ITV is exploiting young journalist hopefuls in The Exclusives
So, they say this is the era of the ‘exclusive’: that elusive media term that somehow insinuates images of tabloid reporters pumping only the finest in mindless celeb gossip down the gullets of their unsuspecting readers. But, of course, not all media is awful – we have the wonder that is ITV. Perhaps, then, it’s gracious of them to have set themselves the task of finding the next generation in ‘journalistic talent’, commissioning the ever so insightful The Exclusives – a weekly showcase of idiocy in the service of media fame that somehow seems engaging amongst the rest of the ITV schedule. I know, it’s an odd thought isn’t it?
In case you’re actually sane, and haven’t watched The Exclusives yet, the whole programme sees 6 desperate young writers hit the offices of Bauer Media in an attempt to see who can humiliate themselves the most as they’re hurled into candid interviews with their idols. Of course, this being ITV, there’s an element of competition involved – every week, the writers are pitted against each other as they go in search of the biggest scoop, something that all too annoyingly parallels the real media world. But I’m not going to spend this entire column moaning about how poor the whole affair is, instead, I thought I’d challenge the big-don-mans of ITV to a battle of morals. After all, I’m in the same game as these poor sods, and as much the journalistic hopeful as they are.
I guess I feel like I have to stand up for the mugs, I shouldn’t, because, well, quite frankly they’re all horrendous. But in telly-land of course it’s not about your career, it’s about finding those that are the most entertaining. So, before I start stabbing myself in the face with the nib of my biro, let’s get a few things straight. Surviving in the media world is difficult, and being given an opportunity to explode your career on TV isn’t something even the scabbiest of younguns’ let pass without consideration. Because a world with money and fame seems an all round better prospect than surviving off LIDL’s basics.
What we have to ask, is why ITV are more than happy to commission programmes that exploit younguns’ careers for a bit of easy schedule-filler? I know the starry-eyed world of the media industry is one that seems appealing, and yes, the varnish of free booze and big parties are just enough to make the whole affair seem palatable. But since when, in any working establishment, was a commissioner allowed to bastardise the personalities of a bunch of kids – ripping apart their back stories in the hope of pulling together a vaguely interesting backstory? ITV commissioners are notoriously vampiric, but are they really that de-sensitised to humanity that, when the promise of a big buck looms, they’ll let a production company tout the prospect of fame as an excuse to debase a bunch of aspirational dears? After all, this is – as the programme makes clear – the last-chance-saloon for most of them, and ambitions towards any kind of stable career are a distant dream. TV seems a somehow shinier affair than a life spent on street corners, kicking the ground in stolen trainers, clutching at a can of dirt-cheap cider.
Maybe I’m getting this all wrong, maybe there’s a deeper message to it all. Maybe the whole thing’s a deep, powerful docu-drama into the exploits of the media industry, profiled through the perspectives of 6 undercover reporters. Something commissioned with the aim of setting alight social networks with a buzz of comments about media instability, regulation, Leveson et al. Then again, this is ITV.Tagged in: Bauer Media, itv, journalism, journalists, kerrang, last chance saloon, leveson, media, reporter, talent, television, the exclusives, tv
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