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Saturday, 23 January 2010


A deep-seated broadcasting industry culture has for a long time been compelling news anchors, presenters and news managers to feel the need to say so and so is now reporting live on location.

In developing countries like Kenya, the acquisition of an outside broadcasting capability admittedly was source of much pride and is used to maximum effect, to wow the audience and competing channels.

But gradually, every player in the news business got the capacity to relay live proceedings even from remote locations and yet the different stations have never felt the need to drop the emphasis of stating a particular person is live on location.

So the anchor in studio says with much gusto that, 'We now go live to.....,' and then the reporter can also add, 'I am live........'  Ridiculous, right?

It's like one station boldly stating it has an exclusive report only for another channel to have the same story but with even more dramatic footage or additional interviews.

Viewers fatigued by meaningless live reporting

But even here in the UK, the 'live' obsession is very much alive. And because of the advanced technology, a bulletin here can have as many as four live reports, from Port au Prince in Haiti, to Kandahar in Afghanistan, from Copenhagen in Denmark to Cape Town South Africa.

Research done in America even seems to suggest that viewers find no value in having some stories being reported as live or many stations reporting live a similar story because it deprives them of variety.

This especially, should be useful informationn for media managers in Kenya, who really ought to find a way of minimizing the costs of all of them pitching tent in one location and instead could at times consider commissioning one channel to cover an event and distribute the signal to the rest.

For television, a live report can be graphically labelled as such or if it's a must that the anchor says so, the stress on the 'live' is not necessary and is no longer awe- inspiring or extra-ordinary.

It has now crossed the absurdity line and is in the annoying territory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great write up and excellent, incisive look at the broadcast industry across the world. Just stumbled on your blog Albert and you are doing a great job!!
Abdi Osman,
Nairobi, Kenya.