Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The state of journalism, part six, “the live cross”

You might have to sign up to Facebook to read it (don’t worry, signing up is easy and there’s no communicable diseases to catch) but Simon Pound’s wee Facebook rant piece on modern so-called journalism is spot on:

    It used to be that the rule of reporting was that the reporter was not to put themselves in the story at all unless there was a very good reason. Accepted reasons were:
    1 - There were absolutely NO other possible pictures to use to make the point.
    2 - If the reporter was at a place people had to see to know they were actually there – like on Mt Everest or something similarly impressive.
    And that was it. Otherwise you were meant to use pictures that added to the story.
    That has rather changed, in fact now it is pretty much mandatory for reporters to wander all over the story.
    Once upon a time (up till about two years ago) the point of news was that people had spent all day gathering the most pertinent pictures and expert comment together into a package that told the story with the greatest economy and authority.
    It could then be reviewed before transmission by senior journalists and exist as an example of the very best communication that the station could produce – harnessing the talents of camera operators, editors, reporters, producers etc.
    This approach makes a lot of sense. Even if the product is often nonsense it was carefully assembled nonsense.
    Now though, with the current rage and compulsion for live crosses this is all out the window. Completely.
    Now, rather than look old fashioned with a carefully researched and complied account they will cross LIVE to someone to tell us what happened.
    To ‘tell’ us. As opposed to ‘show’. Therefore doing away with the thing telly is most useful for – pictures – and replacing it with a live shot of someone stuttering, and scared witless while trying to convey complex information while put on the spot in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Read it all here, it’s good:  Pointless Live Crosses in the News, an Artform.

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