News Television

News Presenters

Presenters are a key aspect of any news channel. It is their job to communicate news stories to the viewers. Other names for presenters include newsreaders, newscasters and anchors. Sometimes they are experienced journalists who work behind the scenes on important news projects. Other times their primary role is to read from a teleprompter or autocue.

Since most television news is filmed live the presenter needs to think on their feet and understand how to make a broadcast run as smoothly as possible. Anything can go wrong on live television. For example, there have been some incidents where guests have sworn during a news show. The presenter will be tasked with controlling the situation and apologising to the audience. Improvised commentary is a common trait amongst these people. This is due to the fact that they never know exactly what the next breaking story will be.

These jobs are also done on the radio. The main quality of a presenter in the radio-only era was their voice. However, with the advent of television, the news presenters also had to look the part. Over the decades the standards for this kind of news were set. They have continued even with the advent of online journalism. Websites such as the BBC even have presenters discussing the news live via an internet video feed. The key difference between this and traditional television is that the audience can send in their comments via social media. This has led to a new form of relationship between viewer and presenter.

If a presenter proves to be popular with the television watching public then it can lead to them having the job for many decades. Audiences tend to form an attachment to their local and national presenters. In many ways they are the face of the news. When unpleasant information needs to be communicated to these people it is better to hear it from a familiar television personality.

It is also common for these kinds of journalists to become celebrities in their own right. They may leave the news industry in order to broaden their reach. For example, some presenters transfer their skills to entertainment programs. Others become popular authors by writing their autobiography. Therefore news reading can be seen as a stepping stone to national or even international fame.

Large media broadcasting companies may utilise multiple presenters. Each one will focus on a particular topic. During times of conflict, the station will assign important jobs to their war correspondent. If a lighter story needs to be told then the celebrity expert can have a segment. Specialist presenters can be sent off to cover important stories abroad. Meanwhile, an in-house presenter tends to stay in the newsroom and link all of these stories together.

The Role Of News

News stations are very important entities for modern society. They perform a surprising number of key roles. Their primary function is to inform the public on what is happening both in their own country and abroad. This will involve covering a plethora of subjects such as politics, business, foreign affairs and education. It is also common for these channels to give out weather forecasts and alerts.

Whilst this may seem like the only function of journalistic television there are several others. The online informative resource Wikipedia has many pages exploring the role of news companies. One of these is to educate the audience. Editorials are useful for explaining complex news stories in a way that average viewers can understand. Some news sites even offer school revision courses.

Sometimes facts can have multiple possible meanings. Reporters will collect pieces of information from multiple sources. The data that they obtain may be contradictory. Therefore news organisations occasionally have to interpret the facts and present them to the audience. This can mean that the story is biased or aimed at conveying a particular viewpoint. Therefore viewers need to be very careful when taking certain news stories at face value. They should consider what the ideological leanings of the station are. It is best to only consume news from places that have a track record of being unbiased and trustworthy.

Whilst these channels do focus on serious topics they will also balance out the tone by reading a number of lighter stories. Therefore another role of the news is to entertain. The less serious segments may be about celebrity gossip, fashion, movies or sports. Entertainment news serves to attain a wider audience.

During times of crisis news channels have a duty to spread awareness of important issues. For example, when the Covid pandemic hit it was the main job of these channels to inform the public about the ways they can prevent catching the virus. The UK government even utilised news organisations to broadcast live update conferences.

During elections these outlets tell viewers what the aims of each party and candidate are. Once again this a scenario where audience members need to be careful. If the channel has a political bias it can spread a distorted view of the candidates.

Breaking News TV

When a news story is so important that it warrants interrupting the regular television program schedule then it is termed “breaking news”. It may also be referred to as special coverage or a news flash. Breaking news is also used to describe the most dominant topic being covered live by a station. It does not necessarily have to impact viewers except by generating a level of interest. Not all breaking news is brand new. It can instead be an update of a story that has already been covered.

In the past the term would be focused on exceptionally important situations. For example the news show could cover international election results and portray it as a breaking story. However, with the advent of the 24 hour news cycle the term has been used on more of a regular basis. Current news channels will often call a story “breaking” at least once a day. This is not always said by the presenter themselves. Instead it is stated via the on-screen graphics.

If a segment is so important that it needs to supersede all other broadcasts then the affiliates will be informed about an incoming interruption. The network feed may switch to a countdown before the news event occurs. This will serve to give viewers a chance to sit down and prepare to consume the information. There is then typically a cut to the presenter. Any large font graphics may be downscaled to increase a sense of urgency.

The length of the interruption can vary considerably based on the seriousness of the situation and whether it is ongoing. Sometimes the breaking news coverage will only last a few minutes. Other times (such as the JFK assassination) it may last many hours.

24 Hour News History

In the past the news was relegated to a fairly strict timeslot. The broadcasters would only have a short amount of time to inform the public about the stories of the day. However, that all changed with the advent of the 24 hour news cycle. As the name suggests this is when a channel continues to provide coverage all day.

The main upside to this format is that people can tune in at any hour and be informed on current events. It has a fairly recent history. All news radio existed for a number of decades but the idea of 24/7 television news did not catch on until the mid 1990s. Today the format can be seen on informational websites as well. For example, Metro and numerous other publications update their info on a near constant basis.

The O.J. Simpson murder case was arguably the main catalyst for 24 hour news. When cable channels continued to broadcast updates on it there was an influx of viewers. This satisfied channel sponsors and the practice of all day news became a lucrative way for journalism outlets to generate revenue.

24 Hour News Criticism

Despite the numerous benefits of 24 hour journalism it is fair to say that there are also plenty of downsides. Whilst the format was praised on its inception over the years there has been a growing resentment over the concept of constant coverage. The website Wikipedia has a segment focused on the criticism of it. Much of it is concerned with the atmosphere of competition it creates.

News channels become more concerned with what viewers want to see rather than the important stories themselves. Corporate ownership of 24 hour news channels also poses an issue. An important story may not be covered because it is not good for the company. For example, if a product is found to be dangerous but is advertised on the news channel there could be a reluctance to disclose this information with viewers.

It is also fair to say that the format promotes a culture of sensationalism. Stories can end up becoming more editorialised and based less on unbiased facts. Another common criticism is oversaturation of a particular segment. If an issue gets high ratings it can be emphasised over other smaller but important stories.