Friday, May 22, 2009

Attack of the synergy newscast, part deux

Thanks to consultants and beancounters, we now have the ability to dictate to our viewers how they will watch news. Remember, we're in control, and if they want to get the full value of our newscasts they'll gonna have to work at it. None of this vegging out on the couch.

Here is the their view of how a newscast will be digested in the American home... once we get the viewers trained.

We drop in on Joe and Mabel Sixpack, a blue collar family with two teenage children, Bret and Sally. They live in a modest home, and, like many families, sit down to dinner while watching the local newscast anchored by our friends Ken Goodhair and Barbie Botox.

Joe: I don't understand the story we just watched. What actually happened?

Bret: (looking at his iPhone) Hang on, Dad. Let me check the station website.

Mabel: Put that thing down and eat your vegetables.

Sally's phone beeps and she grabs it from the table.

Sally: Hey, this tweet says they'll have more information on the reporter's blog tomorrow.

Joe: What about now?

Sally begins to type. Bret's phone beeps and he passes her a bowl of peas.

Joe: What are you two doing?

Bret: She instant messaged me that she wanted peas.

Mabel: You couldn't have just asked him? And could you please move the laptop to the other end of the table?

Sally: I had it there but the roast was steaming up the screen. And we need it if we're gonna watch the news. Remember, Martha Stewart says that when setting a table to accommodate television news viewing, the laptop goes to the right of vegetable bowl while the weather radio should be within a few inches of the salad fork. And each place setting should have a color coordinated PDA next to the napkin ring.

Joe: How very festive.

Ken Goodhair: Tonight we begin our series on escalator safety we call "Stairway to Death." In part two...

Joe: What happened to part one?

Barbie Botox: ...And if you'd like to see the first part of this series, it is available exclusively to customers of Acme Communications as a free download with every purchase of a ring tone.

Bret: Dad, I need a new phone from Acme.

The weather radio sounds an alarm and we hear the voice of Nick Doppler, the station meteorologist. "This is a tornado watch for the eastern part of Kansas..."

Sally: Assume crash positions!

Joe: But we're in Brooklyn!

Bret: Nick Doppler says you should always prepare.

Bret and Sally grab the laptop, run to the bathroom, jump in the tub, and pull a mattress over their heads.

Ken Goodhair: And if you just got my tweet during the break...

Joe: Hey buddy, I got your tweet right here.

Bret's voice: Dad! We can't get a wi-fi signal in the tub!

Mabel: How are we ever going to find out what's going on in the world? Doesn't anyone have an old fashioned newscast that you can just watch?

Joe grabs the remote.

Joe: Don't worry, honey. Jon Stewart's about to come on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Attack of the synergy newscast, part one

No matter where you work, you're probably undergoing an onslaught by corporate suits, beancounters and consultants telling you that the newscast of the future must incorporate all sorts of technology. That expensive flat screen thing in everyone's living room? Fuhgeddaboudit. Technology will save us all.

With that in mind, the Grape has obtained a copy of a secret demo tape showing what the newscast of the future will look like. In our next post, we'll show you how the powers that be see the viewers of the future...

Announcer: Live! Now! As we speak! Right this minute!... this is I-Missed-It News, with Ken Goodhair and Barbie Botox..

Ken: Tonight, a big development at City Hall. Hello, everyone, and a big shout out to my Facebook friends... I'm Ken Goodhair.

Barbie: And I'm Barbie Botox. No doubt you're at the edge of your seat after reading my latest blog update this afternoon about the goings on at City Hall.

Ken: And if you'd like to read the rest of the lead-in for this story, log on to our website, Meanwhile, let's check in with reporter Jennifer Synergy who is live at City Hall. Jennifer...

Jennifer: Ken, Barbie, good evening. If viewers got my tweets today you know there's a lot going on downtown. By the way, if you sign up as a friend on my MySpace page I'll send you shots from my camera phone of the latest developments. Meanwhile, roll the tape so I can update my blog...


Jennifer voiceover: It was a showdown today at the Mayor's office, as Hizzoner threw down the gauntlet.

Sound Bite/Mayor: We're sending out a text message to all citizens who have signed up for updates. Read it for yourself and then make your decision.

Jennifer voiceover: But that text didn't sit well with one City Councilman, who hit the Mayor with a nasty tweet. I asked him to elaborate.

Sound Bite/Councilman: I think anyone who reads my tweet knows how I feel.

Jennifer standup: Just log in to your Twitter account and you'll get the gist of what the Councilman wants. And there's a link to that tweet on my blog, which is also accessible through my Facebook page if you're one of my friends.

(Crawl across bottom of screen: "Check out the latest on this story on Jennifer's blog, or sign up for her tweets at"

Jennifer voiceover: So it's a standoff at City Hall. I asked the Mayor if there was any room for negotiation. In this exclusive interview, he sounded off.

Sound Bite/Mayor: I'll update the city's website and ask the citizens to email their comments.


Jennifer: So there you have it. Stay close to your computers, cell phones and emergency weather radios as I'll be sending updates as this story progresses. Back to the studio.

Ken: Fascinating story, Jennifer. Thanks for the hard work. (Turning to Barbie) And thanks for your instant message during Jennifer's story. I will be free on Friday night.

Barbie: Great. And if you'd like to read more on Jennifer's story, as well as sign up for the latest baseball scores, home mortgage rates and funny pictures of our staff to be sent to your iPhone, just visit our website.

Ken: And when we come back after the break, we'll take a look at the decline in sales of television sets...