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100 articles – ‘Breaking news: Some bullshit happens somewhere’

The Onion's send-up of the often insubstantial content of TV news has been selected by Matt Smith as compulsory viewing and earns its place as one of our '100 articles' list.

‘Breaking news: Some bullshit happens somewhere’, by The Onion News Network

While this satirical news clip from The Onion News Network makes light of the trivial and insubstantial news reported by media, it does have a point.

‘Now in a desperate attempt to fill 24 hours of programming, here’s some bullshit that happened somewhere today.’ One of the side effects of rolling news coverage is the tendency to overblow what might be an unremarkable story.

This parody features the standard elements of news clips – the live cross, an expert opinion, letters from viewers, impressive graphs, and vox-pops from witnesses.

This clip should be watched by anyone who wants to get involved in news, particularly if they ever get to decide which news stories get made.

The Australian context is the recent introduction of ABC News 24,which has been accused of inadequately covering news stories, and of stretching the existing budget too thinly.

It brings up an important question: while a 24-hour news service is useful during significant events, is it needed all the time? Even regular news broadcasts, at times, can struggle to fill a half-hour time slot. When the news budget is already stretched thin, is this really the best way to be spending limited funds?

Matt Smith is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University and a freelance journalist.  His blog is called The End of the Spectrum.

Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details here.

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