THE BETOOTA ADVOCATE: NEWS SATIRE OR GENUINE JOURNALISM?

FIRST YEAR, JRNL102

Satirical journalism, or news satire, has become an increasingly popular form of modern day journalism. Satirical news sites and articles are intentionally designed to mimic genuine news websites, but instead, present fictitious content that is created with the intent to offer a humorous twist to mainstream journalism. News satire heavily relies on deadpan humour and irony in order for people to understand that the ‘story’ has been made up.

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News satire brings lighthearted humour and can often brighten up our newsfeeds, which are so often flooded with traumatic, conflicting and heavy news content from around the world. News satire can often take people off guard as it can come across as a legitimate news source. The realistic layout and headlines of satirical stories can often confuse people that are not familiar with satirical journalism. This provokes individuals to question and challenge the information they read online.

The Betoota Advocate, a well-known Australian news satire site who claims to be Australia’s oldest newspaper, has picked up a loyal and large online following. Making their transition online in September 2014, the news satire site is quickly overtaking other famous news sites in popularity, such as ‘The Onion.’ With over 400,000 Facebook likes, the Betoota Advocate is well known for its satirical take on all types of news, stretching from international political headlines to local Betoota stories. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a big fan and a regular target for Betoota headlines, is very vocal about the company, even launching their latest book called ‘Betoota’s Australia.”

The Betoota Advocate accurately depicts Australian culture, politics, sport and every aspect of Australian society. Headlines such as We Voted To Protect The Sanctity Of Marriage!” Says Local Couple Enjoying Reruns Of Married At First Sight’ and ‘Arnott’s Executive Responsible For New And Improved Shapes Biscuits Loses Appeal Against 47-Year Prison Sentence’ focus on the hard hitting topics of current Australian society and use humour in a way to satirically poke fun at the seriousness of these issues. The popularity of The Betoota Advocate has increased during the last year or so, with Facebook Traffic to the page surpassing that of popular American satire sites such as ‘The Onion’ and ‘The Shovel.’ This has proved beneficial for Betoota writers Clancy Overall and Errol Parker as they have gained a sufficient amount of attention online and are able to monetise on their success through advertisements.

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The Betoota Advocate attracts a large audience, but their main demographic encompass 18-24 internet savvy individuals. The reason Betoota attracts this age group is because this demographic have an interest in understanding the internet, but are also familiar with political and news focussed stories. The majority of Betoota posts are also focussed towards appealing to this generation, as many posts include aspects of social media and relatable content. The Betoota Advocate is an example of a successful satirical business that encompasses the Australian modern day culture.

 

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HOLLYWOOD? NO. NOLLYWOOD.

BCM111, FIRST YEAR, Uncategorized

Being the third largest film industry in the world, Nigerians sure know how to create some unique and interesting films. Titles such as ‘Havengas,’ ‘Hunger Game,’ Obama Babes’ and ‘Desperate House Girls,’ encapsulate the kind of Hollywood influence on the Hollywood industry. Nigerians do not shy away from the small screen, with a record of 1687 feature films produced in 2007.

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Image 1: Source

Emerging in the 1990s, the Nollywood film industry has quickly picked up a large following. Although films are never made to be screened in a cinema there are is a massive selection of ready to watch videos. Available to purchase from thousands of street stalls and hole-in-the-wall shops, not just in Nigeria but across the continent, as well to the African diaspora via markets in the west. Nollywood films include an array of genres and storylines. Often drawing on traditional characters and situations, Nollywood films usually include melodrama, magical culture and corruption as a motif, with the voodoo and occult genre playing a large role in the industry.

The rise of Nollywood has been a blessing in disguise for the Nigerian economy and employment rate. In an economy that relies heavily on oil and agriculture, the Nigerian film industry has helped create over one million jobs, making it the country’s second largest employer after agriculture. Around 30-50 new films are created and released each week, usually selling about 50,000 copies and bringing in over $590 million annually. The success of these films can be attributed to the low unit costs along with the recreation and documentation of socio-political and cultural events that appeal to a mass African audience. Nigerian films often include elements of historical issues experienced in these parts of the world and can be created and distributed with the help of Western technology.

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Image 2: Source

Nigerian directors adopt new technologies as soon as they become available, yet they have to make do with time restraints, often having less than an hour to film a scene in a rented out apartment or hotel room. Nigerian films are usually made in less than a month, with an average budget of $25,000 to $75,000, yet the films often become profitable within two to three weeks. Despite the monetary success, Nigerian actors do not get paid as well as you would imagine, even the most popular actors get paid as little as $1,000 to $3,000 per film. Piracy is also a concerning issue that is hindering the industry with an estimation of 9 copies pirated for every copy sold. These pirated copies are being exported to all parts of the world including other African countries, Europe and the USA.

Despite the piracy issues Nollywood must overcome, there is a promising future ahead for the Nigerian film industry. If provided with the necessary funds and support, Nollywood may likely surpass both Bollywood and Hollywood in the near future.

REFERENCES: 

Bright, J. (2015). Meet Africa’s Nollywood, the world’s second largest movie industry. [online] Fortune.com. http://fortune.com/2015/06/24/nollywood-movie-industry/ [Accessed 16 Aug. 2017].

Okome, O. (2007).Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption [online] Postcolonial.univ-paris13.fr. http://postcolonial.univ-paris13.fr/index.php/pct/article/viewFile/763/425 [Accessed 13 Aug. 2017].

Moudio, R. (2013). Nigeria’s film industry: a potential gold mine? | Africa Renewal Online. [online] Un.org.  http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2013/nigeria’s-film-industry-potential-gold-mine [Accessed 19 Aug. 2017].

The Conversation. (2016). The who and how of pirates threatening the Nollywood film industry. [online] https://theconversation.com/the-who-and-how-of-pirates-threatening-the-nollywood-film-industry-56952 [Accessed 20 Aug. 2017].