Gatorade Play of the Week

February 14, 2003
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Every week, Channel One News plays a joke on the school boards that signed up for their service. They run a feature called The Play of the Week. This is a promotional effort by Channel One to get more students to watch their program.

Virtually every day near the beginning of the show, Channel One encourages students to send in video tapes of an athletic endeavor. The point is for students to nag their teachers to turn on Channel One because this week their video may be played on the show.

When you watch this clip, notice the actual "play" of the week. It is absolutely silly. A football player bobbles a football and finally catches it. Go to any high school game and you see fifty more impressive plays than that before the first half. Channel One doesn’t care if the play is routine or spectacular. They don’t get that many videos sent in so Channel One can’t be picky.

Everything about Channel One News is "lite". Their news is "lite", there journalistic ethics are "lite" and even their Plays of the Week are "lite".

No school or school board ever gave Channel One permission to show clips of high school and middle school sporting events. (What does this have to do with current events??) Indeed, this is an insult to school boards that agreed to have Channel One come into their classrooms. The deal was schools would sacrifice an hour a week of school time for a current events-news show. Channel One News has been steadily moving away from current events for the last several years. The video below is just one example of this trend.

This whole segment is a commercial for Gatorade. It is not the "Channel One Play of the Week" it is the "Gatorade Play of the Week." This is in ADDITION to the two minutes of formal advertisements. This violates the contract with schools. Anyone who is familiar with Channel One News knows that they have increased, sometimes substantially, the amount of commercial content. "Two minutes" is now the MINIMUM of commercial time and not the maximum as promised to schools.

Notice also that Errol Barnett takes up valuable school time showing off a shirt that a student sent him. This is yet another way that Channel One lures students to watch. You never know when the anchor will be wearing your school’s shirt or hat.

Seth Doane then takes time to tell students to go to ChannelOne.com. Again, no school gave permission for Channel One to promote their entertainment web site. (If you think this is primarily a news web site, just take a look around channelone.com.)

After the anchors finally sign off the show continues by flashing a school name. This is part of a contest that has nothing to do with news. It is an effort by Channel One to confirm their audience numbers to their national advertisers. If they can tease teachers with some money, they will get more of them to watch. If they can show advertisers a good number of schools entering this contest, then they can justify their ad rates.

The final thing you see in this clip is the rules for the Gatorade contest. It scrolls up the screen in extremely small print that is unreadable even if you were 6 inches away from the screen. This is a joke played on the kids. Channel One executives are basically saying, "Who cares if you know the rules, kid. We have a legal responsibility to show you the rules but it doesn’t mean that they have to be readable."

When you watch this clip understand that right before this clip starts there were two 30-second commercials, so add one minute of waste to the time of this clip. Look at your watch and start the clip. However long it is (we could tell you but that would spoil the fun), multiply that time (plus the minute, remember) by the number of students in your school. Or multiply by 8 million students nationwide. Both figures should make you sick. And that is just the wasted time at the END on just ONE show.

Obligation’s Jim Metrock said, "I challenge any pro-Channel One teacher to stand up before their community and defend the various things we see in this clip. This shows how Channel One has broken their contractual promises to schools. It also shows how they are stealing time (time=money) from taxpayers. When you promise to deliver ten minutes of daily news and you don’t come close to honoring that promise, then people have a right to want your product out of their schools."

(Video) Gatorade Play of the Week (Aug. 2002)