02 November 2008

A News Story

"Or would it be about something obscure like paper clip collecting or toilet roll designing? I thought I had better find this out post haste....In fact, it was a family friend who had seen the interview and couldn't stop laughing!"

There I was at work when the phone rang. Nothing unusual there. It was Friday after all and a few of my friends normally ring up to see what I am up to at the weekend (in my case normally nothing too exciting). This time, however, it was from someone I didn't know. The caller had gotten my phone number from a mutual friend and had rang me. The phone conversation went like this:

"Hi, I hope you don't mind me ringing you, but I was wondering if you would like to be interviewed for a television programme?" asked the female caller.

"Erm no, that will be fine" said I.

Then I started thinking about what the subject matter would be. Would it be about the latest Coldplay album? Or would it be about something obscure like paper clip collecting or toilet roll designing? I thought I had better find this out post haste.

"What will the subject matter be?" I quickly enquired.

"Oh nothing too complicated. It will be just about the financial crisis and it's potential impact on people like yourself. You will get a call next week about it" replied the caller.

"Oh, ok" I muttered.

Then before I knew it. The caller had gone back to the world of all things media related.

True enough, I received a call nearly a week later from a journalist at the ABC (Australia's national broadcaster). They were heading to the Mothership for an interview. After a few minutes of conversation it was decided to film the segment in a local coffee shop instead.

I met them downstairs and the camera man and sound technician set up their equipment. The journalist then started asking me a few questions about the financial crisis and its potential impact on myself and others. Within a minute it was all over. Then the camera man thought it would be a good idea if I simulated buying a coffee. We approached the barista who was very excited about this. So excited that he kept repeating "cool, I am going to be on television!".

For the next 15 minutes or so, the camera man took shots of myself and the barista sharing small talk while miraculously handing me a coffee that he had already prepared. Once this had been completed the camera man thought about getting me to take the coffee to a table and then to start reading a financial newspaper.

Now this sounds easy but in reality it wasn't. To simulate walking to a table holding a coffee and sitting down to read a financial paper takes a bit of thinking. Fortunately for me we only had to do two takes.

The ABC film crew then thanked me and told me to watch that evening's news.

After work I rushed home in anticipation of my stellar performance. Questions were running through my head. Would they keep all of the interview? Would they only use part of it? Or would they do a 'cut and paste' job to twist my words? As the time for the news to start approached, I was getting nervous.

The news programme started and a snippet of my interview was played at the beginning as a taster of things to come. In fact, I was on right after the Prime Minister!

About 10 minutes into the news my interview was played for all to see. They had used only 2 of my responses but had used all of the part of me buying a coffee and reading the paper. By now the barista would have been over the moon having been on television.

After the segment had finished my phone started to ring. Would it be the ABC wanting me to host a current affairs show? Would it be the international press wanting a further story? Or would it be the event organiser of the paper clip collectors society? In fact, it was a family friend who had seen the interview and couldn't stop laughing!

Later on that night I went to the local supermarket to buy some milk. I wondered if anyone would notice me, or even want to say g'day. Alas, no one gave me a second look. I drove home pondering the fact that my 15 seconds of fame had passed quicker than a bullet train. Oh well, I thought, at least it was fun while it lasted!

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