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Chris Masters on The Dead Heart

By ACMI, 2009 2:15 minutes

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'The Dead Heart’ (1987) told the story of two British teenagers who went missing in central Australia. When making this program for Four Corners, Chris Masters decided to reconstruct the events in narrative form of a movie in order to engage viewers.

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Discussion Points

Chris Masters observes that viewers are more likely to be engaged by a story than by an issue. The idea is that if you can get people’s attention with a good story, you might be able to interest them in the issues involved.

In putting together ‘The Dead Heart’, Masters demonstrates his inventive approach to current affairs television and his willingness to consider stories in terms of their ‘human interest’ when this is appropriate.

In recent times there has been much criticism of commercial current affairs programs because they have increasingly focused on human interest stories at the expense of what might be called ‘real’ news.

  • How difficult is it to balance entertainment with information?
  • Can you think of any examples of when a well-told current affairs story has alerted you to a more far-reaching or profound issue?