snow, snow, snow, snow...
Yesterday's top news story in Denmark was the snow, of course. Fair enough, a lot of it had fallen over the previous 24 hours. As I happen to love snow, the more of it that falls, the better my mood.
Nonetheless, one of my (least) favourite pastimes is being subjected to the evening news in Copenhagen. The fact that a snowstorm is big news should give you an idea why. Be it the national news or the local news, you can be certain of one thing - Danish news is dead boring. I would say it is nearly unwatchable (an opinion that tends to create a little bit of friction in our home whenever the news is turned on).
Not that those responsible for broadcasting the news seem to agree with me - in December, a 24-hour news channel focusing on Danish news went on the air.
The 24-hour news station even cobbled enough kroner together to buy a helicopter (they keep on their helipad in front of their office in Copenhagen). Now you can be sure there has yet to be anything newsworthy enough in this country to actually put it to good use since then, but it makes a lot of noise when they fly it around the city, which they do like to do. And I suppose it does give a sort of illusion that something newsworthy is occurring in the city right at this very moment.
But trust me when I tell you that as this is Denmark, there surely is not. This is not a bad thing - in fact, it's a very good reason to live here. It just doesn't make for terribly interesting news broadcasts. There's not even enough traffic in and around Copenhagen to usefully report about.
I've always imagined it must be quite funny to be a producer in the newsroom in Copenhagen putting together the day’s news and trying to find the stories to fill the air-time with. As a producer, listening to non-story after non-story being pitched, how exactly do you actually choose between them?
There is a silent 'click' each night that occurs immediately following the one or two mildly newsworthy items, when the 'filler' news stories begin.
But watching the news does provide moments of amusement, from time to time - and this brings us back to yesterday's newsworthy topic: the snow.
One of yesterday's classic news moments involved a snow story, naturally. It was live remote report (from Slagelser) - a classic way to make non-news seem important. It's a technique employed regularly during new broadcasts in Denmark, especially in Copenhagen where reporters are constantly spread across the city to deliver their reports 'live'.
In the same vein, the classic technique of changing the camera angle on the presenter constantly after each news item is delivered (and oftentimes during it) is also vigorously employed during all Danish newscasts. Did they never watch Monty Python?
So to describe my favourite story of yesterday:
It began with the reporter standing outside and in the middle of nowhere, naturally surrounded by a lot of snow. He informed us that there was a lot of snow and that this snow was keeping Falck drivers very busy (surprise, surprise - Falck being the equivalent of the 'Danish automobile association' - they're the people you call when you need a tow). But this introduction was really just a little trick, as at this point the camera panned over to a...Falck driver! Yes, he was standing there ('live'). The Falck driver then got to say a few words about how many people had (predictably) gotten stuck in the snow and how busy he was because of this. Fine, fine. Alas, this was only another little trick. With another little pan of the camera, a minivan stuck in the snow was revealed. That's right, stuck in the snow - 'live' during the broadcast! A microphone was foist into the driver's face ('Yes, I'm stuck in the snow, so I had to call Falck...') and then the moment of truth was upon us. With a shout to his colleague in the tow-truck, 'live' across Denmark we watched the Falck truck pull the minivan out of the snow. Another sterling moment for live news reporting.
Then back to the newsroom in Copenhagen we were taken. For more, um...news.
'So tell us, is it snowing where you are Mr. Anderson?'
'Yes, there's a lot of snow. And it's cold. Very cold.'
'Are you expecting more snow?'
'Um, yes, I think there will be...'
'How are people coping with it?'
'Well, it seems most people are choosing to stay inside.'
'Yes, that's probably a good idea. Thanks very much for that live report. And try to stay warm.'