Tooter Turtle was a semi-entertaining and semi-educational cartoon that ran from 1960-61. Each episode followed the same formula. Tooter (a turtle) asks his friend Mr Wizard the lizard for a favour: to magically send him across time and/or space into whatever his dream job was that week. Mr Wizard warns him that it’s not what he’ll expect before granting the wish. Tooter is always so terrible at his role that he is going to die or suffer an intolerable fate but he begs the wizard to return him. The magical words “drizzle drazzle drozzle drone, time for this one to come home” reversed the predicament. Occasionally, Mr Wizard would state the theme of the series, “Be just what you is, not what you is not. Folks what do this has the happiest lot.”
In 43 episodes Tooter endured many professions that seem exciting including being a baseball player, World War I fighter pilot and journalist.
“News Nuisance” is a terrible representation of the profession even for a children’s cartoon. For his first story, Tooter’s boss expected him to get photos of a man that seemed be contemplating suicide. Later Tooter tries to find a news story at the bank then the segments are based around Tooter’s stupidity rather than work difficulties, culminating in being sentenced to prison for assault.
A lot of issues that journalists face are timeless, could have been covered this cartoon and have been covered in my subject 57083 Advanced Journalism. These include:
- Ethics: There are many facets for behaving ethically for journalists. The Media Entertainment Arts Alliance’s code of ethics emphasize honesty, fairness, independence and respect for the rights of others. Tooter shouldn’t be harassing somebody he thinks is going to kill themselves.
- Legal issues: The areas covered by the course are defamation, copyright and contempt of court. Contempt of court is an offence that can result in a prison sentence – the thing that finally breaks Tooter. This cartoon would have been so much better if he was jailed for not revealing his sources or violating reporting restrictions.
What does it get right? The editor-in-chief or head of school does expect real news and is a source of great stress. There are battles to cover a story.
You’re probably wondering why I am writing about a 56 year old cartoon. I want the wizard to call out the magic words – I don’t know if I want to do this for the next decade.
Journalism is a frequently frustrating profession. People often refuse or ignore requests to be interviewed; governments refuse requests for data; stories are deemed not newsworthy; deadlines are stressful. I wish the course covered deal with these.
Also, I didn’t get an interview with Drew DeNicola or Gorman Bechard which I was hoping for this blog.