Making the News

On Air

Something was happening in the newsroom. Well, something was always happening in the newsroom, but today rather than the journalists going out to the news, the news had come in to find the journalists. It was the News Editor who noticed it. First in and last out, she often wondered why she bothered going home at night. Turning on the lights in the office at 6.30am, she was surprised to see the presenter still at his desk.

“Morning Graham,” she greeted cheerily, keen to get on his good side for a change.

No reply.

She wasn’t surprised. As a television presenter, Graham believed far too much of his own publicity. He loved the sound of his own voice so much that rumour had it he went to sleep listening to reruns of the programme.

She shrugged and set to work preparing a list of potential stories to be discussed in the morning meeting. She kept up a running commentary as she was doing it. Graham liked to feel involved. In fact, he’d probably claim credit for the whole list, not that it particularly bothered her. She knew the truth after all.

Graham really was being unusually quiet. She had a bit of a closer look. Wasn’t that the same suit he had been wearing yesterday? Definitely out of character. He was fastidious when it came to his personal appearance, claiming the viewers looked to him to lead the way in the sartorial stakes.

She blinked. Removed her glasses. Polished them and put them back on. Yes, there was no doubt about it.

Graham was dead.

She hit return on her keyboard a few times and started typing.

Presenter dead – news presenter found dead with microphone cord wrapped around his throat. Possible live report from newsroom?

Well, that was the top story for the programme sorted.

Reporters picked their way around the police as both sides tried to get their jobs done. It really was rather inconvenient having a dead body cluttering up the place. Plus there was the other small matter of a microphone being out of action, something they couldn’t afford to do without, given all the equipment cutbacks they’d had to cope with recently. Fortunately the police were kind enough to turn a blind eye whilst they borrowed the one from round Graham’s throat. The Sound Guys were pleased the wire hadn’t been damaged. Equipment was so expensive to replace nowadays.

After the lunchtime bulletin went out – the Substitute Presenter swelling with pride – the phones started ringing. At least two viewers wanted to claim responsibility for Graham’s death. The journalists filmed the police taking some of the calls. This was turning into a great story. They could probably get enough material for a half hour special. The Producer got on the phone to scheduling.

Gallery

The Production Assistant stumbled across the next body during the evening bulletin while he was handing out scripts. They couldn’t see whose body it was in the dark control gallery, but a quick visual check confirmed it was no one immediately vital to the programme.

The programme went well. The Substitute Presenter managed to contain his glee at promotion just about long enough to read the news in a suitably sombre manner. The Director hit the button to play the weather. Nearly hometime. They turned on the gallery lights as the end titles played. The prostrate form of the Weatherman was revealed, his slide clicker rammed up his nose.

“Thank goodness he pre-recorded his forecast,” sighed the Producer.

The journalists formed a guard of honour as the police removed the Weatherman’s body. It was the least they could do. After all, he had helped them rake it in last year by giving insider tips on the odds of a white Christmas.

It was decided the Blonde Reporter would stand in for the Weatherman. Looking on the bright side, she’d be much cheaper.

She was extremely excited about making her weather debut. The only down side was that the police were being awkward about giving back the slide clicker. It was inconvenient to say the least, but then again, it was probably still a bit bloody from being rammed up her predecessor’s nose. A fellow Reporter volunteered to help out and change the slides whenever the Blonde tapped the screen which the weather map was projected onto. It worked pretty well. Until they got to the penultimate slide that was.

The Blonde tapped the wall. The Reporter leaned forward to hit the button. His chair jerked abruptly. He smashed through the computer screen and lay still.

The Blonde tapped the wall impatiently. What was taking so long? She’d miss her bikini wax appointment at this rate. What time was it? Two fift… A studio light plummeted onto her head.

Over the next few days, it seemed no one could move anywhere in the newsroom without unearthing a body. The Craft Editor was found with her mouth stuffed full of video tape. The Director was impaled on the mixing desk. The Senior Correspondent appeared to have been pickled to death in a vat of wine, but the police were pretty confident that that could be attributed to natural causes. It was getting rather difficult to find a new angle to the story for the programme each night. The final straw was when the Substitute Presenter got trapped in his dressing room and apparently suffocated in his panic.

CameraThe Producer looked around the empty newsroom and fixed on a quiet creature sitting in the corner behind a pile of newspapers.

“You over there. There’s nothing for it, you’ll have to present the news tonight.”

The Work Experience girl wandered over.

“Now that is just what I’ve been hoping to hear.”

Quickly and efficiently she battered the Producer over the head with a camera.

“A girl’s got to get herself a job somehow.” She turned and headed into the studio.

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