A. Tolson the author of the book titled ‘Televised chat and the synthetic personality1’ has argued on numerous occasions that chat-based programming is oriented toward the personal, it features wit and humour, and the risk of transgression underlines talk.2
Personally, I believe that each chat based program is different. Some programs may host all of these elements when others may host one or two; however in saying that, I also believe that a great chat-based program must hold all three elements. A good example of this is the program Sunrise which features on Channel Seven between 6am and 9am.
Throughout the 5 – 10 minute recording of Sunrise I got to examine three different sections of the program including, hard news, the cash cow segment and soft news. All of which hosted one or more of the elements stated by Tolson. For example, the cash cow segment hosted both humour and wit. The humour within this segment was produced by someone dressing up as the ‘cash cow’ and the Sunrise presenters dancing. The use of Humour was also evident within the soft news (entertainment) section of the chat-based program. The section included a broadcast ‘piece to camera’1 in which Fifi Box summarised and gave information regarding the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s show ‘Smash’. During this segment jokes were made, claiming that ‘Smash’ was an adult version of ‘Glee’ and also regarding the good looking appearances of the male cast.
There are two underlining types of wit that can be performed and these are quip and repartee3. Quip is an observation that has some wit but perhaps descends into sarcasm; whereas a repartee is the wit is a quick answer or capping comment4. The use of wit, repartee, was conducted by presenter Melissa when she conducted a conversation with the winner of the $10 000 prize. For example, the winner asked the presenter if they were joking about the cash prize, without any hesitation Mel stated “No, we are not joking, you have won money a large amount of money”. This was perceived as both a clever and humorous response.
This short recording of Sunrise did not evidently host a risk of trangression but that’s not to say the rest of the program did not. In fact, every News chat-based program has the potential for the risk of transgression to underline its talk. Transgression refers to the violation of the law. In the past chat-based programs, including Sunrise, have been in trouble for transgression. For example, according to an article written by Gary Hughes on News.com, in 2006 some of Australia’s best know media identities, including Sunrise presenters Melissa Doyle and David Koch, faced court in Melbourne on criminal charges that carry a maximum term of two year in jail5. The charges related to a story being published in Melbourne’s Sunday Morning Herald about a 14-year-old boy (who was named) who took action through the Children’s court to divorce his mother6. Identifying the name of a child involved in a Children’s Court proceeding is prohibited under the Victorian Children and Young Person Act7.
As a presenter, in this context, you would need to know and do quite a bit in order to enter the TV world and be successful in the professional. This can include elements such as;
- A presenter must familiarise, if haven’t already studied, the Media Alliance Code of Ethics for those who inform and entertain.8 These can be found at http://www.alliance.org.au/code-of-ethics.html
- Possess a high level of communication skills and knowledge whether it is professional communication, marketing or journalism. These qualifications will increase the chances of entering the Television world and also help throughout the duration within the professional.9
- It is sometime very hard to distinguish this, but a presenter within the context will need a ‘good personality’. As you have read above a presenter needs wit and humour as well as the ability to convey a mood that compliments the current story. For example, if the story is sad or on a more serious not than the presenter should not be laughing. This can be achieved by personality development courses and language courses because it’s not all about what you say but how you say it that matters. Presenters needs to have good dictation, pronunciation, enunciation, elaborating skills and the way they conduct themselves whether it be dress, walk or talk.10
- Presenters must exude energy and eagerness within a chat-based program. Viewers will not sit and watch three hours of a chat-based program if the presenters cannot infuse energy and eagerness into the show they present because it becomes boring. When a chat-based show has presenters that have lots of energy and can see they are eager to be there then it becomes infectious and encourages the audience to feel the same way.11
1Kate, Ames 2012, COMM12033: Speech Communication, study guide, CQU, Gladstone.
3Wikipedia, “Wit”, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wit (accessed August 25, 2012)
5G, Hughes, “TV stars front court” news blogs, http://blogs.news.com.au/news/crime/index.php/news/comments/tv_stars_front_court/ (accessed August 27, 2012)
8Media Entertainment and Art Alliance, “Media Alliance Code of Ethics for those who inform and entertain”, Media Alliance, http://www.alliance.org.au/code-of-ethics.html (accessed August 27, 2012).
9Natalie Walker comment on “How to become a talk show host/ tv presenter” Natalie Walker Blog, comment posted on March 04, 2010, http://timewithnatalie.com/how-to-go-about-becoming-a-tv-presenter/ (accessed August 25, 2012).
Ames, Kate 2012 ,COMM12033: Speech Communication, study guide, CQUniversity, Gladstone.
Hughes, G, “TV stars front court, news blogs, http://blogs.news.com.au/news/crime/index.php/news/comments/tv_stars_front_court/ (accessed August 27, 2012)
Media Entertainment and Art Alliance, “Media Alliance Code of Ethics for those who inform and entertain”, Media Alliance, http://www.alliance.org.au/code-of-ethics.html (accessed August 27, 2012).
Natalie Walker Blog, http://timewithnatalie.com/how-to-go-about-becoming-a-tv-presenter/ (accessed August 25, 2012).
Wikipedia, “Wit”, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wit (accessed August 25, 2012).