Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WAKE UP New York

It’s all fake.

Visiting Good Morning America was a great experience, and one from which I learned a lot about television media, but quite literally, the whole thing is a show.

My intention is not to come across overly critical, it’s simply to express the inconsistencies in perceived media versus actual production of a television show. Here’s a little bit about what I learned:

Fact: Diane Sawyer is an aging, 60-something year-old woman who looks 40 on camera and 70 up close.

Good Morning America’s winter coat drive is a good PR move for the network reaching to the community in a philanthropic manner, but it may not be as it appears to at-home TV viewers.

Fact: Just before the filming of that segment, production managers brought out racks of coats from the back room as if to make it look more successful that it ought to have been portrayed.

Fact: Yes, the coats were zipped and ironed to perfection. Interesting.

Following to the taping of the segment with President-elect Obama’s White House family-dog selection, the cameraman turned to the production manager and said, “We could not have done that any better.”

Fact: DUH, that’s because the dogs were brought out 10 minutes earlier to get acquainted with the stage, lighting, and the girl scouts who were present to “react” to the dogs and see how the dogs reacted to them.

Two days ago we had the privilege of learning from the media experts at Channel Thirteen where again, I was surprised with my opportunity to sit behind the desk and in front of dozens of news cameras on the set of World Report.

Fact: It’s not easy to look great in front of millions of cameras, be funny, and poised all at the same time, but there are teleprompters. The anchors have aides that change the way they report the news. I only wonder at this point if the jokes are written in for them too...

-Danika Heatherly


  1. I also found it interesting that the show was clearly very staged and that television personalities, even from news shows, work at maintaining their persona. We saw this in how Zac Braff from Scrubs interacted on and off camera. His wittiness and improvisation fit well with his character image on the show. If he had not come out and acted that way, he would not have been as believable as a character and would not have worked to maintain his "image." In the end, it all comes down to the proper marketing, whether it's a person, a coat drive or a show.

    -Jasmine Linabary

  2. Also, Diane Sawyer is a bit of an anomaly in her profession. The comment about her is fascinating, mainly because there are very few women in broadcast media who are as old as she is - which is because older women are not as respected as older men on camera. Male news anchors are allowed to have white hair and wrinkles - it shows wisdom. Female news anchors have to be (or, as Diane does, look) young. Sawyer has to look 40 on camera because that's the only way she can stay in the game - a sad reality of this fake world of television broadcasting. (I know - gloomy, right?)

    -James Spung


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