As a self-confessed news junkie, I’m looking forward to tonight’s premiere of Australian comedian Charlie Pickering’s new show on the ABC, The Weekly. The Weekly promises “a half-hour news comedy exposing the humorous, the absurd and the downright hypocritical, 24/7, once a week.”
With news having become so ubiquitous in our everyday lives, not only on TV, but online and mobile, pop culture has discovered the TV newsroom as a treasure trove for satire. It’s not only the ambitions of the network presenters that Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate portrayed in the Anchorman movies. Over in the UK, Charlie Brooker took a swipe at the typical ‘formula’ of the news report for the BBC Four, mocking the serious voice-over, animated infographics, talking heads and at times random use of B-roll. If you haven’t watched Brooker’s Newswipe How to Report the News, it’s a bit dated but still hilarious:
Of course there is a more serious take-away from these programs. Television has very different requirements from print and online news – it’s all about visual story telling. First and foremost, for PR practitioners that means ensuring that their story pitches lend themselves to the TV format. While the organisation’s spokesperson needs to be well trained for on-camera interviews, especially if it is airing live, other items on the checklist include availability of B-roll and infographics as well as supplementary spokespeople such as customers, employees or community members to provide additional viewpoints if requested. And be prepared to get out of bed early, TV journalists on the morning shows start at the crack of dawn!
Episode 1 of The Weekly airs tonight on the ABC 1 at 8:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), hashtag #TheWeekly