Archive for the ‘Five News’ tag

Local news gathering lost at both ends

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We knew it was going to happen. Even OFCOM knew it was going to happen. Back in June the media regulator wrote that:

Economic circumstances make it much less likely that commercial broadcasters would choose to carry news for the UK nations and regions at anything like its current level, in the absence of effective regulatory intervention“.

And so it came to pass. ITV announced today that it was going to make swingeing cuts to regional TV news. Michael Grade told his staff that 17 regional news services would be cut to 9 in 2009.

So far, so predictable, so painful.

But why aren’t ITV, or most of the other broadcasters for that matter, doing more to nurture local citizen news gathering?

ITV’s new ‘news’ service for the public – Uploaded - doesn’t encourage the public to gather news or report, it encourages them to emote. It asks people to upload videos of themselves giving opinionated rants about subjects in the news. Five News’ partnership with Friction TV encourages the same thing.

But the news is there and the public is willing. Indeed the BBC just announced that its ‘user generated content hub’ – i.e. the place where the public send their photos, videos etc. – is going 24/7 from October. Scoopt, a company which sells on news photos and videos from the public, has a successful and growing business.

So not only are commercial broadcasters reducing professional local news gathering, they aren’t even developing any (free) amateur citizen journalism.

Written by Martin Moore

September 12th, 2007 at 7:48 pm

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Dogme Ninety FIVE News

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A dozen years after a group of directors rejected the decadence of modern film-making and signed up to a back-to-basics manifesto, Five News has announced it is going to take steps to restore viewer trust by banning editorial tricks from news broadcasts.

“There are some TV news tricks”, the Five News editor told the Media Guardian, “that have been used for many years that date back to the way people used to have to edit things. But technology means we can be more explicit about things now.” Staged interview sequences, interviewers talking to empty chairs, and ‘Contrived walking shots’ will all, according to David Kermode, be banned.

This is not quite Dogme 95 but it’s a good start. And, if Five keeps to its new rules, and makes them explicit to viewers, they will – gradually – have an impact. Already the BBC and Sky are talking about following Five’s lead.

Unfortunately we don’t know whether Kermode is asking his journalists to sign a ‘Vow of Chastity’ as Dogme 95 did (and does?), or indeed if Kermode has written his rules down.

Dogme’s 10 manifesto mixed the disciplinarian (‘Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in’) with the slightly batty (‘The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.’).

Still, there are some that news broadcasters could adopt. Rule Number 7, for example, states that ‘Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)’.

News statements of principle have a mixed pedigree. Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane famously splashed a ‘declaration of principles’ across the front page of his first edition and then promptly ignored them. At the time Jedidiah Leland (Joseph Cotton) commented that they were as likely to be used as a “first report card” as a constitution. I wonder if Five News will find the same.

Still, the idea is as much a statement of purpose as a set of rigid rules, and it signals a growing acknowledgment that – in news at least – it’s much better to be straight with the public than to try and fool them.

Written by Martin Moore

August 30th, 2007 at 7:25 am

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