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I'm pretty much a news junkie. I have the BBC website up while I'm at work, and at home the radio is permanently on. You absorb an awful lot of news stories that way; and just sometimes, having all that news at your fingertips make life seem, I dunno, slightly less real. I've started to find that I can
guess the gist of most news items from the first few words and the announcer's tone of voice. You can always tell if it's bad news or good before they actually come out and say it, for example. And if they start with someone's name who's not a head of state, then it's gonna be an obituary.
But all too often I've found I can guess the direction a story's going to go by asking myself a simple question, which is this:
If I were a newspaper editor, what would I like to happen next?
That sounds really dumb, but if you exclude the silly options (A volcano erupting in the kitchen, or the Earth being invaded by giant crabs made of plasticine) it makes a kind of sense. I mean, a story is all about what people do in extreme conditions (terrorists hijacking your personal plane, green goo starting to run down your walls, etc, etc) - and what's the news if not stories about people in extreme situations?
So here's what we do: we get a bunch of scriptwriters in, and they're given a ten-minute slot at the end of the news programme to predict tomorrow's news, purely on the basis of what would make the BEST STORY EVER.
There's a (slightly) more serious point here, too. Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I get the impression that the news has been decided ahead of time - that the editors, etc., have already decided what they think, and how they're going to spin the story, and the facts are just kind of incidental (and easy to ignore if they're not going your way). Hopefully, this Future News will provide a sort of weird "Gold Standard of Fictional News" - if your news outlet starts sounding a bit like Future News (TM), then it might be time to look for something else...
lets follow Gary Glitter around the globe for the rest of his life
[po, Nov 21 2005]
||I guess you don't get The Daily Show over there. Sort of Not The Nine O'Clock News, but presented seriously. And the Colbert Report (pron. the French way, in full accordance with HB precepts) takes it one step in a different direction, a riff on the abuse of news by the major news channels.
||Well, I don't have a TV at the mment, but obviously I'm aware of news satire programs - Brass Eye, Broken News, etc. I dunno about this Daily Show, I just think it would be interesting to get scriptwriters and editors talking on screen about what would be the perfect next twist in the latest story - and see how often they get it right.
||We do get the daily show over here. It's usually very funny. Can't remember which channel but it's on (every day I think!) at about 7pm.
||I think it would be an excellent. From my experience with many other facets of life and media, such predictability is rampant and by observing it, one can form accurate theories about the underlying phenomena.
Okay so I just wanted to say, 'phenomena.'
||You've been getting your news off of FOX again, haven't you?