By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
“Slow news day?” was the query of the pleasantly surprised.
For how in the middle of a plane crash, fleeting low pressure areas, and robberies caught on CCTV did journalists manage to make a potentially viral music video?
Well, it is as easy as facing the camera atop the PC. Or employing an iPad app that can record and edit in shots to a song.
It took a few days last week of shadowing and persuading a cast to join. Yes, a mini-shoot. Post-work and TV shows, of course.
Jeff was the consummate director who was sold-out to his opus.
He even poked all the way to Eastern Samar where Atom Araullo and our team were wondering if we still had any post-earthquake stories left to report.
“You’re missing out on the best video of all time!” Jeff messaged us. Atom and I got on Skype and Jeff showed us the video so far. And he wanted Atom to perform one part via web cam.
The hotel we were staying at only had Internet at its lobby. There was hardly no background to speak of, so our best possible choice was behind the front desk.
My laptop was the conduit, and our hotel receptionist –at close to 10 p.m.–was Atom’s unwitting extra.
And of all recent songs to (re)turn viral, it had to be a 1990s Backstreet Boys hit.
What else would you expect from the bunch of Millennial reporters that cooked this up?
“I Want It That Way” is the quintessential boy band song. It seeps pure cheesiness and evokes images of group performance with its blends, second voices, and slightly raised hands.
It’s a guilty pleasure that makes you sing along and like it. And it’s always sung in groups.
The lyrics don’t sound too happy, but it’s hardly sung on heartbreak.
I’ve sung it with my college barkada in videoke booths just to enjoy it. And I’m sure I remember Jeff Canoy or someone from news singing it too.
The song is also potential YouTube fodder, but in this case, a breather for those overexposed to “Call Me Maybe” and “Oppa Gangnam Style.”
Kids with spunk–ingredient number 1.
Classic pop song — ingredient number 2.
Unexpected cast–ingredient number 3.
We’ve seen them intentionally serious (the news stand-ups). And we’ve seen them unintentionally carried away (those bloopers Marc Logan hides in his library).
But intentionally wacky? It seems only now.
Viewers have an impersonal glimpse of news reporters via tweets and Instagrammed shots. Or minutely via lighter versions of the newscasts’ end-banter.
That music video is about the erstwhile-serious coming out of their shells. A case for why that comedy talk show on late-night Sundays is doing and trending well.
For sure, there was that little fear that it might not look too favorable and best left reserved for the Christmas party.
But after that video link was tweeted and retweeted (in some accounts as practically breaking news) and retweeted (by no less than the boss of the news group), the journalists actually got some congratulations for a “job well done”!
Others were asking the names of reporters in the video they did not know.
Call it “epic” for its cast of 40 ABS-CBN news personalities (which is actually not yet all of them). And its more surprising capo of the two longest-known names Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro performing–with actions!
As much as the newsroom people can set the agenda, they can only dictate so much.
Hashtag #ABSCBNepicvideo, which Jeff and Chiara promoted in the hours to their upload, wasn’t the first to trend.
At that time, netizens were also talking about a statement by the Singapore Foreign Ministry about questions Filipino newspapers asked them on the South China Sea issue.
“You all know how free the Filipino media is..” it said.
Their beef was about reporting accurately. But when read together with the continuous viral retweets, it was a commentary on the freedom to sing, too.
Actually in 2010, “singing journalists” became a bane for one newspaper columnist.
He panned ABS-CBN’s 2010 election advocacy campaign video which featured its journos and news honchos singing “Ako ang Simula” with recording artists and ordinary Filipinos.
The columnist found it “disturbing,” “unnecessary,” and a “dead end for Philippine journalism”. He said it practically subsumed journalism under entertainment.
There are no more singing reporters in the news division’s 2013 election video “Tayo Na”.
After all, they’ve hardly gone beyond cameos in even the most festive of the ABS-CBN Network’s station IDs.
Well, there was that 2009 Christmas station ID where even the Cheche Lazaro sang “Salamat” to “Bro.” That last-minute campaign actually became a hit.
Someone asked me, why come out with an amateur-shot boy band cover? Was it to promote something?
It’s the social media planner’s dream, but not the polished ones courtesy of corporate communications. With technology, viewers can also appreciate this crude, cut-to-cut creation.
It’s neither commercial nor political endorsement, and was hardly spawned in a boardroom. And it surely intends inviting no competition.
It likely follows the cue of a hardly-remembered low-budget 2005 Christmas station ID that went “Magpasaya ng Kapamilya”.
Maybe these journos still dream of a singing career (You sure got to hear some of them sing). After all, speaking on a mic is halfway to belting out (Oh yes, there also are singing outtakes).
Not really promotional. Simply, as Jeff puts, “Because journalists like to have fun too.”
Why did we make it epic? Because we Pinoys are just sentimental at heart, and for the Patrollers of history, it “ain’t nothing but a heartache.”
NOW, THE VIDEO: