Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HIGH-TECH TV NEWSCASTS: To Express or To Impress?

This article was originally published by Media Newser Philippines, 
April 11, 2011

Yfur Porsche P. Fernandez
Special Contributor, Review and Analysis

There are debates, as to whether or not today's use of modern technology in news programs really result to effective newscasts. One thing is sure, the use of technology in TV news may mean effective delivery when used properly.  

For example, a good use of touch screen technology compliments a report by showing graphics, non-dangling texts, highlighted ideas and phrases, video montage and floated numerical figures for emphasis. One should also avoid visual and technical glitches and should communicate key points to audience. Good timing is also a plus.  

Effective Visual Communicators

Huge touch screens, virtual presence, augmented reality and hologram effect are some of the latest technologies, which are used in today's newscasts. News reporting using these, undoubtedly increases visual appeal, which eventually turns into visual communication. And, newscasts should not fail to maximize the advantages of using these technologies. 

Presenting Effective Presentations with Visual Aid writes, "Aids provide emphasis to whatever is being said. Clear pictures multiply the audience's level of understanding of the material presented, and they should be used to reinforce message, clarify points, and create excitement." 

As people see words plus images, these aids increase audience's understanding and retention level. News technologies may involve audience as they can provide a different approach in news delivery. However, these technologies cannot provide a different look to a news. A crime news remains a crime news, regardless of its presentation.

Battle of the Most High-Tech?

It appears that mainstream competition aims at having the most sophisticated newscast to be produced in TV history. Is not it? There is no problem with this, as long as news veracity is not being sacrificed and effective news delivery does not suffer. Sometimes, extravagance leads to doom. 

While these news technologies occur as visual communicators, it is a high-time reminder for mainstream newscasts that, at the end of the day, people need to be informed of relevant pieces of news and information to help them exercise their citizen-critic duties.  In reality, they do not really care about how a reporter appears and disappears before their TV screens, or how studio lights go up and down as cue for entertainment news. Though these add appeal, people need information not spectales. 

To express, Not to Impress

The improper use of news technologies may deny the utmost goal of coming up with an effective newscast using the most advanced equipment and tools. Its harm may add fuel to permit and expand the cons.  It shall be noted these "visual upgraders," neither give new perspective nor increase news veracity to news. Instead, they bring new approach and modern execution. 

While we recognize innovations and changes in the Philippine TV news landscape, this serves as a reminder about the real purpose of journalism: to express and not to impress.  

No comments: