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Newsies! The Best Faux Reporting Online

A study this week from the Project for Excellence in Journalism said social news sites like Digg and Reddit may be dumbing down our news consumption, or at least keeping us more informed about iPhone hacks than insurgent attacks. But then again, tension between traditional and new media journalists is not a new thing.

The Daily Show has done an incredible job of bridging the gap between old media (it being on TV and all) and new media sensibility. And with its meteoric success, The Daily Show kicked off a new wave of comedic journalism. But combining laughs with news isn’t easy, so to keep you entertained (and informed) I’ve collected some of the best “fake” news reports on the Web (and two you should avoid).

Real News, Snark-ified
The stories are real, but these “newscasts” are delivered without a hint of gravitas.

Rocketboom made low-fi news gathering a phenomenon. Armed with a desk, a map and a perky attitude, the show continues to run down the day’s events with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Wallstrip turned heads this year as the fun little web show about stocks got acquired by CBS for $4 million. As Liz pointed out last month, the Wallstrip team knew little about finance when they started, but they do know what works online, and more importantly, they know how to make with the funny.Total Fakers
There’s no truth to any of this. Well, to any of these news stories, anyway.

The Onion made a seamless transition from print to video earlier this year. The result? Hilarity. The best part of The Onion’s work is that no one is in on the joke, it’s always played like the story is real.
In The Know: Are America’s Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?

Goodnight Burbank technically isn’t a newscast, but a web series about what goes on behind the scenes of a fictional news program. The show’s gotten raves from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter and Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal for its depiction of off-screen backbiting and mishaps at a Burbank TV station. Update: as Hayden Black pointed out, the news is real, (but backstage is still the highlight).

Go it Alone-r
There are tons of sketch comedy groups and standup comedians trying their hands at fake news. But What the Buck is the funniest. His take on current entertainment events is sharp, scathing, and his deconstruction of the new season of The View is priceless.

No Longer With Us, But Still Funny
No, these people aren’t dead (at least I hope not). They just haven’t posted new material in a while.

Karina wrote about Kinda Like News earlier. The last post available on SuperDeluxe was dated May 24, 2007, which is a shame because anchor Blitzer VanSustran’s kindergartner-style-graphics on manilla folders and the “dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh” theme song were hilarious.

And finally, Hyla Matthews. My sweet Hyla. It’s too bad you hooked up with the now-gone ThisJustIn. Your nutty consumer advocacy will be missed. Like this gem about summer vacation destinations that terrorists wouldn’t attack.

Ones to Not Watch
As noted earlier, it takes more than a green screen, some hair gel and a wooden demeanor to make a funny newscast. Not to be all Simon Cowell, but these guys could use some work:

I’ll give Sharkbaby and “A” for effort. Those guys have cranked out 33 episodes in so many weeks. That’s dedication. That’s gumption, That’s a lot of time that could have been spent a.) shaving (the mustache look doesn’t work), and b.) re-thinking jokes (here’s a tip: wife beating? Never funny).

Gnooze got half of the Rocketboom formula down: they hired a peppy blonde woman to host (the intro email they sent said she holds a “BS in Broadcast Journalism — a BS?), but her shtick of holding both sides of an imaginary conversation needs to go.

9 Responses to “Newsies! The Best Faux Reporting Online”

  1. Chris,

    The gnooze now has over 100 episodes in the can, a daily viewership in the neighborhood of 10,000, and I feel comfortable saying the show has “grown up” a bit.

    If you ever wanted to give us another look, I’d be interested in your take.



  2. Hey Chris,

    Sorry you don’t like the Gnooze — to each their own, I guess.

    But yes, Marta holds a Bachelor of Science from the William Allen White School of Journalism, which is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 journalism schools in the US. Also, she went to college at 16, has an additional BA in Psychology, and reported in Kansas, South Carolina, and Los Angeles before creating and producing the first women’s mobile network (Diva on GoTV). If you’re interested… and I admit I’m waxing on at this point so you’re probably not…

    But at any rate, maybe watch again sometime. A lot of people say the show grows on them, and even becomes addictive.


  3. Chris Albrecht

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll check The Ointment out.


    I was just looping things into broad categories. No offense was meant, just added you in there because of the behind-the-scenes stuff.