Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Done

vest.jpg
www.vest.si is newly clad


Just saw “Vesti na Vesti” for the first time over at vest.si (in Slovenian only). And – contrary to most comentators there – I find several things quite disturbing:


For the uninitiated: Vest.si is a media portal/blog set up by Jani Sever and a couple of his more or less well known associates. Sever was forced out as the editor-in-chief of a left-wing Mladina weekly political magazine last summer after a relentless political pressure. According to my information the right-wing government has instructed state-owned companies to stop advertising with Mladina, which led to a sharp drop in magazine’s income as these companies are the largest adverisers in Slovenia. In any event, Jani Sever was removed and then embarked on setting up an independent web-based media, which turned out to be vest.si.


The portal/blog has recently been overhauled and is now featuring a weekly round-up of events, hosted by perhaps the only true media celebrity in Slovenia, Jonas ลฝnidarลกiฤ (also known as the host of Who Wants to be a Millionare). So far, so good and I bow to Sever and his team for keeping the project alive.


But I’ve got several problems with this particular concept of weekly round-up, most notable of which is of course the “infotainment” approach.

I do not dare to object to the content at vest.si (mostly because it is above average, but also because I’m not forced to check it out anyway, so I do it out of my own free will), but I do take issue with mixing what turns out to be a wannabe-sarcastic video-collage with the rest of the content.

Jonas does an excellent job as a presenter. He should. It is just that in my oppinon his trademark sarcasm and cinycism do not mix with the serious nature of the actual news. Vest.si team is great at fishing out embarassing moments of current government, but Jonas’ commentary makes a mockery of what should be serious issues. The paradox that occurs is that it is his appearance in the make-shift studio that makes the round-up watchable, much less the actual content.

Of course the main question is, what this round-up actually is. Is it serious, offering the user the benefit of expanded knowledge, is it – in short – news? Or is it a mockery and a parody, a Slovenian version of the Daily Show/Colbert Report with a twist and a knack for using swear words?


If the latter is the case, then I think that Editor in Chief shouldn’t publish his editorials in the round-up, because they either lose credibility or give undeserved credibility to the show. It is like pouring vodka and whiskey in one glass. Some things just shouldn’t be done.

However, If the round-up is considered news, then I’m sorry to say that it fails the most basic journalistic test: relevance. Namely: what is the point of having a news round-up when all news is published in full anyhow? The video is too long to watch as one can check out a good portion (if not all) of the latest entries on vest.si within those ten minutes and decide for oneself on the relevance of a particular piece of news.

Truth be said, there is some progress. In the latest edition Jonas refrained from using swear words. A big plus. But there is still a long way to go. And I don’t think that the content of vest.si would be any less interesting if it hadn’t been for this round-up. I’ve no illusions about this. I’m positive that the round-up with Jonas will be one of the more accessed and viewed features on vest.si. I just think it’s a bad idea.


But what on Earth am I saying??? Here I am bitching about it, when I’m reguralrely posting naked chicks and guys and swearing al the time, while trying to project an image of a left-wing intelectual. I guess the only difference is that I do it for kicks, whereas vest.si is said to be a true and independent media. I’d hate to see their reputation tarnished because of a small screw-up.




UPDATE: Today’s (Wednesday) edition was much more to my liking – both in terms of what was said in the post and in the comments, as well as pleasing my own taste for content.

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pengovsky

Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

21 thoughts on “Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Done”

  1. I could not disagree with you more. Especially on the following two points:

    1. tarnishing the reputation. you mention The Daily Show yourself. altough a comedy central production, it airs on CNN. does it tarnish their reputation? besides, you need a reputation to tarnish first… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. makes a mockery of what should be serious issues. no, they are a mockery and should therefore be presented as such.

  2. To an extent I’d agree… But the above is true (especially No.2) only if certain assumptions are made, the biggest one being that we all agree that issues are a mockery.

    But before I go any further, let me explain one thing: I do not object to the way vest.si does its content in general. God, no! I applaud them for it.

    I object to the fact that they mix serious content with Daily Show-style format. I haven’t seen Jon Stewart in a while, but from what I remember his show is a political talk-show (Jay Leno with a twist) and not a weekly round-up.

    Secondly. The fact that it airs on CNN is not a problem – as is not the problem that vest.si should have a comedy/satire content. But I strongly believe that both CNN and Comedy Central make every effort to separate “serious” news from the shows satire.

    And thirdly, about things being a mockery. Perhaps to me and you, they are. But I strongly believe that the role of the media is primarily to expose and challenge the condesending whay this (and any) government does business – and vest.si is good in that departement, because stupidity is stupidity regardless of its political affiliation.

    But a self-involved and condesending government is not a mockery. It is a gravely serious issue which can (and probably will) have extremely bad long term comsequences for all of us.

    So making a mockery out of these things makes the latter in fact more acceptable than they should be.

    As far as reputation is concerned – I would say that vest.si is making quite an impact, given its freshness and small size ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I have to second JaKa on this one – I’m quite surprised you see things this way actaully, it’s almost a conservative point of view (he,he, quite an insult, hmmm?!). Like JaKa said, The Daily Show is also broadcast on CNN; and Mladina itself features “mockery” that fits in neatly with the rest of the serious content. I would imagine that the target readership of such media is perfectly capable of discerning between the two.

  4. I posted my comment before I saw your answer to JaKa’s.
    John Stewart is part roundup part talk show. More from me later though, duty calls.

