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Why Not Puppets?

By admin Published: January 19, 2012

In its latest grab for attention, WOIO has used puppets to re-enact scenes from the Dimora trial, including in the segment below:

The move is not unprecedented, as any check of YouTube would reveal. There is, for instance, this piece of Occupy Wall Street coverage:

I am no fan of WOIO, but I see no offense here.  I have read discussions of this effort accompanied by the customary harrumphing by some that puppet theater is "not news." But there's a distinction to be drawn here between what is news and what is news coverage  -- and why not include puppets in your coverage?

As has been noted more than once, some of the most serious (and closely watched) news coverage is that by "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," which often use comedy to make serious points. Witness the ads Colbert has been putting up about the South Carolina primary, including this one:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC Ad - Double Negative
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Print publications news routinely include commentary on the news, some of it humorous. News organizations, and newscasts, have long embraced reports about lighter topics, or amusing sidelights to big stories. So, as I say in the header to this, why not puppets? And, while no one is going to mistake this for serious coverage of the issues in the trial, some viewers, drawn by the silly imagery, may actually remember information that would not have stuck when accompanied by an artist's rendering of courtroom events.


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