ARE YOU LOOKING for an interesting story in an uninteresting place? Sometimes that’s the best strategy. And then sometimes it’s not. Bit of a lottery actually, to be honest, particularly when TV ‘celebrities’ get involved.
(ED’S DESK is a new semi-regular column by New Matilda, where we give readers an inside look at the sub-editing process involved in news-making. Or at least, we give you an inside look at what should have been the sub-editing process to correct a steaming pile of sh*t story that actually got published, despite holes in it you could drive a truck through.)
[BYLINE] Caleb Taylor
[INTRO] Sunrise host David ‘Kochie’ Koch is a tall man.
[ED’S NOTES] Caleb, clever stuff mate. You packed a lot into that intro. Notwithstanding the headline, which strongly infers you don’t actually have a story, you’ve rescued things in the first par by stating the bleeding obvious, thus tricking readers into believing that what’s about to follow can’t possibly be as banal as what the headline suggests. Well done. Also, nice use of the nickname ‘Kochie’ to humanise an otherwise boorish and uninteresting character.
[BODY COPY] And on Wednesday, his co-host Sam Armytage, 44, shocked listeners of The Kyle and Jackie O Show when she revealed the real height of her male breakfast show counterpart.
[ED’S NOTES] Okay… Caleb… after a cracking start, you’ve telegraphed to readers that this story actually has no news value. Unless Ms Armytage revealed that Mr Koch was 3ft tall, or 10 ft tall, I’m not sure you can sustain the claim that listeners were “shocked”. Also, how do we actually know listeners were “shocked”? This is radio Caleb, not Gogglebox. Please amend par and delay disappointment of readers until at least the fifth par.
The TV star told Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson that Kochie is actually 6ft 4. ‘I do like Kochie, he’s a tall man. No muckaround,’ Kyle said, remarking on his towering stature.
No ‘muckaround’? Caleb… I understand this is a direct quote, and that English may not be Mr Sandilands’ first language, but the man turns 50 this year. His speech patterns should reflect that. As an entertainment reporter, your job is to be as sycophantic as the subjects you’re reporting on, which sometimes means cleaning up their quotes. Allowing Mr Sandilands to attempt to project an ‘I’m hip to the groove of the youth of today vibe’ just makes him appear as creepy in public as he is in private. This sort of oversight by an entertainment reporter could lead to Mr Sandilands refusing future ‘exclusive’ interviews with the Daily Mail (for example, about items he accidentally bought on ebay while tackling his porn addiction). Please amend Mr Sandilands’ quote to something like. “Mr Koch has excellent personal hygiene and a pleasant demeanour, and appears to be someone of significant stature. I am serious about that.” Also, we’ve used Mr Koch’s nickname. As per Daily Mail house style, please just refer to Ms Henderson as ‘O’ in future reporting.
Sam replied: ‘Yeah, he’s about 6, 4 (around 1.9m) I think.’
Caleb… ‘6,4 I think’ is not a height. It’s a guess. The whole story purports to be about Mr Koch’s height. Find out his fucking height please.
But Kyle appeared surprised to learn his true height was close to two metres, remarking: ‘Yeah, he’s taller than I thought.’
Wow… riveting copy Caleb. So as it turns out, Mr Sandilands – not ‘listeners’ – was ‘shocked’ to learn Mr Koch’s true height? Rumour has it Mr Sandilands is a Leprechaun, so obviously he’s going to be surprised by anything to do with height, I think. See what I did there, Caleb? Fix your copy please.
In the past Sam, who stands at a more modest 1.75cm, has revealed she often uses a booster to ensure the pair have similar head height on TV.
Caleb, please tell me more about this ‘In the past Sam’… or maybe just move your comma one word to the left? Also, delete entire par. Not only does it evoke imagery of Ms Armytage in a booster seat, which may be a criminal offence in some states, but it does not take into account the actual size of Mr Koch’s gigantic forehead, which appears to be so large that it exerts its own gravitational pull (refer to inexplicably deep-etched fake photo below with bonus ‘hint at Kochie junk’). Also, please send image back to picture desk and ask them to lighten it. Also, please add ‘offensive content’ warning to first par.
Elsewhere, the Channel Seven star spoke about her wedding to Bowral businessman, Richard Lavender, which made headlines in December last year. Sam said that while she was still under contract at Seven, she hadn’t ruled out giving up her TV career for a quiet life in the Southern Highlands. She told the hosts she was ‘very happy’ in her job but could ‘easily’ see herself embracing country life ‘down the track’.
Caleb, Ms Armytage’s sense of blue-blood privilege coupled with her trademark ‘confidence in the rightness of her vaguely-formed personal opinions’ means that the chances of her living a “quiet life” anywhere on earth, including in the Mariana Trench, is extremely unlikely. Please delete. Also, I too could ‘easily’ see Ms Armytage giving up her TV career and embracing country life down the track, indeed so could the overwhelming majority of the Australian population. Please do not toy with their (or my) emotions. The prospect of Ms Armytage considering her retirement from public life is a MAJOR news story. If she is planning on retiring from television, please rework copy and amend headline to ‘One small step for Sam, one giant leap for mankind?’.
Sam and Richard tied the knot in an elegant ceremony on New Year’s Eve. The happy couple wed at millionaire horse breeder Richard’s $2 million estate in Berrima. The pair reportedly married at his home around midday, and then moved to a luncheon at the Centennial Vineyards Restaurant in Bowral.
Caleb, as per Daily Mail policy, please assign Richard Lavender a nickname (but don’t go ‘too obvious’ – Dick Lavender sounds like a men’s bath soap sponsored by the Proud Boys). Also, Ms Armytage reportedly planned her wedding in three days. Can we sustain the claim that the ceremony was “elegant”? Genetics and common-sense would strongly suggest otherwise. Please fact check.
Sam opted for simple elegance in a custom cocktail frock from Australian designer Carla Zampatti. The dress retails on the designer’s website for $629.
Caleb, firstly, refer to note above re use of the word ‘elegance’. Secondly, if Ms Armytage bought the dress online, then it can’t be ‘custom’ (unless only one dress was ever made, specifically for Ms Armytage, and she just happened to stumble across it. The odds of that occurring are astronomical). Please delete, or amend headline to something more ‘Daily Mail’ like, ‘Cheap-arse Sam Armytage’s nightly self-googling mindfulness routine sparks once in a gazillion years online wedding dress triumph’. Secondly, we’re a news organisation, not a fucking charity. Please notify corporate about the Carla Zampatti dress being available online. They may be able to sell an over-priced link to the website. You’ve been warned about the need to identify revenue opportunities in your news reporting before, Caleb. Where do you actually think your wages come from? By way of more broad feedback, your job as the entertainment reporter is to listen to innocuous interviews of sycophants interviewing other sycophants, and then to identify an actual news angle, while amplifying that sycophancy. I acknowledge that given the content of a program like The Kyle and Jackie O Show that this can be challenging, but the fact is a monkey could still write the entertainment round. The only reason the Daily Mail hasn’t hired a monkey is because of Australia’s restrictive labour laws, but we’re working on that. So… get your shit together, Caleb… don’t make me hire a monkey. Also, please stop by my office this evening before you leave. – Ed.
Donate To New Matilda
New Matilda is a small, independent media outlet. We survive through reader contributions, and never losing a lawsuit. If you got something from this article, giving something back helps us to continue speaking truth to power. Every little bit counts.