When technology fails a news anchor, there are no words

An Australian TV news anchor is suddenly left without an autocue or a script. She has no idea what to say.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
And the eyes widened. NickyAndDimos/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

In case you didn't know, it's all happening in Canberra, Australia.

The only thing left to discover is what it is that is happening in Canberra, Australia.

Viewers of the "Today Tonight" show on Channel 7 earlier this week were desperate to find out. And then news anchor Helen Kapalos capitulated to a technological malfunction.

As news.com.au reports, Kapalos's autocue died, as did she.

With no script to work from, she was left seeking words that had suddenly left, perhaps to have a beer in the local pub. She must have wished she'd gone with them.

Quite touching is the initial widening of her eyes when her autocue disappears. Then she realizes that she has no script.

Perhaps a producer was madly screaming in her ear: "Talk! Think of something! Juggle!"

Yet Kapalos began to devolve into a random stream of vocabulary that must have turned her entrails to hot porridge.

Just as she was talking about an exciting party leadership race, she meandered: "The same opinion. And we'll have to move on to our next story now. But all very interesting down in Canberra. Of course we'll continue to bring you continuing coverage throughout the evening on our news but now we'll also be crossing to our viewer poll shortly."

Now she was crossing the river between tragedy and parody shortly.

Just as she was about to tell viewers about a Muslim who was becoming a radical, she stopped, turned her mental steering wheel violently, and drove on by with: "I'm sorry we'll have to go to something else there. But it is all happening in Canberra as we can see."

I fear that viewers -- especially those not in Canberra -- could see precious little.

Kapalos was controversially fired from Australia's Channel 10, just a few months ago. Now this was being visited upon her?

After the event, she tweeted: "On @TodayTonight great viewer vote results.. thanks for taking part..unfortunately MASSIVE gremlins.. SO sorry..! :) X"

The massive gremlins did create a considerably funny 90 seconds. So many of us like to feel better by watching someone else walking the livemire.

Isn't it also true, though, that we have become so dependent on technology that, when suddenly left without it, we stumble for what to do, say or think?

Deprived of our Galaxys and iPads, we're not sure what the protocol is, other than to scream about being without gadgets. (Yes, I'm looking at you, who won't turn off your cell phone on a plane.)

Why, these days we can't even tell our lovers goodbye without the comfort of a little technology to smooth our path.