Starsuckers is a feature documentary about the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it. Made completely independently over 2 years in secret, the film journeys through the dark underbelly of the modern media. Using a combination of never before seen footage, undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all and especially our children. Chris Atkins presents Starsuckers as a series of five lessons on fame in the modern world: how children are persuaded that fame is something they want, how television and the media reinforces the importance of celebrity and the efforts to attain it, how the mind and body reinforces our need to follow the activities of well-known people and strive to join their number, how the press became addicted to celebrity coverage, and how the art of promoting fame has led to celebrities and their handlers controlling the press instead of the press having say. Along the way, Atkins demonstrates how celebrity news with no basis in fact gets into print, why newspapers will run press releases almost verbatim, how parents will eagerly sign away the image rights to their kids, how certain mass scale charity events end up helping the performers far more than the causes they designed to support, and how publicists keep accurate but unflattering stories out of the news.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Journalistic Over-Kill

Old but interesting news;

Christine Chubbuck, 29 was a TV news reporter for Channel 40, WXLT-TV station.

She had been depressed for some time, the main source of which was apparently “her focus on her lack of relationships.” Her mother later said that it was due to “her personal life was not enough”. She complained to colleagues that she was going to be 30, yet she was still a virgin who never went on more than 2 dates with men. Her colleagues noted that she could be “brusque and defensive” and that she was “self-deprecating, criticizing herself constantly and rejecting any compliments she was given.”

On 15th July 1974, she turned up for work with a .38 revolver and put it below her desk.

The first 8 minutes of her program started normally enough. She covered a few national news stories. Then the story turned to one about a local restaurant shooting the day before. There was a technical problem with the videoclip about the restaurant, and Christine shrugged it off, before saying:

In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first: an attempted suicide.

Then, unbelieveably, she took out the pistol and shot herself behind her right ear. As a result, she violently fell forward. The technical director faded slowly to black.

Jean Reed was handling the videocameras that morning and she thought it was a prank until she saw Chubbuck’s twitching body.

To cover, the TV station immediately filled in with a standard Public Service tape, followed by a movie.

Chubbuck was taken to hospital and pronounced dead 14 hours later.

She was cremated. Her family managed to get a court order preventing the release of the videotape of her suicide.