During the first week of my course (30th September) I attended my first Coventry Conversation. This was an influential introduction to my course and a privilege to be part of the audience for a talk from Ex Sky News boss Nick Pollard. His talk was entitled: ‘Does TV news have a future?’
To answer this question in extreme detail would fill up far too much of my blog, therefore I shall try to keep it as brief as possible, for the sake of reading.
To find out if TV broadcast news has a future, we must first look at the foundations of broadcast news, how it began and how it has developed over the years to the point it is currently at. Television itself marked the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon that was to have a major impact on news, advertising, film and radio, not to mention how millions of people would spend their free time.
News was one of the first programmes to be broadcast to a mainstream audience, because of its incredibly high demand from viewing audiences. People wanted to know what was happening in the world, other than newspapers, television allowed them to visualise the content of what was being relayed to them. Moving image was a fascination; until then only print based media was readily accessible. Nick Pollard mentioned how he spent ten years working in the newspaper business before he moved into television news.
Technological advances have dramatically changed how all fields of media broadcasting is portrayed, in comparison to how it previously was. Firstly, the equipment used was slow, basic and difficult to transport to locations. Film had to be edited on location to save time. Whereas today, even items as small as mobile phones have the ability to film whenever and wherever by anyone, there is no problems with transporting a mobile device. Furthermore, modernisation has introduced more and more ways for the public to gain access to the news. The worldwide use of the internet has made it possible for over 90% of the world’s population to view the news online, and not only that, comment on what they think about it. The freedom that the internet provides makes it incredibly easy for not only professionals within the news, but everyone to be involved. This is something which was brought up in the conversation. ‘Does TV News have a future?’ Well to answer this would not be a fact but an opinion. In effect, yes, it does, however with the rapidly growing increase in people going online to read about the news is definitely an opposing factor to the debate. Online news has the advantage of allowing the public to access the specific information they want to look at, whenever they want, whereas even 24 hour news channels do not thoroughly provide this satisfaction; not to mention online news offers more detailed reviews, with links to other related issues. It is fair to point out that in the past there was nowhere near as much freedom as there is today. There used to be no interactivity for the audience viewing the news, therefore biased news was common. Nowadays, anyone is able to produce their own news, with internet sites such as YouTube and the ever-expanding social networking sites, most noticeably Facebook.
To conclude, there is of course always going to be a future for TV news, as there are so many millions of people who own a television, this means that broadcast news will forever have a mainstream audience, however the people are finding more easily accessible ways of finding what they want. They do not just want to be told what is going on, they want to research it and find out more. In order to do so, they can go online, where they will be able to find all the information they seek.