EDITORIAL THURSDAY 28.05.09.
Good luck to Clare “Chk Chk Boom” Werbeloff. Here she is, a cheeky, vibrant 19 year old who apparently perpetrated a media stunt on the spur of the moment which has been so successful that she may be about to land a regular TV gig. Despite the seemingly uneducated tone of her original appearance on television, I suspect that she is very bright, obviously inventive and imaginative, clearly articulate, and by her own admission most certainly not camera shy. Her 15 seconds of fame has propelled her to worldwide attention, and prompted others to cash in by marketing merchandise with her now infamous catch cry.
Chk Chk Boom.
I’m sure she wishes she had trademarked the phrase before others hijacked it and turned it into a marketing phenomenon. Nevertheless, it appears that there are many other opportunities available for Clare. It has been reported that Channel 9 is considering giving her a regular spot on A Current Affair to report on “pop culture issues”, and it would be safe to assume that other TV outlets may also be interested. In fact she has engaged an “agent” to manage her potential media career, and he claims to be entertaining a number of offers.
I am tempted to wonder just what all this might mean from the point of view of the thousands of hard-working young people who have spent three or four years studying at university for formal qualifications in journalism, communications, or media, and are slogging away at entry level jobs in country radio stations and regional TV networks, trying to build a career. What about the dedicated individuals who have devoted a lifetime to sharpening their skills as researchers, writers, interviewers, and presenters? What are they to make of this phenomenon? Has all of their hard work been a waste of time? Is the avenue to success in the media to be found by simply making something up and then being cheeky enough to carry it off?
I wonder also about what Tracey Grimshaw might think about this. I do not know Tracey, but I do know that she is a real journalist, who has done the work, earned her position and is very good at it. She is the presenter of the program which has made Clare famous, and now appears set to offer her the type of opportunity that was once available only to people who have proven themselves on a lesser stage such as regional media. I don’t know what Tracey thinks, perhaps she thinks is amusing, perhaps not, but I’m sure she would recognize the irony.
The so called “tabloid television” programs have long ago ceased to be genuine news and current affairs programs, but even so, isn’t it insulting to those who aspire to a serious career in the media for television executives to be turning the whole thing into one giant reality show where contestants are plucked from the streets and offered the chance to compete for a spot in front of the camera? Or perhaps that’s what the media is becoming these days. Ultimately, if an audience doesn’t watch a show, it won’t last very long on the air. Ultimately, we all decide collectively what we find entertaining and informative and useful on TV, as well as on radio and in the press.
And that’s why aberrations will always occur, but they cannot last. Put simply, Clare’s brash media stunt has certainly opened the door for her, but if she has nothing more to offer she will disappear just as quickly. On the other hand, if she has a real talent for social commentary, for comedy, for entertainment she might just manage to make her 15 seconds of fame into a real career. That’s why I wish her luck. After all, in an industry where hard work and dedication can go unrewarded for years, she’s going to need it.