There is plenty of clutter on big TV screens these days. Perhaps some sobering clarity — real and perceived — is needed. Who wants to get drunk on too much information?
MSNBC has joined the ranks in "cleaning" its big TV screen by eliminating the news ticker that runs on the bottom of the TV screen on some of its shows. It wants more focus on single storytelling issues — something TV does well.
CNN, like Fox News, uses a news ticker, but only at selected times.
A news ticker scrolls headlines and key points of a particular news story. The message: real news is going on in real-time or near real-time. Breaking news is always the major goal of any journalist/news organization.
MSNBC’s move makes a case in dealing with the growth of TV news multitaskers — those with a mobile phone in one hand and a TV remote in the other.
Current TV news ticker feeds just seem to tease — as well as increasing visual overload.
With digital media, media consumers already know where to get more information on a story: in a more print-like setting — say, from a TV network’s website, Facebook or Twitter feed.
During prime-time entertainment programming, you can find many short on-screen teases at the bottom of TV screens. In addition, for sports programming, there can be low on-screen advertising messages.
What won’t change?
Business news networks, CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg, which will continue to fill up their on-screen clutter. Those networks speak to traders — casual and active — in offering as much real-time stock marketing and financial data during programming, as well as advertising breaks.
Those watchers also have other daytime work screens — so there is plenty of overlap here. Still, the more the better. No one wants to miss a trading or news opportunity.
For other channels and programming, a clearer picture for a story-arc works best. There are different screens for different reasons.
Owing to Thelonious Monk, I’ll take mine straight, no chaser.