Newsroom dramas – what they really need

Will McAvoy ponders his future behind The Newsroom desk.

Have you seen The Newsroom? It’s an American drama where a news anchor decides he’s going to make the transformation from Ron Burgundy to, well, someone brimming with integrity and with a fixation on The Truth. But the truth is a notoriously flexible thing, so clearly he’s on a hiding to nothing. 

The fact that the anchor and his brilliant producer/ex girlfriend-with-whom-he-is-still-in-love have been dropped into the televisual bastard lovechild of The Office and Ally McBeal is somewhat distracting. However, it creates a interesting collection of personalities that one might suppose represent the cast of any real news organisation.

Along with many journalism dramas there is:

  • The top dog of the newsroom, male, arrogant, yet ultimately tragic.
  • Board room battler. Someone on the top floor prepared to fight for the ordinary hacks, yet ultimately tragic.
  • Girl on the way up. Talented young woman inevitably in a romantic tangle. Ultimately tragic.
  • One of the lads. Beer, tits, sport. Ultimately tragic. 
  • Old school stickler, has a secret. (Likely to be a subeditor) Ultimately tragic. 

But what real news rooms always have that never seem to make it into fiction are:

  • Women with families. Sneaking off to phone the school our throwing a sickie cos the kids have chicken pox do not make good telly apparently. Nor, it seems, does tension between parents and non-parents over, say, the Christmas rota.
  • Sexist old (or not so old) goats. Not tragic ones ripe for redemption by love, no, nasty misogynistic old farts who only tolerate women because the law says they must.
  • Drunks. not tragic ones with a heart breaking back story. Just lushes who smell nasty.
  • People on the autistic spectrum. They have long found comfort and shelter in a newsroom. Do not confuse with fictional geeks redeemed by love.
  • Closet homosexuals. One in every office, inevitably, even now. Probably missed the boat for coming out and now think they’d just look silly.
  • Bullies. Being a promoted journalist does not automatically create access to the skills of a good manager, instead, for some, the new business cards come with carte blanche to shout and throw one’s weight about. 
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of authenticity, when news breaks – no matter how big – the entire staff doesn’t simultaneously grab their phones and start dialling. Even if a few do, there will always be at least one who stands with his or her mouth open, not quite getting it. 

And another thing, anyone as committed to bringing their personal life to work as The Newsroom staff seem to would find themselves sidelined/sacked/whispered about before you can say “good evening, this is the news…”.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=”//”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. says

    Uttterly brilliant – much prefer your version. Will check out the programme. I remember Joanna Lumley in a series about making TV programmes and – having done a bit – I found it hilarious and incredibly true to life – run by v v young people indeed and the cleaner knowing more than anyone what was going on – but it didn't take off! You're right. They want pretend stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *