MTV’s ‘The Paper’

I was recently asked to check out a new reality show on MTV, ‘Rock the Cradle,’ about children of famous rock stars, for the purpose of this blog.
I haven’t seen an episode yet … but in my first visit to an MTV Web site since the 90s, I came across something far more interesting to me — a reality show about The Circuit, the school newspaper at America’s largest high school, Cypress Bay in Weston, Fla. (USA Today’s Pop Candy has has a short review here).
Episode 1 can be found at MTV’s Web site, click here for the direct link, and I must say, this is the first reality series involving snotty teens that I’ve actually been interested in. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when there’s a one-minute conversation about grayscale (The Circuit uses 15% grayscale, while I prefer 12% … but hey, to each his own).
The premiere is about the race for editor-in-chief, which at episode’s end is decided by the school’s journalism teacher.

The candidates:
Amanda (the copy editor) — Her obsession with becoming editor-in-chief (or simply “In Chief” as they call it) has made her an outcast with the rest of the staff, who poke fun at her whenever they get the chance. Amanda’s the favorite for the job, as she spends her Friday night writing her application essay while the rest of the staff enjoys beer pong at a party.
Alex (the sports editor) — Amanda’s biggest competition, and one of the few who seems to have his head on straight. He is just as newspaper-obsessed as she is, but he is more likable by the rest of the staff.
Adam (the business manager) — Not sure why a business manager would make a great top editor, but hey, he’s in the running, and he’s also Amanda’s biggest enemy, or she is his … or whatever.
Giana (the clubs editor) — Not a chance in hell for poor Giana, who I predict will be married and seven months pregnant by show’s end.

As Pop Candy’s blogger wrote, this is a show that will appeal to two sets of people — teens with short attention spans and journalists. My high school had just 200 people (a class size at this school) and we did not have a campus newspaper, so I didn’t experience journalism until I got to college. That said, I would have loved the opportunity to work at The Circuit in high school, but I am nowhere near as cutthroat as these kids are.
I admire their passion for journalism, but I’m not sure this show will do much to help their careers (especially if they continue to act as if cameras aren’t around). As an editor, one of the first things I do when a young applicant sends me a resume is check to see if they have a Myspace page. You’d be amazed at the information people are willing to just toss out there for everyone to see. This show is worse than a MySpace page, because they can’t set this to “private.”
Then again, everyone loves a “celebrity,” so this may be a great launching pad for them. Who knows?
I’ll stick with the show because of my nerdiness toward page design, grayscale and font issues. If you like journalism, and you want to be even more amazed at how different kids are now than when I was young, check it out.
So who won editor? You’ll have to watch to find out.

A few random thoughts on the show:
• Why do kids hold their cell phones two feet away in front of their face when they talk in them?
• If my paper celebrated after every issue the way these kids do, our livers would explode. Then again, we’re not a monthly.
• I suppose MTV’s policy of “we’re just filming” makes it OK for them to televise underage drinking and (possible) high school sex? Man, I’m starting to sound like an adult.


5 thoughts on “MTV’s ‘The Paper’

  1. Wow Gordon – theres a concept isn’t it? I miss the days when they acutally were MUSIC television..seems the way they are now they should have to change their name.

    Now I am sounding old too…oh well I am 🙂
    Bring back the 80’s !!!


  2. The days of a music channel playing just music videos are long gone, these days are all about reality shows like the Hills, Rock the Cradle etc. Speaking about Rock the Cradle, have you seen it and what did you think?

  3. Another shameless “show” for MTV. It should be renamed “Giana’s Boobs” because that’s all the camera guy really cares about here. Chief Amanda’s character has already been done in a movie called “Election,” another MTV jaunt. I’m waiting for her to end up in the looking glass room making out with Dave Novotny. I just hate MTV…Hate hate hate it. By the way, this show was followed up by America’s next top Model…6 episodes of it…Once again, MTV setting a good example for today’s youth…Nice programming decisions. Keep raking in that cash, d—heads…

  4. Thanks for the link to my post. I really liked the third episode, and strangely I like the show for the ideas it has for my television production kids.

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