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SHAIN GERMANER and KRISTEN VAN SCHIE
As a wave of negative publicity washes over new news broadcaster ANN7, the numerous “blooper” clips of the station’s failings have all but vanished from YouTube overnight.
Last night, videos of presenters blankly staring into the camera, mispronouncing words and occasionally making factual errors had been watched by hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers, but this morning, most of the clips had been removed.
YouTube’s warning message about copyright infringement looms large when you try to click on the re-tweeted link of one presenter referring to “Louise Hamilton” winning the “Grand Pricks”.
The “ANN7 news” Twitter account, a spoof claiming to be an account for “possibly the worst news network in the world”, was also suspended, while the “ANN7 reporter” account remains active.
While the station has claimed it has over 70 journalists with broadcast backgrounds on staff, a look at the Twitter accounts of many of the presenters reveals that most have been drawn from the modelling industry.
Abigail Visagie, a model and BCom student, recently applied to be a Top Billing presenter. Cleopatra Simelane is a former Miss Soweto runner-up who models and acts “on the side”.
Lebogang Keagile also modelled part-time while at her old job as an air hostess. The list goes on.
It was also reported that one senior journalist has already resigned from the broadcaster, just four days since its launch.
But it’s still unclear if the removal of the accounts and videos is due to complaints from TNA media, or if the videos simply infringed on YouTube’s copyright policies and Twitter’s own rules of spoof accounts.
Attempts to get clarification from TNA chief executive Nazeem Howa proved unsuccessful this morning. Questions were also asked over whether the station would be releasing a statement to explain its future and if any attempts would be made to improve its quality.
He told The Star all questions about the network should be addressed in writing to him and he would do his best to respond shortly.
But no response was received by the time of publication and more attempts to get back to Howa were unsuccessful. So it remains unclear if the removal of the clips and accounts is an attempt at damage control.
Rival news networks engaged in dry-runs for months before their channels opened, but ANN7 reportedly had only a few weeks of practice before going on air.
While the SABC’s own 24-hour channel received some criticism when it started earlier this year, the backlash for ANN7 has been massive, the social networks exploding with jokes and negative commentary about the station’s amateurish broadcasts:
From cartoonist, Jerm (@jerm): The more ANN7 get YouTube to take down blooper videos, the more blooper videos will be duplicated and uploaded to YouTube. #ANN7
From Martin Tagh (@martintagg): Yip, I had four of my videos deleted. Here they are before deletion. pic.twitter.com/BIlubCo9eM
From Reuben Goldberg @RubyGold: The real blooper it needs to delete is itself #ANN7
From Michelle Solomon (@mishsolomon): The folks who shot videos of #ANN7 should upload them on multiple vid sites. They’ll have a hard time suppressing the evidence then.
Since its launch, ANN7’s anchors have come up with a lexicon of their own.
Former Egyptian dictator – or “detector”, as one presenter dubbed him – Hosni Mubarak was rechristened Hoseeni Mubarak, Hoisni Mubarak, Horse-ni Mubarak, and Hosni Mumbarak.
Here are some of the names and nouns invented by their anchors:
And perhaps most famously, “Louise Hamilton” wins the “Grand Pricks”.