  5. An insult? Not in the least, cherie ๐Ÿ™‚ In some areas I actually am quite conservative. And as far as media and politics are concerned, I am sort of “old-school”. What bothers me especially is the way both politics and media seem to collide in the area of entertainment, where they embrace and flourish, with politicians feeding the media good and soundbites, whereas media grant them air time. And I think we’d all agree that airtime on a satitical show is way better than no airtime at all.

    Perhaps I’m in a wrong line of work, but I think the media should be vary of politics and should maintain a certain degree of seriousness about their work. I’m not saying that satire should not be a part of media content (far from it), but it should be clearly separated from serious content. CNN does it, Mladina does it as well. But as far as Vesti na vesti is concerned, I still don’t know what it actually is. An attempt of actually providing some new information or “just” satirical content.

    The way it is now, I see it as an unhealthy mix of both. Intelectual turbofolk, if you will.

  6. Well, well, Pengovsky, I can hear a man who harbours sincere and firm beliefs as to what media should be speaking through you, but I tell you, I am really getting funny feelings in my stomach, watching certain Tamaras, Darjas, Edis, and other nauseating “politically correct” elements of “serious” news every day. I know what you are saying, but, then again… what are you saying, as you yourself so introspectively observed? Day to day politics is an ideological farce, which can only be confronted with another ideology, supported by left-wing intellectuals (was your losing of an “l” only a Freudian slip? Don’t be ashamed to be an intellectual:))and sarcasm at least in my opinion, can be an ideological tool, although far from being the most powerful one. But more problematic than making sarcastic comments about laughable things (I mean is Jelincic’s press conference or the one of that SDS-whoever-that-bozo-is guy with his silly watchdog anything but laughable?) is to treat these laughable things as being something serious and normal, as the standard media does. That is really sickening! Because watching that kind of news leaves me completely unsatisfied wandering in the end how come Edi Pucer didn’t say he is at the urologist at the moment, waiting a certain imbecile is to be removed from his dick. In short, I have problems swallowing this so-called “media objectivity” that acts as everything is just a regular news to be reported without any political commentary. I think it’s quite OK to have a media portal that has a political conscience, and if they believe this goverment should be removed from our dicks, they should as well say so!

  7. Let’s get one thing straight: Media objectivity is not the same as media neutrality. And we have a lot of the latter in Slovenia, but little of the former.

    I for one do consider vest.si as an objective media/portal/blog (whatever one wishes to call it).

    In my book media objectitivty is about calling spade a spade an not necesarily being nice about it. But perhaps there are limits to what should be done and there most certainly are ways in which it should not be done.

    There is one journalistic/media approach which noone seems to care for anymore. It’s called “just ignore it”.

    Yes, Jelinฤiฤ’s press conferences are by default a laughable thing, but just by granting him airtime he gains an undeserved credibility. But media usually sucomb (spelling?) to the craving for a good soundbite (not a problem with Jelinฤiฤ) and thus he gets a disproportionate ammount of airtime and – consequently – credibility. Today, everyone wants to report on everything.

    Re: commentary: I agree… But commentary and satire are not the same thing. That’s my point… There’s too much entertainment around, and not enough reflexion.

  8. I don’t think, there’s a need to complain about you swearing and posting nudity. The only thing to complain is that you shiftet Friday Foxies because of Tito’s death but you shifted his birthday for Monday Morning Meat ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Well, his death is slightly more important than his actual birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ It just so happened that cocks got the better of it this time around ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. thanks… But we’ll have to do something about your commenting. It seems that you get marked as spam every time… I’ll look into it promptly.

  11. Just a footnote: There’s an update at the bottom of the post…. Today’s edition of Vesti na Vesti was waaaaay better in all aspects.

  12. You raise a very good point. Here’s my take:

    I think humor and sarcasm help to force the viewer to *think* about the material. Are they serious or not? You can never know, hence you need to be careful. You are forced to form your own opinion.

    At least, we hope it to be so.

  13. Point very well taken. I must admit that issues in today’s post have kept me busy and thinking for the better part of the day (a luxury I rarely enjoy) – so I guess you’ve succeded ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I especially appreciate your input, Jonas – as it has merit. Making one think about the content is what is at stake here. If that is your goal (and I’ve no reason not to belive you), I couldn’t be happier.

    I just hope you keep it up and do not fall prey to “form over content” disease. Media is already saturated with journalistic larpourlartism.

  14. Possibly Vest is infected with some ancient eighties student media virus. We of course think that’s good.
    *
    Mainstream media in this country have a strange habit of missing stories. Vest is covering those.
    This nation also badly needs satire. Vest gladly provides.
    Vest is very much about few people being fed up and trying to do something.
    *
    Thanks to posts and comments like these Vest is improving from hour to hour. We’re in it together.

  15. Since I am interested in the brand new “Slovenian language รผber alles” topic, I listened to the interview with the nice lady who says dubbing Slovenian films should not be done (on Vest.si).
    First thing I noticed: no usage of genitive in the negatve sentence at the very beginning of the interview. WAIT! Before you think I want to show some ingrained Grammar-Nacism here: I would actually love for genitive in negative sentences to disappear even though I like the sound of it. It serves no important purposes whatsoever (which it does when defining possession, e.g.) and only makes it easier for pepople to point at substandard language in others. So if we make the accusative standard (starting with media ๐Ÿ™‚ ) things may look easier…

  16. @Vuk & Jonas: Yes… We are in it together – in a manner of speaking, at least ๐Ÿ™‚ all the more reason that I trully hope you guys make it.

    I guess that’s another regular visitor you’ve won over, despite the initial criticism. Or maybe just because of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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