The Parrot theory

In any line of work there are rites of passage. Sometimes it’s the trial you have to go through to be excepted by your peers – like being sent out for tartan paint or a left handed hammer. Other times its the jobs that just make you groan. ‘not again’.

In journalism its the stories that crop up that can mysteriously clear a newsroom leaving a rabbit-eyed intern right in the firing line. The prime suspect for that ‘groaner’ is usually a vox-pop (for snappers it’s the big cheque picture) but in online I’m sure that it’s the parrot story.

Now I haven’t done any empirical studies on this. I base this purely on a rough bit of googling. But the thought came to me when I watched the Croydon Advertisers video on Frisco the talking parrot.

What a great little video. A nice treatment of a traditionally duff story.

So remember it may be parrots catching burglers, prediciting earthquakes or even revealing affairs but one day you will be sent on a parrot story. Are you prepared?

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7 thoughts on “The Parrot theory”

  1. Love that video; nice to see newspaper humour isn’t restricted to groansomely punny headlines.
    And just to prove your point, I’ll add that one of my first jobs as a trainee reporter was to interview… a mynah bird. It had (allegedly) a huge vocabulary but all it said to me was “auntie, auntie”. That was when I resolved to be the one sending others out on jobs.

  2. I used to swear the presence of my video camera would make phones stop ringing. It was usually at a business or non-profit where phones were “ringing off the hook” on a certain topic. We arrive – phones stop! Another rite.

  3. I had the opposite experience – a story about spontaneously exploding lightbulbs, about a month after we got video at my last paper. I was told there was no way it would happen if I went down with the videocam, and to interview over the phone and send a stills snapper. I think you can fill in the rest of the story for yourselves . . .

  4. Thank you. The real story is that Frisco (this Parrot) does speak quite allot. But, if you are planning on making this kind of spoof video, you ask the owner NOT to use any of the words it knows.
    Also the way speak to the woman! I certainly would never talk to a customer in such an off hand way.

    Next, I think I will try performing dogs.

    David Berman / sitbonzo

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