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June 30, 2004
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Different look at the electoral process
On the hustings

 

Student members of CBC's political theatre show, (L-R) Ludwing Duarte, Sarah Cutler, John Hung and Erin French. Student members of CBC's political theatre show,
(L-R) Ludwing Duarte, Sarah Cutler, John Hung and Erin French.

The media acts as a mediator between politicians and the public. This role is increased during election time as journalists attempt to cover all political parties, their platforms and their journeys on the election trail. This time around the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has analyzed how they conduct election coverage. This analysis has resulted in not only a policy to not report on polls, but also on the launch of Political Theatre. Political Theatre aimed to give a voice to the traditionally voiceless and change the way politicians are cast in the media. By talking about things other than the Atlantic Accord, senate reform and abortion, Political Theatre set itself apart from more seasoned political programs.

Political Theatre was divided into both radio and television segments. The television component entitled Speak Up!, proved an opportunity for diploma students in Memorial’s Performance and Communication’s Media program to get hands–on journalism experience. John Hung, Sarah Cutler, Erin French, and Ludwing Duarte could be seen every Thursday evening after Canada Now. One of their most interesting pieces covered international students at Memorial and the reason why voting was important to them.

The radio version is called South of 30, and is composed of Gzowski Intern Erin Noel, Remzi Cej, Nikhil Joshi, and Misha Warbanski. Ms. Noel and Mr. Cej are both Memorial students, while Mr. Joshi is a high school co-op student and Ms. Warbanski, a former Memorial student, is now studying journalism in Montreal. The group have covered such stories as hockey comparisons to politics during Stanley Cup fever at the Duke of Duckworth, and took a ride on the local Metrobus to discuss politics with the passengers. South of 30 did not have a regular timeslot leaving it up to the luck of listeners to get to hear their stories which were often found during the Morning Show and On The Go.

The program, spanning two formats provides two teams with the same idea. There is no sharing of material between the radio and television crews but they are connected by the same mandate; to reframe elections and provide an alternative, innovative type of election coverage.

These programs provided innovative stories that bust open traditional election coverage and allowed listeners to hear what people like Andy Wells would do if he was prime minister and what workers at local strip clubs think of election polls.

Erin Noel spoke to the Gazette about her experiences with Political Theatre. A Memorial master’s student in Anthropology, this job allowed her to apply her skill sets in a way she never imagined. “We’re redefining what makes a headline.” That process is something she thinks is important to add variety to what can become stale election coverage.

Interviewing people for her thesis gave her skills that she now uses in the field. The current affairs journalism she’s created has become something she’d like to turn into a long-term career

While the election is over and Political Theatre’s mandate seems to have run its course, this is only a part of CBC’s recent mission to involve youth in media. Many of the students involved have worked with such programs as CBC Radio’s New Voices, and the fresh voices you hear on radio and tv are not likely to disappear after the election signs have been removed.

To hear and view some Political Theatre, check out http://stjohns.cbc.ca/features/politicaltheatre/


 


     Top Stories

Dr. Edgar Goodaire
Kent Jones
Members of CBC's political theatre show
Gillian Byrne
Dr. Adrian Fowler

 

Next issue: July 22, 2004

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