Don’t touch that dial
Seems like the print media aren’t the only journos suffering in the Internet era. The Gaslight writes of how the local TV stations are hiring only people “capable of being able to do it all,” which is the kind of English one has come to expect from the video crowd.
Notes Paul Kavanaugh: “The local stations’ Pueblo bureaus, for example, used to be staffed by a reporter and a photographer. Now, they’re staffed by so-called ‘one-man bands’; one reporter writes, shoots, edits and broadcasts.”
Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure, as the late Hunter S. Thompson once said. The print people have been in that sinking ship for quite some time now, augmenting pad and pen with digital sound recorders, point-and-shoots and camcorders, and dashing out quick reports for dead-tree edition, website and blog.
And it only seems fair that TV should join newspapers in the Information Age tar pits, since the Internet is only finishing the job on the print media that TV started. Back in the day the local TV crowd piggy-backed on the daily newspaper, eschewing original reportage for the rip-and-read, whipping a slight rewrite on an ink-stained wretch’s story and shamelessly reading it before the camera. Occasionally we could recognize entire sentences lifted whole.
When the vidiots bothered to attend an event in corpus, the cameraman would often pan around over the audience. I had long hair and a beard then, and was something of a camera magnet, scribbling away on a note pad, and after seeing myself on TV a few times I took to scratching one cheek with an extended middle digit whenever the camera panned my way, bringing a quick end to my TV career.
My favorite moment remains an important school-board meeting disrupted by the video circus, which showed up late as always and bustled about, setting up tripods, lights and whatnot. The superintendent was well into his opening remarks, so naturally they asked that he start over from the beginning.
This was the last straw for my colleague from the smaller paper across town. She remarked, “Hey, assholes, the news doesn’t come packaged in tidy segments of 30 seconds apiece.”
It still doesn’t, of course, but that’s all you’re going to get in the era of the one-man band.