Posts Tagged ‘CBS This Morning’

“Think About That for a Moment”

August 7, 2018

That’s what Gayle King, a co-anchor on CBS This Morning, advised us to do as she reported on the largest forest fire in California history during the rapid-fire, tightly-edited Your World in 90 Seconds opening segment on the show. (At one time, I did not like newscasts to be referred to as “shows.” I thought of them as being serious business. That was during the Walter Cronkite era. Now, unfortunately, the term “show” is accurate.” None of today’s news shows comes close to the numbers Cronkite, Brokaw, or Jennings newscasts pulled on CBS, NBC, and ABC. Admittedly, there were fewer choices then. But, I digress. Back to MS King and her advice.) If we had stopped to “think about that,” we would have missed the beginning of the next story.

That is one advantage that newspapers and magazines had over broadcast news. We could stop to think about a story before we went on to read the next one.  However, there is now something that lessens that advantage. It’s called a DVR, which stands for “digital video recorder.” Miss a story because you’re thinking about the one you just watched, just hit the rewind. I wouldn’t be without a DVR.  The latest stats I could find online show a little more than half of TV households have a DVR. Commercial TV stations and networks probably weren’t too pleased with them when they came into use because a lot of folks, including me, record most of what they watch so they can fast forward through the commercials. I do watch some commercials, the clever ones that give me a little entertainment or important information for my time spent watching their sales pitch. They have to come at the beginning of the break to hook me.

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What’s the Hurry?

December 8, 2017

If I didn’t have a DVR, I would miss a lot of what is said on the CBS This Morning newscasts.  I find myself rewinding a lot to be able to understand some reports. And sometimes even that doesn’t work because the information isn’t properly explained. Not only do the anchors rush a lot of their copy and run words together, but the production of the reports is often too tight..  Maybe the editors should cut down on the number of stories and give each one a little more breathing room.  Also, in my view,  there needs to be a brief pause between the reports, and transitions help the viewer stay on track.

Any basic course in writing for broadcast news makes it clear that writing for broadcasts is different from writing for newspapers and magazines. Readers can pick their speed and can easily reread the copy.  Listeners and viewers have to be able to understand what is reported the first time around, especially if they don’t have DVRs.  Perhaps it’s time for some producers to get back to the basics.

For some reason, the three major network producers seem to better understand this on the evening flagship newscasts.

No Need to Sensationalize Sensational Stories

September 16, 2013

Because it’s “bringing  back the news in news,”  I have switched from the Today show to  CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and  from the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams to the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.  Charlie Rose has a warm tone of voice and is easy to follow and understand.  He has the avuncular quality that served  Walter Cronkite so well. Scott Pelly is also easy to follow and sounds less of a news announcer like Brian Williams, and more like a good neighbor doing what legendary Atlanta WSB Radio Manager Elmo Ellis taught me when worked for him.  He said, “Tell a story the same way you would when talking to a neighbor over the backyard fence.”  Pelly also has great credentials as a news reporter. 

ABC’s Dianne Sawyer also has a warm, conversational delivery, but I stopped watching the  ABC’s World news Tonight  when I felt  that it became “news light,” with the emphasis more on soft than hard news.  When I watch  the evening news, I want news.

Both Sayer and Pelley are gaining on ratings leader Williams He’s still ahead but not as much as he was.  I like him and have no problem watching him, especially when he ad-libs.  He sounds conversational when he ad-libs, but not when he reads.  

I suppose what I like about them most is that they don’t sound rushed.  I sampled ABC’s Good Morning America when the big flooding stories hit and could not believe the sensationalized reporting.  The reporters were talking as fast as they could  and were almost yelling as they wildly gesticulated doing their standups in front of raging creeks and rivers. The video editing of the flooding was done in rapid-fire takes.  That’s really not necessary.  There is certainly no need to sensationalize a story that is already sensational.

As I watched the sensationalized reporting, it occurred to me that the on-air personalities were probably following the directions of some broadcast consultant firm’s coaches.  I remember when some out-of-town consultant  coaches would tell me I needed to pick up the pacing of my delivery, and should  gesticulate  more to emphasize what I was saying.  They really wanted rapid-fire delivery. I would politely listen to them, but I knew they would be leaving the next day, and I continued to deliver the news at my own conversational pace and style.  What did they know about what people wanted in the market  that I had lived and worked in for a lot of years?  One size doesn’t fit all.