By Chris Carl, RTDNA Chairman
I don't know if you've heard, but Anchorman 2 makes its debut in theaters today. (They really should have done more publicity for this film.)
I have been lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the eagerly anticipated sequel. (How did I do that? Well, I don't know how to say this, but I'm kinda a big deal. I mean, I have many leather bound books and suits so fine I make Sinatra look like a hobo.)
If you liked the first Anchorman, you'll like Anchorman 2. To me, it felt as if I was being reunited with a bunch of friends I haven't seen in long time. And while there are a ton of funny lines, the movie also has an underlying message that we as broadcast and digital journalists should take to heart.
In an attempt to get ratings for his new 24-hour news cable channel show, Ron Burgundy asks "Why do we have to tell viewers what they need to hear? Why can't we just tell them what they want to hear?" The result: endless stories about puppies and how the USA is the best country in the world. When needing another ratings boost, the news team decides to send everyone's favorite weatherman Brick Tamland into the field - even if the weather isn't that bad, and to start televising car chases.
It's an obvious shot (with a trident) at what passes for news these days. And while we can't dismiss the importance ratings have to our livelihoods, I do think it's important for us to remember that we need to tell our viewers, listeners and readers what they need to know and not just what they want to know. And with some stories, we may need to take a little extra time to explain why it's important and how it will affect them. Not every story can be about a cat fashion show.
I'll resist the urge to end this by telling you to "Stay classy." Now, back to practicing my non-regional diction, working on my arms and back, and I may take up this new thing called jogging. Or it might be pronounced yogging - it might be a soft j. Whammy!
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