20 April 2023
News on social media really is more click bait than current affairs, according to a new video web series.
Monologue, a six-part comedy series with deep insight into how online news is created, was funded by Screen Australia and VicScreen with support from Swinburne University of Technology.
The show, costing several hundred thousand dollars to produce, reveals the blurred lines between fact and fiction in digital journalism.
This is done by following the chaos at what is billed as Australia’s sixth most influential pop culture news website, Monologue, starting with The Bot, and episode about an AI brought in to write the click bait.
Monique Crawford (Emily Taheny, Mad as Hell) plays the socially-minded but narcissistic editor. Max Jenke (Mike McLeish, Utopia) is her conservative, money-hungry business partner.
“It’s a world full of fiery arguments, ego pushing, and shambolic fun,” says the show’s creator Nick Melin, who based the series on his experiences working in the media.
He started a magazine in 2009 called Spook magazine in Melbourne. "It became a bit of a hit and ended up being a being distributed to 42 countries," he told AdNews.
"We had some pretty big artists interviewed and a lot of the people who worked on that magazine have gone on to bigger things.
"I guess the idea for the story (Monologue) came when we needed to go digital. At that time in the industry, you needed to go digital, get a social media presence, and become a bit more digitally savvy.
"The idea of getting a print magazine into online and doing it with people in a team didn't have sort of experience."
That's where the comedy came from.
He finished up the magazine in 2015 ad a raft of online enw sites took hold, including Junkie, Pedestrian, Buzzfeed and Mama Mia. A
"A huge influx of these these news publications and we kind of got squeezed out," Melin says.
The writers of Monologue include Nina Oyama (Koala Man, Utopia), Deidre Fidge (Get Krack!n) and Vidya Rajan (Why Are You Like This?).
“Our goal with Monologue was to create a show that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and we hope that it will start conversations and inspire viewers to approach online media with a more discerning eye,” says Melin.
Each episode investigates an element that undermines the credibility of online journalism, such as the use of "news bots" and the prevalence of "native advertising” or commercial messages disguised as news.
Joining Taheny and McLeish are Robin Goldsworthy (No Activity), Alice Foucher (That’s Not Me), Davey Thompson (All My Friends Are Racist), and Honor Wolff (Hot Department).
Real media presenters Tracey Holmes and Jo Stanley make guest appearances.
Monologue will also have a pop-culture website with satirical content and additional narrative content on social media, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves in the Monologue world.
The show is to be released Monday, April 17 as well as on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.
The show was produced by Jim Wright (Goodnight Sweetheart), and Elise Trenorden (All These Creatures) who believes that Monologue will resonate with “anyone who has felt disillusioned by the constant barrage of click bait and viral garbage".
Produced by Truce Films and directed by Nicholas Clifford (We’ve All Been There) and Stef Smith (It’s Fine, I’m Fine).
Watch the show at http://monologuedigital.com.au