We bumped into sometime-cohort Gideon Yago of The IFC Media Project this morning on the 6, where talk quickly turned to yesterday’s tragic passing of Michael Jackson. Amid the Jackson-fueled media barrage, we were struck by the sight of former MTV Newsman Yago back on screen discussing pop stars. Evidently, he was too: “The things that’ll bring you back out of retirement,” he cracked, adding that he was en route to Times Square to do additional spots discussing the Jackson story, following his CNN appearance yesterday with Anderson Cooper in which he recalled interviewing the pop legend who may or may not have been sober at the time (“my initial impression was… this guy is on something”) and pointed out Jackson’s tangled finances (“he was $400 million in debt as of last year” and “five months ago he was uninsurable”). Yago’s got a piece over at the Daily Beast about the cognitive dissonance that arises when celebrity news butts up against international conflict (Iran what?): He regales his account of interviewing Jackson four days prior to 9/11, at an event that had the then-junior reporter grateful he’d “experimented with acid in high school.”) More on that, the identity issues surrounding Jackson that may never be understood (but were notably absent from early posthumous coverage of the star), Jackson’s money men and the video Yago “can’t believe no one’s posted yet,” that somehow ties it all together. Suffice it to say, a lot got covered in four stops…
Posts Tagged ‘Gideon Yago’
IFC Media Project’s Gideon Yago: ‘When Newspapers Take It On The Chin, You Lose Support For Reporting’
Through segments analyzing how thorny topics get covered (such as “The Elusive Missing White Girl,” a.k.a. when middle class child-kidnapping cases dominate the news cycle), interviews with journalists, and cheeky insights into common media parlance (i.e. journos’ tendency to use “allegedly” to cover their collective ass), The IFC Media Project (premiering tonight at 8pm EST) spends its six episodes pulling back the curtain on how news gets made. We spoke with host and former MTV Newsman Gideon Yago (left, giving his best “What the f*ck, journalism?” which pretty much sums up the premise of the show), who filled us in on why, after burning out on “the various people who push on the news media” and “that dance of actually breaking the story,” IFC’s series exposing media’s inner workings brought him out of early TV retirement.
How’d the idea for The IFC Media Project come together and how did you come to host it?
The idea for the show came from Megan [O'Hara] and Nick [McKinney, co-creators and producers]. I got involved with it because I had done some stuff like it for CBS, MTV. We got to talking and then they said, how do you feel about eventually hosting this thing? I had been avoiding doing anything thatâ€™s broadcast, but this just seemed like the right thing to me.
Avoiding doing broadcast? Why?
I think some of it was just burnout on television and burnout on how television gets made. I started working for MTV when I was 21 and, the further it went on, the further I ran into the obstacle of working for news organizations at CBS and working for MTV and trying to get the kind of material that I wanted on there. It started to get me kind of bummed out. So I jumped out of the medium.
What’s the most important thing the IFC show strives to convey?
Mostly we just try and show the process. When I began working in journalism, which was in 2000, the recount in 2000 was the beginning of a sort of egg on the face of the media. Subsequently, I think the handling of run-up to the Iraq war and the low-level tabloidization, continuously, of cable news and the increasing emphasis on analysts, pundits and stars at the expense of beat reportage — it just seems like there is ample opportunity to criticize where the [journalistic] process was going wrong in the hopes of getting it back on track. Things are really running off of the rails [in journalism], and there’s no real regulation to correct it.
What do you think can be done to correct this “spectacular failure,” as you call it on the show?