It is said by men everywhere that there is one way to be woken up in the morning that surpasses all others. I disagree, it is overrated and annoying. I prefer a cup of coffee in the morning. Whatever. So today we awoke without the horror of an Elgum-TNT in our rear view mirror and unusually, something to look forward to on a Friday.
As always, my job is to present an honest unbiased retrospective as we digest yesterdays TNT. The reviews came in by the fans and they were glowing. Fan favorite Sarah Lane kept to the Lgum-format so as not to humiliate the current host and in so doing stayed classy for San Francisco. This editorial decision highlighted what a talented host can fix and what a talented host can not fix within the current confines of the TNT structure. The energy was high with lots of pep by Lane and equally perky co-host Hu, they made the broadcast easy to listen to. Jason, who can get along with anyone, was noticeably happier having Lane in the captain’s chair. A particular remnant of the new-and-unimproved-TNT remained and held the broadcast back. An unassailable issue with having journalists as guests is….. they can suck.
TWiT did not invent broadcast news programs and something learned long ago was that not every great writer is a great guest. The Beijing correspondent was boring and again, not every guest can be resurrected with a good host. Peter Kafka is one of my favorite writers but when he appears on TNT, it feels like my fingernails are being pulled out using a rusty pair of tweezers.
Next Issue: Selecting and covering the in-depth story(s) on all tech news shows is paramount and where Merritt of Daily Tech News Show shines. This one facet is what breaks or makes shows. The key, finding what to talk about. This is why preparing a news show is not just summarizing headlines.
As an example, let us examine the story of the new social network Ello. So what? What is interesting? A new social network that doesn’t want to do ads, is that it? The host/producer preparation must be to hone in on what people will want talk about, what the buzz is, and start that conversation. This is why Elgum preparing a show alone at 4AM, without someone to bounce things off of and see what is interesting is a monumental mistake. Another thing Merritt would do is monitor the IRC to see if something he missed got the audience abuzz. This is why a consistent everyday co-host, preferably in studio, is the best option. Back to Ello and finding an interesting angle to discuss with your guest: How can any new social network overcome the problem of not being where the people are, is it even possible to succeed or is Facebook the foreseeable undisputed champ? If Ello flourishes will they be able to turn down billions of dollars in ad revenue, can any human do that when push comes to shove? Basically, the hosts job is to find one of the quintessential talking points.
It is certainly to early to tell how TNT will fare in 2015 and who knows if late sleeper Lane will have them dump TNT and keep TN2 when the Gum departs Petaluma. It is silly to speculate but I am betting the 5’0 blond is up to the task.
Update: Based on comments, author changed ‘Broadcast Journalism’ to ‘Broadcast News Program’