The 7pm Project: Pass or Fail?

July 20, 2009

Tonight marks the launch of Channel 10’s new stripped 7pm show, imaginatively titled ‘The 7pm Project’. It’s being hailed (well, at least by Channel 10’s marketing department) as a new way of looking at news. And it’s got me thinking. Is Gen Y in need of a show like this? Are we so removed from ‘normal’ news, that we can only consume it in tight, comical bite-sized pieces?

Now I haven’t seen the show, and won’t get a chance to this evening, but so far the ads look promising. While probably not the most polished of shows (and time will tell if this is actually a good thing), I do think it is filling a void that has been gaping in the Australian media landscape for quite some time now. Shows like this are on nightly in the US- The Daily Show, Letterman, etc are hugely popular with numerous demographics. And yet there is little to none of this in Aus. While these shows may be late in late night timeslots, the idea behind 7pm is similar. The last time something like this was on in Australia was The Panel, which very successfully dissected the news in a funny, informative manner.

I can’t speak for everybody, but I cannot remember the last time I sat down to read a newspaper cover to cover. Hell, i can’t even remember the last time I sat down to read a newspaper at all. I usually just get my news from my RSS feeds while checking my email each morning. Even so, lately I’ve noticed that even that is beginning to fall by the wayside. Am I the latest casualty in this war between news and young people?

I don’t think so. I think I’m just sick and tired with the same old drivel being forced down my throat. I don’t want to hear what the latest celebrity had for breakfast. Or the newest political scandal about…utes? No thanks. But that’s what many of the news outlets in Australia are publishing. And i think young people have had enough. We are not satisfied consuming news the way it has been traditionally presented to us.

But there is hope. The internet has meant that anyone can be a journalist. The rise of citizen journalism (user-created content) sites like Current.com and OhMyNews has proved this. Now, we all can write news stories, but perhaps even more importantly, keep watch on the news itself. Traditional sites allow user input up to a point with comments sections, but there’s still a long way to go. In TV land, it is shows like The 7pm Project that can get the ball rolling in order to catch up with the internet.

The success or failure of 7pm may answer quite a lot of these questions. It may not. Who knows? Maybe news will eventually adapt on its own. But for the moment, a show combining information and entertainment, blurred to a point where it is difficult to tell it apart sounds like my kind of news.

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