Sad news this morning: After giving the matter nearly 30 seconds of thought, I have decided against entering either the Gazette-Times or the Democrat-Herald into NBC’s nationwide search for a small-town newspaper to feature in a reality television show.
Now, it’s true that NBC didn’t reach out to us specifically to ask us to participate. And I think it’s likely that NBC is looking at smaller papers — specifically, community weeklies, which tend to collect eccentric characters on their staffs — for its show.
NBC said recently that more than 150 newspapers had responded to its call for newspapers to apply.
According to a story last week in The New York Times, newspapers have been eager to pitch different story angles to the network, including editors talking about their struggles to survive (now, that would be feel-good TV) and newspaper staffs eager to show off their talents.
The Times reported that one North Carolina newspaper staff submitted a video of its staff performing a parody of the hit song “Call Me Maybe,” later updated to feature “Gangnam Style” moves. To be honest, I can’t think of how this is a good idea on any level, and if I recall correctly, I think parodying “Call Me Maybe” actually may be against company policy. It can be difficult to keep up with all the changes in the employee handbook.
I could use this space to bemoan the fact that our primary goal now as a nation appears to be to figure out ways to get on TV, but I fear that would make me sound cranky and old-fashioned.
What the heck.
I’m not convinced that our national obsession to find a way for every single one of us eventually to land our own reality show is a healthy development. (While I’m thinking about this, remember Peter Weir’s 1998 movie “The Truman Show?” Doesn’t seem nearly so far-fetched today, does it?)
And people who believe that reality TV actually represents “reality” need a quick lesson in the art of film editing.
In any event, a real show about newsrooms today would probably seem remarkably similar to a show about any office, in that it would quickly devolve into a succession of scenes set at budget meetings, followed by artfully edited montages in which reporters and editors try to figure out what to do with the daily deluge of emails. Why would you watch that? It’s just like your work life, only with harsher deadlines.
So count us out of the hunt for NBC’s show.
Besides, we’re holding out for the offer from HBO: We’ll need the artistic freedom pay cable allows, if only to accommodate the profanity. (mm)