Home Society What TV gets wrong about newsrooms (spoiler alert: not enough swearing in headlines)
What TV gets wrong about newsrooms (spoiler alert: not enough swearing in headlines)

What TV gets wrong about newsrooms (spoiler alert: not enough swearing in headlines)

by host

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

I come to defend the good name of POLITICO from the evils of the television industry.*

Portraying print journalism or online journalism on TV is of course quite difficult. It’s hard to sustain viewer interest when the average water cooler conversation goes like this…

“Have a nice weekend?”
“Yes, it was alright. You?”
“Not bad … Cup of tea?”

As a result, daily life in a newsroom is often sexed up for the screen. Even the greatest TV show of all time, “The Wire” (FACT!), lost its way slightly once a bunch of journalists were introduced in series five.

This brings us to “Le Parlement,” which is about a young assistant at the European Parliament who arrives in Brussels but doesn’t know how the EU institutions work (insider tip: no one knows, it’s all bluster). It’s good fun but (as pointed out by my top colleague Hans von der Burchard) it featured a mocked-up version of POLITICO’s paper edition with the following headline (readers of a nervous disposition may want to sit down for this): “Parliament lets delegated act slip in technical blunder.”

That’s all kinds of wrong, especially because the words ‘delegated act’ are actively offensive, so I put it through POLITICO’s random headline generator and got: “Fuck! EU lawmakers screw up again,” which I think we can all agree is much better.

The sub-heading is even worse and will take up a good 25 percent of my word count for this column: “It’s been a few weeks already that the “Blue Deal” plan was delegated to the European Commission. The deadline of one month during which the Parliament could object to the delegated act has been exceeded since yesterday, midnight. The Parliament seems to have decided to let the Commission review the act.”

First, could someone please call me an ambulance as my head is spinning? Second, I would be fired on the spot if that headline and sub-heading were published (and rightly so).

  • * It’s not evil if a TV executive would like to commission my 25-part horror series about an expat in Belgium having to get around using a replacement bus service for the past 12 weeks. It’s gripping stuff, and I’m happy to play the lead role.


“Great suit. The best. I want you to go lie down at the Mexican border as I promised to build a wall.”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter/X @pdallisonesque

Last time we gave you this photo:

Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“I’m glad they chose chocolate over the Manneken Pis,” by Julien Furnace.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s deputy EU editor.

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