Since it’s Easter this weekend, and Duana and I typically record the Show Your Work podcast on Fridays, Duana and I were planning to take a break this week. But we’ve still been pitching story ideas back and forth. And now, because we can’t help ourselves, and because there have been so many good work stories the last few days, we’re thinking of going ahead with the podcast after all, if we can find a time between egg hunts and family gatherings.
The Hollywood Reporter cover story this week is perfect for Show Your Work. It’s the first ever Anchor Roundtable featuring Gayle King, George Stephanopoulos, Jake Tapper, Bret Baier, and Savannah Guthrie. And, of course, the reason this discussion is work porn is because the work of the news anchor has dramatically changed in the last 18 months, profoundly transformed in the last 3 months. Interestingly enough, there are similarities here between those who work in the unscripted non-fiction industry and those whose work is scripted, if you approach both from the perspective that everyone is there to tell the story. The news anchor’s priority is the subject, s/he is the conduit between the subject and the audience. But increasingly, even in the news, perhaps especially when it comes to the news, the audience wants a say. What happens when, as THR asks the anchors, “you feel pressure to walk that line, to take into account the people who want to believe what the president says”?
Does that sound familiar? It’s probably the most-repeated story standard on this site, what Duana taught me in the first year of our friendship: Give them what they NEED, not what they WANT, the guiding principle of storytelling, whether it’s fact or fiction.
The discussion is a good read and if you have time today, I definitely recommend it. But here’s my favourite quote, from Jake Tapper, when the conversation turns to interviewing celebrities:
“Actors are tough because they're not used to challenging questions — other than from paparazzi. And so you just ask one perfectly legitimate question, but one that they're not comfortable answering, and all of a sudden they look at you and you're the paparazzi.”
They’re not used to challenging questions.
This is not a lie. And the subtext here is, well, actors are dumb. They can’t handle a challenging question. Which is actually not true. Not all actors are dumb. But most of them are insulated by their managers, publicists, protected from the media and protected, often, from themselves. But … WHY? WHYYYYYY would you want to be known for this? Why would you want to be described like this?
Click here to read The Hollywood Reporter Anchors Roundtable.
Yours in gossip,