The power of obtuse ideas
Can standup comedy improve trust in journalism? It sounds bizarre, but sometimes the most obtuse ideas can reach places more conventional ones can’t.
A former colleague of mine, Kirsty Styles, has created Standup for Journalism
, which will see six people in the field of journalism trained in stand-up comedy before doing a live show next month.
“It’s no secret that journalism has an image problem… demonstrated by the fact that journalists are trusted less than estate agents. Why on earth would anyone want to be one?
"While we might not trust journalists, we certainly love comedy. It was the top podcast genre in 2018, standup is booming on Netflix and top comedians get paid in the tens of millions of pounds, according to Forbes. In fact, US comedian Jon Stewart was once voted the ‘most trusted newscaster’ in America. No joke…
"Getting public support, by getting on stage, may be crucial to securing the future of an industry that’s in trouble.”
The idea of journalists connecting with the public in new ways is certainly appealing. Cuts in funding have seen journalists increasingly shut away in a news room in some big city far away from the people they serve. That’s no way to build empathy in both directions. Opening up through jokes? It’s a start.
So as a statement of intent – as a direction of travel – I like the idea of Standup for Journalism. It’s taking place in Manchester, UK in the coming weeks, so if you’re in media and in the local area it’s worth applying