1. The dunce on the street. You know the guy; he’s being interviewed only because he was in the vicinity of something producers consider news. His insight, such as it is, consists of saying “you know” a lot and plastering a massive I’m-so-excited-to-be-on-TV grin on his face.
2. The Mini Me analyst. News anchors are supposed to be objective so any time they want to slip a bit of political commentary in, they’ll invite an analyst-for-hire, someone who will say exactly what the anchor wants him to say. But we can trust him; he wears an expensive suit.
3. The apocalyptic teaser. “Are you aware that you might die tomorrow? Join us after the break and we’ll tell you how.”
4. The dancer in the background. There’s always this one jerk, usually lurking in the shadows, who likes nothing better than to add a bit of flavour to a beeper by gyrating madly. He is to the dunce on the street what Bonnie was to Clyde.
5. Important hair. You know why there’s a dengue epidemic in the country? All the spray that should have been used to fumigate our cities is keeping up the hair of vain anchors.
6. Casual racism. You will never see a dark face on news channels. After all, the survival of Fair and Lovely depends on it.
7. The vague Pakistan connection. Never fear, news channels will find the cousin of a Pakistani citizen who was shopping at a mall three blocks away from a fire in Michigan.
8. The child-like fascination with technology. This particularly materialises during elections. Anchors get so aroused by their BlackBerrys, touch screens and other assorted thingamajigs they can barely contain themselves.
9. The illegible ticker. News channels have discovered a new font. It allows you to only read one out of every three words before disappearing from view.
10. The expert for all seasons. No matter what the topic, this chameleon will become an instant expert. He throws in a bit of jargon, comes to some sweeping conclusions and calls on the government to do more.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.