JEHAN CASINADER

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - THE GRILL -

New Zealand’s men­tal health sys­tem. Dop­ing in sport. Porn ad­dic­tion. Men suf­fer­ing from bu­limia. Men with his­to­ries of sex­ual abuse. TVNZ’s Jehan Casinader is drawn to sto­ries which high­light the com­plex­ity of the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. The me­dia loves he­roes and vil­lains, he says. But in cases like these, “there are a mil­lion shades of grey”.

“Peo­ple don’t want to see per­fect lives. They want to see peo­ple who are a lit­tle bit bro­ken. That’s what al­lows them to re­late,” Casinader says. “It’s like the Leonard Co­hen lyric – there’s a crack in ev­ery­thing, that’s how the light gets in. That sums up my whole ap­proach to this job: look­ing for the cracks – not to fo­cus on them, but to al­low us to get a sense of who that per­son re­ally is, and what’s shaped them.”

The Sun­day correspondent, named Re­porter of the Year at the re­cent New Zealand Tele­vi­sion Awards, says his par­ents re­call him in­form­ing them at age 4 he wanted to be a TV jour­nal­ist.

Now based in Auck­land, the 28-year-old re­mains pas­sion­ate about the medium. “The thing about TV is, you have to be there,” he says.

“If you’re not there, then you don’t get to cap­ture it. That forces us to get in cars and get on planes and sit in peo­ple’s lounges, and be with them while they feel the weight of what they’re do­ing.”

His re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the im­pact of in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy on young Ki­wis prompted an un­ex­pected re­sponse: a let­ter from an 82-year-old woman liv­ing in small-town New Zealand, who said his re­port helped her un­der­stand un­re­solved is­sues in her mar­riage.

“Praise is nice and awards are nice, and rat­ings are nice, but ul­ti­mately, it’s those per­sonal sto­ries that make the job worth­while.”

Welling­ton / Auck­land

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