2 May 2016

Barry quitting TV3 just 'tip of the iceberg'

9:00 am on 2 May 2016

The shock departure of Hilary Barry is a 'huge deal', and just the tip of the iceberg for TV3, a former TV3 current affairs journalist says.

Hilary Barry

Hilary Barry Photo: Twitter: @Hilary_Barry

Barry's resignation from Mediaworks after 23 years is just the latest in a string of high-profile departures from the television broadcaster, including the news chief Mark Jennings earlier this year and John Campbell last year.

Former TV3 employee, Paula Penfold, told Morning Report it's the highest turnover in TV3 history, and newsreader Barry's departure was a huge deal.

"People love her, she is very relatable, she is a very very good newsreader, she is very warm, she has a great wit and intellect."

Fairfax Media's moody shot of their investigative team: Toby Longbottom, Paula Penfold and Eugene Bingham

Former TV3 employee Paula Penfold Photo: supplied

The number of employees who had either been moved on from TV3, or left of their own volition was "vast", she said.

"This has to be the highest turnover in TV3 history. I have been told it might be as high as 25 percent staff turnover at the moment."

Penfold, who is married to Barry's Newshub Live at 6pm co-anchor Mike McRoberts, previously worked on TV3's now axed investigative journalism programme 3D.

There was a deep unhappiness at TV3 and questions needed to be asked about why that was, she said.

"It used to be a place where they prided themselves on their culture, and that has changed drastically. People are either unhappy and leaving on their own will, or there are many many others who have been given the flick."

She said if letting staff go was part of a strategy to move away from news and current affairs then that was a mistake.

There was plenty of people who wanted to sit down at the end of the day and watch the news, and there would be discussion within Mediaworks about why large numbers of staff were leaving, Penfold said.

Other people who have left recently from the news operation include Newsworthy presenter David Farrier, and sports presenter Hamish McKay.

Changes at the network over the past 12 months include the cancellation of investigative news show 3D and a rebranding of the 6pm news to the current Newshub format.

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