Sunday, June 10, 2007

We're not live, but we think we are

One of the stupidest ideas in television news is the "look live." That's where a reporter will act as if he or she is live at the scene of a story, when in fact it's being taped for later broadcast. But to your untrained eye, it looks like the reporter is live, and you'll probably hear the anchor end the report by thanking the reporter, who at that time is probably at home laughing at the newscast.

The only station around here that regularly does these stupid things is WBRE, but it's only during the weather segments. The next time you watch their "All Points Accuweather" segment, watch the lower part of your TV screen when Josh Hodell (or whoever the forecaster is) toss to Brian Fitzgerald in Stroudsburg. The word "LIVE" suddenly disappears from the WBRE logo. That's because, well, it ain't live!

Why pretend you're actually live, when you actually aren't? It's one of those crazy things dreamt up by news consultants, who think that a live broadcast, or the appearance of one, makes the story look fresh, even if it's a few hours old. And if the live truck is in the shop, the "look live" is the next best thing.

Frankly, I wish every station would ban those stupid things. Reporting from the Internet, I'm Howard Beale, back to... *TAPE JAM*


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't comment about PA Morning or the weekend newscasts, but I do know that the Stroudsberg shots in the 5pm, 6pm and 11pm are indeed live from Stroudsberg as I know the person who tunes them in every night. Not only do we get live shots in Stroudsberg, there is a live remote control camera at our news borough out there. To my knowledge, this is something that WNEP does not have. We have several more of these cameras coming soon, but I am too afraid to reveal the details here.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that's just the tip of the Stroudsberg. The news borough of East Stroudsberg is temporarily hosting news burros from Matamoras.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 'BRE would have higher numbers if their employees could spell the city they are talking about...

It's Stroudsburg- not Stroudsberg...

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job on the spelling, are you a producer? And do tell, just what is a news "borough?"

Yeah, I know, we shouldn't hammer posters on their spelling, right? Sorry, I'm not giving anyone in this business a pass on spelling; if you screw that up, what else are you getting wrong? I suspect lots.

Nice to see you back, Howard, you were missed...

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 'BRE would have higher numbers if...if...if. Shit, I can't think of anything they could do at this point.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first time I heard the term "look live" I nearly flipped. Admitttedly, it was around 20 years ago, but the mere mention of dummying something up to mislead viewers made my skin still does. It's a fraud, a deceitful gimmick practiced by people lacking ethics. It really is that simple, now isn't it?

12:43 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I like what CNN does. They certainly could fake it, but the anchor will say, "I spoke with X earlier today and this was our conversation."

I also dislike the practice of paying a little extra for having Joe Blow out somewhere saying (for instance), "Back to you, Andy and Lyndall," after the generic package, and having the reporter's name in the lower third along with the station bug.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my knowledge, this is something that WNEP does not have. We have several more of these cameras coming soon, but I am too afraid to reveal the details here.

What 16 has is viewers! They cream the competition when it comes to number of viewers. You can take 22 and 28 and add their viewership and it doesn't even come close to 16.
Yes, channel 50 once in awhile does break a good story BUT it doesn't do you much good when barely anyone is watching!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While this may fool some viewers, it can anger those who figure out what's going on. "Look live" should be replaced with "Look smart". Truthfulness will gain a lot of respect, and I've never heard a viewer complain that they were watching a taped segment, identified as taped, and say it should be "Live". False representation will look cheap in the eyes of the public. Live or taped, call it as it is. Anything else is wrong and foolish.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the major networks do "look live" reports as well. It's not the end of the world. As long as the facts are clear and the "LIVE" chyron doesn't go up, I can't see anything wrong with it.

1:49 PM  

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