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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ASSESSMENT 2: JRNL102 “WHAT’S HIDDEN”

JRNL102

WHAT’S HIDDEN

Anna Henshaw; Boarding School Captain, Dux of the School and Legal Studies enthusiast. An intelligent, respectable and seemingly law abiding student holds a secret that even her parents and teachers would never suspect.

At the age of 16, Anna Henshaw moved from a small rural town to a regional NSW Boarding School in order to undertake her final two years of high school study and complete her HSC. Ranking top of her class in all her subjects and becoming school captain, she was often referred to as a exemplary student and a role model. Anna excelled in everything she did, with a keen interest in Legal Studies and a passion for  Law.

For a large portion of her life, Anna was highly against drugs and alcohol. She never had an interest in smoking or doing anything that would jeopardize her position as school captain and her studies. Her mother, Karen Henshaw, referred to Anna as “the daughter sent from heaven.” Until one afternoon, when the opportunity to smoke a cigarette arose. The excitement of breaking the rules was too tempting to resist.

Anna found a certain thrill in the risk of sneaking out after hours and smoking cigarettes with her friends. Sneaking out and smoking became an escape from the certain pressure Anna felt from the many rules and expectations that had been put on her for her entire life. But, as the days went on the initial thrill subsided, Anna was looking for something new and more exciting to spark the adrenaline.

When marijuana was introduced, Anna started relying on it heavily and began caring less about her role as school captain. After being asked by a younger friend to buy alcohol for him, Anna’s newfound risk taking persona did not consider the possible consequences. She purchased the alcohol for her friends, with little to no consideration of the consequences that could occur. An almost fatal alcohol related incident, due to the alcohol provided by Anna, lead to the boys expulsion and made Anna realize that the way she was going could have detrimental effects to her reputation and goals in life.

Anna realized the sneaking out; smoking and her risky behavior weren’t worth the potential consequences that would occur if she continued to lead down this path. She quit smoking, began putting all her attention back into study and leading a respectable lifestyle, quickly returning to her original self. She excelled at the HSC, receiving a 98 atar and has never touched a cigarette, joint or partaken in dangerous behaviour since.

TWEETS: 

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/gracegoll

Music: “Better Days”: https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

ASSESSMENT 1: JRNL102 EMOTIONAL HISTORY

JRNL102

INTRO: High School trips to a foreign country can be exciting, thrilling and eye-opening. For high school student Alex Daly, her trip to Vietnam in 2015 took an unexpected turn that shaped the person she is today.

IN: And then she grabbed me…

OUT: …I felt pure fear.

DUR: 2.00

REFLECTION: I interviewed my friend Alex who I met living on campus earlier this year. During one of our first conversations she told me a story about one of the scariest moments she’s ever experienced. Her story was about her high school trip to Vietnam in 2015 in which a side shop worker verbally and physically abused her. The first time I heard this story my heart started beating from fear as I listened to the events that occurred. I decided this would be a great story to tell as it expresses both fear and surprise.

Ethically, I had to assure Alex felt comfortable to disclose her frightening experience as recalling it could potentially trigger a traumatic flashback causing her to become panicked or anxious. Although she had told me this story before I assured her it was okay to stop at any time if she felt anxious or uncomfortable. The final interview ran smoothly with suspense, tension and fear being expressed in her voice, and the conversation flowing naturally with little prompts needed by me. I initially had some problems with the recording equipment, causing us to record the interview a total of three times. We spaced these out over two days so it would not sound as if she was just repeating the story instead of fully experiencing it.

Journalistically I had to assure the story was edited in a way that captivated and engaged the audience. My first hurdle was increasing the recorded volume on Hindenburg, as the volume of her voice was quieter than expected. This caused me to become anxious because I wasn’t sure if the ambient sounds I included would drown out her voice. After playing around with the volume on Hindenburg I managed to achieve a good level of sound. I began cutting and editing the original recording, first by removing any unnecessary parts to shorten the time. I really wanted to include a captivating beginning to the story to engage the audience and provoke a sense of curiosity. I decided to grab an enthralling moment from later on in the recording and copy and paste it into the beginning of my recording to give an intriguing start. After playing around with the original recording I began to add my ambient sound. I tried to portray the busy streets of Vietnam by including car noises, beeping horns and loud talking crowds at the beginning of the recording. As she discusses the souvenir shop I added wind chimes to represent the abundance of side shops Vietnam is infamous for. When Alex begins to talk about the moments before she was attacked I aimed to elicit a feeling of uncertainty and anticipation by incorporating wind noises and eerie ambient sound. As the story begins to pick up pace, I included a heartbeat to mimic the feeling of terror felt during the experience, followed by some literal sounds, such as running and a slap to fully place the audience in the moment. I left in original breaths and pauses to assure the recording sounded and felt as natural as possible, demonstrating the fear that was experienced that day.

References:

McHugh, S (2017), Lecture, Week 3, “The Art and Craft of Editing”, 7 August 2017.

McHugh, S (2017), Lecture, Week 4, “Actuality”, 14 August 2017.

Rome, L. (2017). “Editing Sound.” Bsideradio.org. http://bsideradio.org/editing-sound/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2017].