Inane chatter, walkie-talkie reporter and TV News

This is hilarious.

But it is also a sad comment on the formula into which most news has slipped.

For years most of us communicators have been saying that it’s time to break out of the structure of news –how stories are told.

But how could you blame the reporter who has joined an organizations that requires him to do it their way, which conforms with the industry standard, which is really a formula invented about half a century ago? Bucking the trend and attempting to frame a story opposed to the inverted pyramid or the sound-byte sandwich is a good way to be back on the street.

And so we have the evening news full of this.

Yes, we get a few variations of this:

  1. All the news that’s fit to miss – Networks have been losing audiences (1 million a year!) over the past 25 years (Journalism.org┬ástudy)
  2. All the news that’s fit to sell –when the market creates the story that a poor talking head pretends to turn into news
  3. All the fluff that’s fit to Tivo/surf away from

So what do we do?

  • How about demanding a new news format for a start?
  • How about hiring reporters who are master storytellers, rather than “award winning” fact-finders?
  • How about blending long features into mix ? (By this I don’t mean “16 horrible health violations in the restaurants you frequent, next!”)

Something has to give. I don’t see these conversations happening in my local TV stations, and few (like Tak Hikich) asking for a different formula.

So until then, we’ll see a lot of the walkie-talkies and statutory shots, I guess.