Another great thing about blogs is they have the same therapeutic power as writing a letter to a newspaper but without the hassle or the fear that your boss might read it. (I don't have a boss other than you know who but you get my point - you don't know who might read it.) Bryan Appleyard said in the Sunday Times (after a brief visit to NYC) that all news presentation on American television is fantastic and all Brit TV news presentation is crap. I am normally a faithful reader of Appleyard, but this time – and I hope this isn’t a latent nationalism coming out just in time for the World Cup - I think he went into territory he knows little about. NYC – though I love it - is not typical US of A.
OK, TV news has its limitations whatever its technical and artistic quality, but that’s in the nature of TV. It needs pictures: fires and wars are big because they photograph well; but many equally important things – like elections and business news – don’t get covered except for cliché pics of party leaders sticking ballot papers in a box, or over-rehearsed CEO interviews.
Now I admit that my experience of US TV news-watching could well be outdated – it pre-dates cable, satellite and 9/11 – but I remember TV News on the three major networks (I haven’t seen Fox, and CNN can’t merit serious consideration) as
1. being essentially local, with the rare traces of national and international content. (It normally took three days for a UK election result to reach US screens. Rest of Europe more, Israel less.)
2. trying to make cult personalities of the presenters.
3. frequently interrupted by commercials, and
4. continually running promos for future programmes.
The BBC is guilty on item 4, Sky and Channel 4 on 3 and 4.
Maybe I’m out of date and maybe 9/11 and wars have made Americans – and therefore the networks – more internationally concerned. In which case, news may be back to the days of people like Ed Murrow. And if so, apologies, Mr.Appleyard, and Goodnight and good luck.