Saturday, August 25, 2007

Don't Mess with Mary Kostakidis

It is noteable that there has been such support for Mary Kostakidis in her dispute with SBS over the dumbing down of the nightly news format. The story has not been covered much by SBS, but everybody else seems to be having a pot shot at the News Director, who has instilled a more commercial look and feel to the news programme presented at 6.30pm across Australia.

It is understandable that many Australians are reluctant to accept changes in the format that have brought in Ken to partner her, lengthened the programme from half and hour to an hour, introduced adverts, reduced the world focus and generally moved more towards infotainment news.

This satirical piece from Chris Henning is not so far from the truth. Very similar to the American TV Anchor who wouldn't read the Paris Hilton Article as the lead news story.

What in the world is wrong, Mary?

Chris Henning
August 24, 2007


Scene: A television screen with the SBS logo. There appears to be a transmission problem, but we see blurry monochrome closed-circuit images from the SBS studio, where a producer, who is clearly from London, is talking to Mary and Stan.

Producer (cajoling): Come on, Mary love. We shoulda been on air five minutes ago.

Mary (furious): I'm NOT reading this story.

P: Woss wrong wiv it, Mary, sweetart? Iss got efnics in it an everyfing.

Mary: DON'T call me sweetheart. Paris Hilton is NOT an ethnic.

P: Yeah she is, love. She's a efnic rich person. An vere's a dog in it, too.

Mary: Give it to boofhead if it's so good.

Stan: Oh, Mary. That's a bit harsh.

P: Well, I'd love to give it to boofhead, love - I truly would. But it's such a important politicoo stor-ree, I fought you of aw peopoo would jump at ve chance, like.

Mary: It's NOT politics at all. It's about Paris Hilton's chihuahua, for Pete's sake!

P: Yer, but Paris is in Afghanistan, inn she? Clearin lan mines wif er cute littoo doggie. She's doin a Princess Diana. Vass ve-e-ery politicoo, vat is.

Stan: I see what Steve is saying, Mary.

Mary: Shut up, you bollard. Just keep applying the fake tan, OK?

P: Ooh I know you're upset, so I tell you wot I'll do. Stan can read ve Paris piece, an I'll get you to read ve next one, abaht Lindsay Lohan goin ter jai-oo fer drunk drivin.

Mary: That's not news. It's gossip. You are single-handedly ruining a world-class news service. Where are our stories about Darfur? About the Middle East? Iraq? Russia, North Korea - Australia, even?

P: No one's inner-rested in vose places, love. But look - I ear what you're sayin abaht Lindsay, so jus read vis instead, an frow to ve ads.

Mary (reads): And now to America, where Britney Spears is in trouble again for … Oh this is clearly pointless. (Crumples paper and walks out. After a short pause, the studio audience begins cheering and whistling.)

P: Lovely! (Waits for silence) Lovely! … Whoo! Fank you! Congratulations Stan. Well vat wraps it up for vis year everyone! See you again nex year for anuvver series of SBS Noos Survivor. (Floor managers whip audience into renewed hysteria. Ad break.)

We used to schedule our evening to watch the SBS World News, but I only watch snippets now. Good news bulletins are hard to come by and SBS is tinkering in an insidious way with a national treasure.

There are seven separate Facebook sites backing Mary Kostakidis. One has over 700 members.


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