|Here We Go Again
by Abe Rosenberg
I've been thinking about some of the dramatic changes in TV news over these past few years, and rather than just offer my opinion, I'd like to ask a few questions and find out what you think:
How do you feel about the trend to dismantle traditional news broadcasts, and turn them into, in effect, talk shows that only touch on the news? How do you feel about anchors chatting each other up, giving their reactions to stories, and even sharing their personal views about controversial issues? Is this appropriate?
What do you make of the explosion of social media and its effect on news programs? What is the proper role of Twitter, Facebook, and others? Should they be tools to help news departments maintain a connection with viewers, to share information off the air, to get story ideas from the public... or should they go further... should they be an actual part of the show itself? Should every newscast have whole segments filled with Tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos?
While we're talking about YouTube, should any video found on that website be fair game for a news broadcast? Should we automatically accept any video sent to us, and put it on? What safeguards, editing, vetting and verification procedures should we put in place to make sure we don't air propaganda, hoaxes, or outright lies?
What should be the proper relationship between a station's on-air newscast, and its web presence? What are the best ways for both media to complement each other, and provide more total, helpful, useable information? Do stations and their websites do a good enough job of cross-promoting each other? Or do they do too much of it?
As many news programs become increasingly informal in tone and format, how do you feel about the state of broadcast standards now? Is there too much vulgarity finding its way on the air? Do you see an increase in racy, risque material? Is it pushing serious news out of the way?
Now that a TV screen can be as small as your smartphone or as large as your wall, how much data should be shoved into that space? Is there too much clutter? Do the endless crawls, bugs, side panels, information banners, factoid boxes, etc. etc. add to your understanding of the news, or distract you?
Has Gotcha!! become the new benchmark for deciding what goes into a news program? Does shock value or a pretty picture matter more than hard news? Has the TMZ model enhanced the news business, or infected it?
Is it old-fashioned, even obsolete thinking, to expect a news organization to be as un-biased and objective as possible? Should a news program have a particular political slant? And if it does, is it still a news program? Is it a good or a bad thing to have a left-leaning news channel, and a right-leaning one? Do the talking heads who appear on those channels to say the same predictable things again and again, inform you? Bore you? Annoy you?
Talk to me.
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