Behind the scenes of Q & A

The Australian today features a lengthy article on a visit to Q & A when it took place at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

If you have ever wondered how the show is put together, here are some excerpts:

A half-hour before the show goes live the smartphones and their shutters are at it again, this time as host Tony Jones appears to welcome them and give advice. The sight of Jones raises the excitement a few levels and reminds those waiting patiently they are about to become part of a live television audience.

“Q & A is live political theatre,” Jones tells them in a pep talk he delivers at about this time every Monday night. “Keep that in mind. You are part of a live audience and it’s important to have respect for each other and each other’s views.”

A typical show will attract on average 20,000 tweets, or between 500 and 600 a minute.

Two producers act as the first filter for tweets with the “qanda” hashtag or, as (executive producer Peter)¬†McEvoy describes it, they throw the first bucket into the river. A third producer then sorts through the filtered posts, of which about 150 make it on to the screen. Popular tweeters get retweeted by followers, hence the increased chance of publication for a well-known viewer – and a trigger for criticism that the same voices appear repeatedly.

You can read more here.


  1. @Kenny

    Maybe not the far-right, however, I’m sure moderates are capable of sending tweets. And one only has to look at the actual twitter feeds and compare that to what is being shown on-screen.

  2. Media Watch should be looking into how the tweets are filtered. It’s obvious to most people now that there is more of a tendency for tweets that are far-left leaning, or from twittering personalities who are associated with the far-left. It’s quite a joke for a show that presents itself as democratic.

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