Viewers cite other ‘nonnews’ itemsBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ARE televiewers finally becoming more aware of what they should and shouldn’t watch on TV newscasts? Adding to our recent list, some viewers cite other “nonnews” items that, in their view, indicate poor or lazy service on the tube:
Aside from the “generic” crimes, accidents and neighborhood brawls that local newscasts love to play up for their “melodramatic” impact on viewers, some respondents at a recent forum on TV practices and malpractices noted that the currently popular “teleserye syndrome” has affected even TV newscasts:
Little domestic or barangay “dramas” are played out in front of TV cameras at police precincts or barangay halls, complete with sobbing shrieks, slapfests, fisticuffs, hair-pulling—and such colorful and quotable “dialogue” that viewers may wonder if they weren’t fed to the “players” by reporters, to make the coverage more “interesting.”
Also noted with dissatisfaction was the penchant of some TV people to finesse “news” items that require very little actual effort or enterprise on their part, like the “coverage” of predictable events like the start of the school year, All Souls and All Saints Days, the “Filipinized” versions of Halloween and Thanksgiving, the ritual trek up to Baguio and beach resorts in the province during summer break, etc.
As many TV people take a break or go on extended leave, a skeleton crew and staff remain to dispense pretty much the same, old “news” about those ritual events, which are stretched out to fill in the huge blanks of real news that isn’t covered—because most of the news department’s staffers are on vacation!
Some sharp-eyed viewers also note that lazy and nominal “coverage” is similarly evident in little “news” items about the opening of this boutique, that new skin care line, and other obvious commercial tie-ups—which strictly speaking aren’t news at all, but only plugs and self-serving “mentions.”
Other respondents affirmed the incipient trend we recently wrote about—CCTV camera and cell phone-based news items “bleeding” into mainstream TV newscasts. They agreed that, if used correctly, the “citizen reports” could significantly bolster news coverage, particularly in relatively inaccessible areas.
But, the CCTV “reports” can sometimes have a negative aspect to them, especially if they’re utilized mainly for novelty’s sake—or for shock value. For instance, a recent series of CCTV-generated “news” images showed a man first having sex with a compliant partner—then, after the deed was done, he moved to a location nearby, where another CCTV camera showed him robbing a store!
Yes, the “coverage” blurred the actual sex act, but it shouldn’t have been shown at all, because it wasn’t real news, only an odd and disturbing facsimile thereof.
Other no-no’s on the “nonnews” cited at the TV forum included some newscasters’ insistence on “opining” on the news, instead of just reporting it. In no uncertain terms, a discussant declared that the practice—or malpractice—turned him off, so he consequently switched to another channel to spare himself the “irritating experience” of TV news people enjoying themselves—at his expense!
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