I’ve been away from the office for a couple of weeks recently. It’s given me an opportunity to consume our ABC news coverage more like an audience member than a staff member.
And as I sat there listening, watching and reading, I began to develop a nervous twitch.
It happened every time I came across one of those annoying clichés that infect our work. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another.
So I’m taking a stand. Or to be more accurate, I’m making a list.
It’s a list of things I never want to see or hear again. They were bearable the first 7,648 times. Now it’s over.
This is my own personal list. It is not exhaustive. There will be things you may want to add to my list, and I would welcome your emailed suggestions. However, I will entertain no requests to remove anything from my list. It’s my list: you can make your own.
So this is what I never want to see or hear again:
· I never want to see overlay of talent pretending to sit at their computer, typing.
· I never want to see overlay of talent pretending to answer the phone.
· I never want to see that awful, awkward shot where talent walks into reception, pauses to say something forced and meaningless to a hapless receptionist, then walks on.
· I never want to hear about someone dying after a ‘long battle’ with cancer.
· I never want to hear the word ‘meanwhile’ used to join two completely unrelated subjects because the reporter can’t think of another way to do it.
· I never want to see a reporter piece-to-camera that’s only one sentence long. If that’s all you’ve got to say, get off the screen.
· I never want to hear obvious puns used to try to liven up a dull story. Let’s find some interesting facts instead of resorting to cheap wordplay.
· I never want to hear a throw to an interview grab that repeats the words of the grab (“The Minister says he’s outraged”. Take grab: “I’m outraged.”)
· I never want to see a piece-to-camera where people are used in the background as “props”. Crowds – okay. Identifiable individuals – no.
· I never want to see a reporter wearing a hat on camera on Melbourne Cup Day.
Okay, that last one might be taking things a bit too far.
But I feel better now.