Telum Talks To: Mark Crysell from TVNZ's Sunday

Telum Talks To: Mark Crysell from TVNZ's Sunday

By Cindy Paskalina Kweesar

Telum Media spoke to Mark Crysell, a Reporter for Sunday on TVNZ, about his journey into journalism, how the industry has changed over the years, and his mentors along the way.

Can you describe your journey into journalism? What inspired you to pursue this career?
I was a late starter, waiting until I was 29 to become a journalist. I'd done a long and extensive OE, working in loads of different manual labour jobs in NZ and overseas, including fencing, truck driving on Taranaki's Think Big projects, prospecting for gas and oil, and drilling for diamonds and gold. I loved listening to BBC World radio while travelling and thought "that's a bit of me" being in the middle of stuff when it's happening and telling stories. I applied for a Broadcast Journalism Diploma at the Christchurch Broadcasting School, and they gave me a crack.

What key changes have you witnessed in journalism over the years, and how have they affected your work?
The internet is an awesome research tool, and I have no idea how we found or contacted people before cell phones and email. The cameras and lenses we use today are extraordinary, editing digitally has sped up the whole process of getting stories to air, and our stories are far more visually rich than they used to be. But the biggest change is fewer journalists being asked to do more with less in smaller newsrooms, while servicing more outlets.

How do you approach selecting and pitching stories for coverage?
TV current affairs works on an emotional level. I always look at a story and think, how does it move me? Does it make me angry, sad, happy? Who are the characters, the real people at the centre? Then we pull out and look at the big picture.

Have there been any specific role models or mentors who have influenced your reporting style or career path?
I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson but didn't quite have the constitution. The best thing about TV current affairs is working as a team, and you're only as good as the people you work with. Don Carson gave my start at RNZ as a Rural Reporter. TV producers Colin McCrae and Chris Harrington taught me so much when I first started in current affairs. It was amazing to work alongside reporters like Rob Harley, Cameron Bennett, Miriama Kamo, and Janet McIntyre, and with producers like Julia Sartorio, Louisa Cleave, and Briar McCormack (who's now my wife!).

The Sunday team we have now, led by EP Jane Skinner, is as good as any I've worked with over the past 20 years. I love the TV writing of Irishman Fergal Keane and British / German Matt Frei, but it's important to find your voice and not be frightened to use it.

How do you see the future of journalism evolving, and what potential trends or issues do you anticipate?
We need to go where the audience is, and that's digital now, but what does that mean for our lovingly crafted 20-minute linear TV stories? Do they become shorter? Snackable? Our TV audience is a cross-section of all New Zealanders. Will it be as broad online when people are able to curate what they watch in line with their own political and cultural tastes? We'll adapt and embrace the challenge of change as we always do, but strong, compassionate storytelling will remain at the heart of Sunday's kaupapa.

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Mark Crysell

TVNZ 1 Sunday - CEASED MAY 2024

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