There Is No "Problem" With TV News...Only Opportunity

Television news often seems to adhere to a playbook created in the Three Network era. It seems incapable of opening up the universe of possibilities to tell stories in a modern way. And maybe inspire and gently teach a digital world in rapid change. 

As the world moves inexorably from the first to the second, third and fourth screens, TV news should think more like those who invented the screen — film makers. Consider these widely used and outdated techniques:

*There is sameness in music/sound.  Usually percussive and urgent packaged production music to encourage immediacy.

*News-speak that drives a further wedge between the streets and big media

*A celebration of celebrity that feeds the dumbing down of content

*An arms race in slick (but often meaningless) graphics

…and the list goes on….to the point where TV news becomes fodder for parody ranging from SNL to The Onion to The Daily Show.



Instead, balancing the science of data with the credibility of good information and the imagination of creative can have a profound effect on the future of the video news experience that lives in the new world of information.  The new mainstream of Americans are embracing new technology and the successful content pioneers are subscribing to the idea of ’completeness’ where every facet of their operation is updated and brilliant new tech tools merges with brilliant new content.   

There is a video timbre, voice and pulse of a changing world that can resonate with this new mainstream that perfectly complements the extreme innovation embodied in the technology that transmits it.

We have to live in the real world and adopt a pace of evolution that is in sync with the speed of 2014.  Again, it is about the opportunity for re-imagination to target and reach a new generation.  It’s about addition rather than subtraction. Traditional presentation has a need and a presence, but where new viewers require new presentations that merge the magic of technology with the magic of new content

News and information is a new driver of American culture.  Whereas the rock 'n' roll movements of the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s drove cultural change by being in perfect harmony with the mood of America, nowadays it's Facebook not Led Zeppelin. It is the economy and the state of the nation, not the No. 1 record. The world is having a nervous breakdown, and that's the force that is moving the culture.  I highly doubt if a new Beatles will emerge that make everything right. Culture is all about media and information.

But--The M.O. of rock 'n' roll is timeless, and we need rock 'n' roll thinking integrated into the renaissance of news and information---to power the new 21st-century American experience.  Some of these characteristics include:

  • Honesty and unquestionable credibility...have a soul in an otherwise pre-fab world
  • Genuine and authentic...from the heart not the focus group
  • Global in its impact...a connector of the world masses
  • Passion out/passion in...people respond passionately to what is delivered passionately
  • Newness...the struggle to be first
  • Big---mass appeal
  • Re-invention...a desire and motivation to re-invent
  • Creates fans not "users"
  • Powerful...culture moving
  • Artful...creating commerce through art  (Art is not a bad word unless it's bad art.)

The point being that the opportunity in the re-imagination of news/information is a cultural one more so than a media one. As journalism migrates to a social free-for-all, a strong voice that resonates with reliability and credibility and in sync with the vibe of 21st-century America might just help make all of us a little smarter in our new world.



1 comment about "There Is No "Problem" With TV News...Only Opportunity".
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  1. Charles Warner from Charles Warner Consultant, February 26, 2014 at 12:03 p.m.

    Lee - Rock 'N Roll News. I love it. We're so sick of news anchors wearing ties.

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