Reviewing a year in review

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I am so sick of reading last year’s news.

Yes, I am aware that if you read the rest of the Carillon this week, you’ve basically been bombarded with 2011 in review. Unfortunately, if we don’t talk about the New Year, it looks like we are totally unaware that anything occurred. If we don’t go through with some sort of recap issue, we seem to be totally out of line with what people expect.

However, that does not mean I like this issue. Even before Christmas, the media was blaring on about the year in review. I had the misfortune of watching SportsCentre (and then the subsequent five or six reruns of the same SportsCentre since apparently my sports-obsessed brother needs to watch the same shitty stories repeatedly) and aside from its clichéd and overdramatic coverage of the Russian Junior Hockey team, it was presenting its standard rundown of the top 40 plays from the last year. It’s such a valuable experience that I’ve added to my life, repeatedly watching one play after another with no real context and nothing but an announcer yelling excitedly.

Aside from SportsCentre, there was an array of year in reviews from all the other channels. One of my favourite was CTV News Channel’s coverage of the year in review, which amounted to quickly recapping the day’s news event in five minutes so that they could get to what was really important: Jacqueline Milczarek awkwardly trying to contribute to a discussion with two comedians about why men are stupid.
Following another five-minute interruption of current events – something about shootings in Nigeria –  we were subjected to Richard Crouse talking about the movie year in review, which would be fine, if there was anything aside from that. It felt like a solid hour of Richard Crouse, news, Richard Crouse, news, Richard Crouse, and so on. The only entertainment I could wring out of his segment was yelling at the TV with my brother, demanding to know the real news, i.e. how had Crouse broken his arm.

Not to mention that when news channels do get down to reviewing the year in news, they all gravitate towards the same stories. This makes a lot of sense, considering that it should be obvious which news stories were important, but it still makes watching the news irritating in the extreme since they are all doing the exact same thing and covering the same stories again. We would be much better served if the news channels took turns alternating which of them did the recap for the year while the others did something different.

The only thing that kind of looked interesting was CBC’s recap of 2011 through Peter Mansbridge’s interviews from the last year. While it was still a review piece, at least it was something other than quickly running down what happened last year. It’s an interesting, creative twist on the idea of yearly reviews and something sorely lacking in any coverage around this time.   

As far as I am concerned, a year-in-review segment is nothing more than a passing interest and a reminder of all the things that can happen in a year. Such a reminder should be solely for a little entertainment, and should not take up nearly as much time nor carry as much weight as the media likes to give it, but these year-end practices are by now deeply entrenched in newsroom culture. At the end of next year, I will just have to resort to the one thing I know will work: turning off the TV and waiting for the middle of January.

Edward Dodd
Op-Ed Editor

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