Friday, May 18, 2012

An Exclusive worth spiking

Just when I thought Leveson was the final nail in the coffin of journalism's reputation, along comes ITV’s The Exclusives, the Fleet Street’s Got Talent for youngsters who want to make the grade live on TV.

For those who didn’t see it last night - and it was flogged to death in the run-up - six wannabes were chosen from an X-factor style queue of hopefuls, put into an Apprentice-style house and thrown in at the deep end like Celebs in a jungle.

They comprised a typical researchers shopping list .. a glamour model called Hayley, a nerd called Chris, someone who never went to uni but lives to write … a toxic mix guaranteed to so we give us rows, tears, handbags and elbows while we watch them grow and mature under the watchful eye of editors thrust into the limelight because bosses at Bauer know the marketing value of reality TV.

But did they kick off by learning some journalistic basics to set them on heir way? Something to redress the balance of the past few months and show we're not all obsessed with celebrity tittle-tattle? Nope, the deep end consisted of typical intern work of returning shoot-loan clothes to PRs and transcribing interviews before being told to force their way to the red carpet and blag the odd quote from, yes, D-list celebs.

It was fun to see one of them snatch three or four words from one then ask her to repeat them gain because he didn’t get all of five words on tape, and annoying to see one of the transcribers looking so bored when he may have actually learned something about conducting an interview. Then there was a gaffe-prone chat with Amy Winehouse’s dad and the shame a lad called Stuart felt when he didn’t recognise the cast of Made in Chelsea.

But wore was to come when the big assignment meant going out on to the streets to identify blokes who wouldn’t mind taking their tops of for a photoshoot.

Not only did we witness then wandering the streets like Apprentice candidates flogging their last biro as a deadline loomed, shouting “Are there any men here who are Scottish, Irish or Welsh?” but they'd enjoyed a briefing that involved dragging a fit lad from the editorial floor in front of them and getting him to take his shirt off, just in case there was any doubt.

And there was me thinking the industry was in trouble.