Working as an editor can be a tiring grind. The relentless deadlines, the long nights, the need to quickly comprehend rapidly evolving events.
Oh, and let’s not forget the pressure to constantly run an agenda that demonises disempowered groups to help sell papers and keep the owners happy.
Thankfully, the enterprising scamps over at satirical website The Sauce have done the editors of one paper a huge favour.
They’ve come up with a ‘headline generator’, which produces a new Daily Telegraph header with the simple click of a button.
The tool takes some of the Sydney tabloid’s favourite targets – students, Greenies, the unemployed, unions, Muslims, bikies, foreigners, and drug users – and seamlessly blends them into a new story, saving the Tele’s editorial team hours of work.
Matthew Davis, an engineering student who coded the program, got the idea from a similar tool lampooning the sloganeering of UK anti-immigration party UKIP.
We chatted with Cameron Smith, who runs The Sauce, to ask him about the project.
Who made the generator?
One of our contributors Matthew Davis had the brilliant idea of the headline generator and coded it up in his spare time. I may have added a few tweaks to get it making full front pages, but if any lawyers are asking it was definitely Matt from start to finish.
Why did you decide to make it?
I think the main motivation was our dream of pissing off one of the world’s biggest media empires and ruining our chances of ever getting a paid job in the media.
Was there a serious point or was it just for fun?
We originally thought we were making a damning criticism on the quality of the Daily Telegraph, but then the Tellie actually publicised the generator, so I suspect we didn't do as good job as we'd hoped.
What's your favourite REAL Daily Tele headline?
I think "Australia Needs Tony" takes the cake for being so spot on. Can you imagine much how harder satire would be without that onion eating, prince knighting, suppository of all wisdom running our country? We're also looking forward to the future "Telegraph Sues Satirical Website For Making Fun Of Them" headline too.
Do you think the editors of the Tele can retire now and rely on your generator instead?
To be honest, we wouldn't be doing this if we COULDN'T let some old millionaires retire early. Though obviously if Joe Hockey gets his way they'll be kept on till they're 120, which means they'll be around for at least another 5 years.
Any plans for similar adventures in the future?
We thought of doing an Australian headline generator, but then we would have to find someone who has ever read The Australian. We were also thinking it's about time someone took New Matilda down a notch.
How many headlines have been generated so far?
You can't really put a figure on something like that, mainly because we can’t afford the extra $3 it costs for those statistics, but if we had to guess we'd probably say a number.
How many hits has the page had?
Lets just say more hits than Taylor Swift in the Hottest 100, less hits than Tony Abbott’s credibility.
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