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Look, it’s not easy starting a news channel. You need time, effort and a crack production team if you’re going to make a proper go of it. Clearly though, ANN7, South Africa’s latest 24 hour news channel, is trying get those elements to sync.
The station, owned by media moguls the Gupta family — who have close ties to president Jacob Zuma and also own the New Age newspaper — and Duduzane Zuma (the president’s 29-year-old son) got off to a rocky start when it launched earlier this week.
Actually, calling it rocky would be kind. Not sure what we mean? Well take a look at some of the clips that have surfaced online since it went on air.
First up, there’s this beauty. Filled with awkward pauses, side-glances, and the production team audibly talking over the presenters, it’s a whole pile of TV news worker nightmares rolled into one. Watch it and see how long you can last before sheer awkwardness forces you to hit pause. Still, at least there wasn’t an error with the teleprompter.
Which is more than we can say for this clip, which comes with a litany of errors that can only have come from bad scripting. First up, we’d hardly call Australian batsman Chris Rogers a “young prospect” (he’s 35). Then there’s Michael Clark (or is that “Michelle”?) scoring the “third test of the century”. Clearly ANN7 doesn’t do great at sport, but what about the actual news?
Well if you’re going to read the news, one of the general prerequisites is that you are actually able to read a teleprompter. Maybe the font on the teleprompter’s a little small, or maybe she needs contact lenses. Alas, we can only speculate on the cause of this particular train crash.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, along comes a new clip. Between seven seconds of dead air at the beginning, the massively stilted sentences and Syria’s chemical “wee-pons”, it’s pretty clear that ANN7’s anchors still have a lot of big learning experiences ahead of them.
Naturally, these gaffes provided the fodder for a fair amount of online ire, with Twitter providing a fair few gems:
Well done to the Guptas for launching #ANN7 and taking a brave stand against the professionalism that has been plaguing SA media.
— Deep Fried Man (@DeepFriedMan) August 22, 2013
There I thought they had moved "Two Broke Girls" to a new time slot on DSTV. Only to realise I was on channel 405 watching sport on @ANN7.
— JustPlainDarren (@JustPlainTwit) August 23, 2013
Discovered a great new comedy channel, 405, called ANN7… Kind of a spoof on serious news. Very cool.
— matt (@matthewbuckland) August 22, 2013
Dead people are more lively than this #ANN7 bunch
— AbortedNews (@AbortedNews) August 23, 2013
It's been 3 mins 8 seconds since we made a mistake. **high 5z** team #ANN7
— 24/7 & all day (@ann7news) August 23, 2013
#ANN7 were presenters required to forget their lines for the auditions as well?
— johnny barbuzano (@bbzee) August 23, 2013
Oh, if you’re a copy editor looking for a job, ANN7 is hiring. And, as Cape Town blogger 6000 shows, it clearly needs to get them on board pronto.
“Improving the language” indeed.
Update: A number of the videos have been removed from YouTube after copyright claims, and the @ann7news parody account on Twitter has been suspended.