering television by having a winter programming launch for press and then deliberately choosing to ignore the Cape Town press contingent covering television by not doing the same in the Mother City. It's frankly very disappointing.
In my view as a TV critic and journalist covering the medium, e.tv is clearly discriminating again press covering television by having a recent winter programming launch at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, while choosing not to have a similar kind of press event in Cape Town, or even trying to make the same information available or giving the same opportunity to ask and put questions to e.tv by the similar - if not stronger - press group based in Cape Town.
Although as many journalists and writers specifically covering television from different platforms and publications are based in Cape Town, e.tv only held one winter programming event in Johannesburg. This is not about sour grapes. It's about a broadcaster placing writers covering television - yes, me included - at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to access to information at what the broadcaster is doing, busy with, and planning to show. It's these publications' readers - and in essence e.tv's potential viewers - who are in the end served less better than what could be the case. They know less because we know less.
Although most of these Cape Town journalists and writers have indeed long ago stopped caring about e.tv to be honest (they're fine with the mostly one-dimensional redux of issued schedules and press releases), I care. When I speak to journalists doing what I do and cover (and I did after e.tv held its press preview) it's clear that they won't and can't be bothered by speaking up or out. Of course I will and do. It surely can't be that difficult for e.tv to invite Cape Town press to a room in Longkloof Studios in Gardens and present the same information as in Melrose Arch, but e.tv doesn't appear to have the inclination, foresight, relational aptitude or will to want to do that.
I'm a journalist covering broadcasters like e.tv. I actually want to know what they do. I'm interested. But it's up to e.tv to manage, maintain and hopefully build relationships with journalists and the press not because they're interested but because it's part of the broadcaster's job. To me its ironic that e.tv does stuff like geographical discrimination that intentionally or unintentionally actually creates the opposite effect of reaching out to press. Favouring one press grouping over another based on geographical location is a textbook example of how not to build goodwill, sustain interest and get coverage for your shows and your channel. And yet it's exactly what e.tv did in my view.
Is it really, really that difficult for a big broadcaster like e.tv to do - when it does do something like a winter programming preview once in a blue moon - to do it like SABC3 regularly does and M-Net from time to time, to have press previews in two cities days after each other, or to fly relevant journalists in to the one event? Fox on TopTV just had a show preview for press in Johannesburg yesterday but told all journalists it is happening, and invited journalists nationally (I didn't go but was told beforehand and was invited) even though Fox surely has a smaller budget than a big broadcaster like e.tv.
After the Johannesburg winter press preview I asked e.tv whether Cape Town press will also get a press preview or get access to the same information, actually suspecting full well that it won't happen. More than a week later since I was told some kind of information should have gone to journalists outside of Johannesburg (as if that somehow equates), I haven't heard from e.tv again on the issue. I won't be pursuing it further. And e.tv shouldn't ponder why as a broadcaster it is that the press covering it - especially from Cape Town - seems less than lukewarm writing about it.
Forgive & Forget? Unlikely. Rather Step Up. Or Step Out.