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Would You Watch A Newspaper Reality Show?

Like many work places, newsrooms often come with a set of stereotypical cast members. From the clueless out-of-town editor brought in by corporate to the cub reporter seeking a scandal in every story he covers to the this-trial-ain’t-my-first-rodeo cops reporter to the no-nonsense city editor. (I said stereotypical, didn’t I?)

That makes this announcement that NBC put out a casting call for local newspapers to be at the center of a potential reality show — shared in a posting on the National Newspaper Association website — both unsurprising and exciting. I can totally see how a newsroom could make for a good show — there’s deadline pressure, there’s quirky characters (inside and outside the newspaper), there’s always something new. It will be interesting to see how a “documentary-style reality show” would play out when much of the day in a community newspaper isn’t really dramatic. Sure, there are election nights and breaking news, but not every day, especially in a small-town paper, which seems to be their target. Jim Romenesko posted about the casting and has more details and responses to the idea.

From the NNA website:
NNA is assisting a production company in locating a community newspaper company to be the subject of a documentary.

Romenesko says more than 70 newspapers responded with interest. (I wonder if they’ll get a cut of the revenue from the show if they sign on?)

For all the shows I’ve seen that featured scenes in a newsroom or characters working as reporters, few have accurately represented what life is actually like in the cubicles or on the streets as reporters and editors chase tips, butt heads with sources and each other, and spend way too much time listening to hold music, scanner traffic and public meetings. I can envision some really funny and also really poignant scenarios I encountered as a reporter that I could see making the cut to be on a TV show. I just hope they don’t find the Honey Boo-Boo of local news reporters to follow, or the Michael Scott of publishers. Who knows how things would go and how true to reality such a show would skew. I don’t even watch much TV, much less “reality TV.” But I still kind of hope this happens, because I’d totally watch the show. Would you?

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