Attention: Due to lack of interest, the news has been cancelled! essay

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The youth of our country simply don’t watch the news anymore.  Those that watch the news usually get it from alternative means. Very few people sit down with their Swanson’s Dinners and watch a stiff, depressing thirty minutes of news.  Teens and twenty-something’s are so interconnected, and self-involved that there’s no time to pause and soak up all the day’s happenings.  This is where shows like Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” come in. The Daily Show is filled with humor, sarcasm and satire that is aimed at the larger news networks.  Anyone who has seen the show is familiar with the format. What may not be so familiar is the purpose and overall goal of the show.  Jon Stewart attempts to bridge the gap between the modern, main stream media and the younger audiences that choose not to tune in.

 The format of the Daily Show is specifically designed to appeal to a younger audience. Though the bright lights and large desk are reminders of most news networks and their programming, the Daily Show takes it a bit further. They sprinkle in extra flashy graphics, kitschy music, and even hold a time slot that appeal to a more youthful audience. The kids of today are not interested in a stuffy suit blandly reading the happenings of the past 24 hours. They’re even less interested in hearing the same suit talk about politics, and business. Kids and young adults have turned the internet and social media not only to stay connected, but to get their news. 

The news outlets and local evening news channels are losing viewers at alarming. . It’s presented in the same manner it has been for years.  Sitting down to watch the news can be difficult, and tedious. It’s extremely hard to follow the “shock factor” that news agencies use to lure you in. Then, once lured in it’s even more difficult to relate to some of, or all of the stories being presented. Sure, they’ve added the “ticker” at the bottom, and fancy graphs and graphics. However it’s still the same format. The news is still being delivered in exactly the same manner.  Stewart and the writers at the Daily Show have deviated from this norm. They’ve added humor, sarcasm, and sometimes downright tom foolery to keep the audience engaged.  Though meant to be, and delivered as a “comedy news” show, it almost comes off as politically themed late evening talk show.  Sort of like Johnny Carson with dirtier, politically themed jokes.

It’s those very politically themed jokes that keep the watchers engaged. Let’s admit it; politics is boring. No one, unless you’re really into it, wants to sit around and listen to anything with a political undertone.  Stewart uses his own spin and humor to bring in a sector of viewers that would not normally be interested, or overly involved in the political land-scape. In a recent episode {9/28} Stewart uses a Fox News clip of Sarah Palin talking about her possible candidacy to poke fun at her, and the Republican Nominee process as a whole. Any regular viewer of the show would know that Stewart pokes fun at Palin on nearly a nightly basis. To someone just tuning in though, they would’ve seen what appeared to be an awkward, and humorous exchange between Palin on video and Stewart in studio. The writers and editors clipped, and formatted the original interview to make it appear that Palin was answering Stewart’s questions directly. This makes it easier for the Jon to make any point he wishes, and drive home any point that the show is looking to capitalize on.  This is a main feature of the show.  They regularly take actual news bits, spin them, and make it appear the Stewart is reporting his own news story.

The entire theme of the show feels as if it’s geared to younger people. First of all, the show comes on late in the evening, at 11pm. Even the commercials during the show are aimed at the less than thirty crowds {list commercials} that watch. Ads for Old Spice soap, popular beers, fast food and trendy music have replaced more tradition television ads for insurance and large family vans.  The show is also filled with numerous pop culture jabs and references. Most of them are ones that only the younger generations would pick up on.  Jokes about the Soprano’s and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street were used in a recent episode.  The pop culture bits feel like subliminal bits of glue used to keep the viewers interested in what might otherwise be boring, or something they can’t relate to. Most people can relate to a pop culture joke, but only a handful can really grasp and comprehend the complex political landscape.

That being said, the Daily Show is a stop gap. It’s filling a void between the younger non-news watching sectors of America.  Kids simply aren’t watching a political based news commentary show anymore. Jon Stewart and his team at Comedy Central have taken great strides, some obvious and not so obvious tactics to draw in, and keep the kids watching. Everything from the set, the commentary and even the commercials are aimed at a young audience.  As major networks struggle to keep American’s watching, Comedy Central seems to have cornered the market.  People openly admit that they get their political information from a show on Comedy Central. The format has been so successful that it’s even been mimicked by other shows (Colbert Report in particular). I think major news outlets could take a cue from Stewart and the gang. Change the nightly news from the same old same old. Add a bit of color, and some flare. Make it so that younger audiences can relate, and feel involved in the content that is being delivered. Otherwise, they may find that the nightly news cast has been cancelled.

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