Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Irene’

A Dick’s World Reader Comments on the State of Television News

August 30, 2011

By Susan Stephenson

This post was sent as a comment on the previous Dick’s World post about television reporting of Hurricane Irene.  Since it is longer than most comments, makes interesting points, and is well-written, I decided to run it as a featured post. That doesn’t mean I endorse everything she says, or that I don’t.  It means she gets her say.

Unfortunately, people in the TV news biz these days know how to set up a shot visually, but all too frequently they are woefully uninformed on virtually ANYTHING else. They have no background knowledge in anything, therefore can present nothing in context or in depth.  And it shows.

Given the resources available on the internet, why do our local reporters mispronounce so many words, and the names of places and people? Especially, names that have been in the news on a national or international level? It’s a ridiculous lack of professionalism.

It would be an interesting experiment to sit down with a stop watch to time how much actual news is in our telecasts. After you take out the teasers on what they plan to tell us after the next commercial, the promos for other network shows, the recaps of what took place on previous network shows, and the “happy talk” between presenters, I bet ten minutes of real news would be a stretch.

An informed citizenry is critical to our nation. What passes for journalism in the 21st century is a travesty.

Hyping Disaster

August 29, 2011

It was hard for me to believe that  television news outlets were being so hysterical when reporting on Hurricane Irene.   When something is exciting all a reporter has to do is report what is happening, he or she doesn’t have to make it exciting.  As I watched one report I thought, well, that focuses the problem quite well. The reporter was almost apologizing because the wind was not howling when she was on camera.  She even said that it had been strong before the anchors cut to  her, but it seemed every time they did, there was a calm.  In other words, she knew that she wasn’t delivering on the hype that preceded her report and felt she needed to explain.

Yes, the hurricane took lives and caused a lot of damage and the flooding is still causing damage, but reporters shouting to the tops of their lungs and doing everything  they could to make their reports exciting was an embarrassment to broadcast journalism.  I have had people tell me over the years that they liked getting their  news from someone was calm in the face of disasters or pending disasters. Guess the news folks of today don’t view it that way.