During the opening credits of Ronan Farrow Daily‘s premiere episode Monday, it became clear just how MSNBC is pitching its 26-year-old news host wunderkind. The writing on a large blue graphic behind Farrow’s head (bringing out his Sinatra-esque blue eyes) said it all: Ronan is the network’s de facto “Spokesperson For Youth.” See?
Farrow started college at 11 and graduated from Yale Law at 21. And in the last five years, when Farrow wasn’t working as a speechwriter and advisor to the State Department, he has been cultivating his Twitter personality — plied with quick witticisms relating to news events and the proclivities of his father (ahem) Woody Allen. From the beginning, RFD is pegged as a youthful hashtag-and-crowdsource-friendly space for national and international news.
So what did we learn?
1. As a green host, there’s bound to be an adjustment period. But given Farrow’s rhetorical capabilities, it probably won’t be a long one. Still, in the first minutes of the show Farrow acknowledged his inexperience: “I’m also new to this — what’s going on here — which camera am I looking at — who knows!” Some live tweeters were unimpressed:
Ronan's show is off to an awkward start. Showcasing his own tweets, asking what camera he should be looking at, etc.—
Brittany C (@bccohan) February 24, 2014
But many liked his soft-spoken style and unrehearsed dreaminess:
Important conversations going on over here about whether Ronan Farrow is cute or the like, totally the cutest—
Elise Foley (@elisefoley) February 24, 2014
2. Farrow is young. This isn’t a new revelation, per se, but it was particularly pronounced given the 20-plus year age disparity between Farrow and most of his guests.
I can only focus on the age discrepancy between Ronan and everyone else on the show—
DWB (@dwbronner) February 24, 2014
Sorta looks like Ronan Farrow has been given an MSNBC show partly to appeal to those people who find Chris Hayes too old.—
Brian Lowry (@blowryontv) February 24, 2014
3. The show will feature gimmicky daily segments (there’s a “hero” and “zero” of the day), many of which employ social media and other youth-friendly tools.
- There’s a “Battle of the Day” in which audience members can answer a poll via Twitter hashtags. Today’s question asked whether Obama or Putin “has been stronger on Ukraine.” Accompanying hashtags were #RFDOBAMA and #RFDPUTIN
- “The World Unseen” is a joint reporting venture with Vocativ that uses the ominous deep web to find sources for stories. Monday’s segment used the ominous sub-internet to find dumpster divers looking for weed. Really, you can’t get more Spokesperson for Youth than that.
- “Call to Action” crowdsources for stories. Monday’s asked viewers to send in photos of themselves holding up a sign that said when they would be done paying off their student loans. Such has been the formula of many popular BuzzFeed listicles.
4. The show takes a casual tone to the news. Farrow thanked his “panel extraordinaire” for being “super real” and for supplying “Republican creds.”
5. Ronan Farrow is really attractive, and looks a lot like his maybe-biological father Frank Sinatra. And people will never stop talking about it.
Watched some of Ronan Farrow's new show. And folks, there just is no way in hell that good looking young man has any Woody Allen DNA in him—
Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 24, 2014