Many print journalists consider television reports to be lacking depth. Some even call them ‘sound bite journalism’. After all, a good sound bite, a nice video, a piece of shocking or sensational information often ends up being a TV Report.
The Medium’s Strength
Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses. This medium’s strength is its ability to create an impact even if the report is short. Capturing good visuals is the key, however, apt audio material can also do the trick. Such audio can range from a good sound bite to emotional outburst or outstanding music. Video coverage of a dramatic event, say a landslide, along with the original audio can create a major impact. The effect is enhanced when the camera person is present at the right time and place.
Can TV handle in-depth reports?
However, how does the medium handle criticisms that it is a shallow medium. Different TV news formats are being tried to address this need. While some channels such as BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera try to put together news analysis in the documentary style, new styles are being attempted as well.
The News Debates
The News debates seem to be one of the solution tried by channels. Get people on different sides of an issue and pit them against each other with the anchor as the moderator.
While some anchors attempt to get the different perspectives and give a direction to the discussion, others are good at creating conflicts.
Does a debate give you an in-depth understanding of the subject or not depends on a lot on the anchor and the programme’s participants.
Multiple stories on a subject
Another method tried by news programmes is to touch the various sides of a story by creating multiple-focussed stories on the same topic. For instance, they may pick up one of the current issues and first discuss the overview and then add the profiles of the different parties involved. Separately, they may also discuss the background.
In short, instead of one story with multiple angles, one can go for multiple-focussed stories.
The hour-long programmes on one subject still get a good audience, at least amongst those who want to know. Television does have the visuals, audio and infographic elements to convey the story. The right pace and content sustain interest even today.
The response that the long form, in-depth programmes have once again started confirmed that the connoisseurs of the well researched stories are still around.