Teledistanced broadcast journalism: Coming through loud and clear and air-friendlily

In my previous post “Earth Day 2021: Transformations,” as the title suggests, the message is all about change. There is perhaps no one area where change is more apparent than in that of broadcast journalism. The change I’m referring to – broadcasting done digitally or cybernetically – grew out of a perceived or the real need to try in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to keep those whose jobs it is to report the news, safe and protected. In this regard, what has changed has changed for the better, in my opinion.

As it happens, I can’t count the times I have bore witness to some really questionable on-location (also referred to as “live remote”) spots.

Instances of news reporters or meteorologists standing out in the elements with microphones in hand giving the weather play-by-play sometimes in knee-deep water or snow or snowdrifts, or being pelted in a driving, drenching rain, and/or being belted by gale-force winds or wind gusts where those doing the reporting did their darnedest to keep from losing balance and toppling over in the case of the last, are a dime a dozen. And, all for what, I ask? Seriously, dispatching a reporter and camera-operator to a site just so a (reporting) beat is, well, never missed, while I understand the point behind such, in sometimes going to such great lengths to get the “exclusive” as it were, is doing that all that essential?

In response, how many news programs have aired where anchors, reporters, those providing expert testimony, commentary, opinion and more, have helped bring us the story via any number of ways (mobile device and television included) all in an attempt to keep us members of the public properly informed and even engaged? And, all done from, in a manner of speaking, home base? Or, in other words, from the home office, living room, kitchen table or, wait for it, the he-/she-shed even, effectively, anywhere one can set up a camera, computer and where access to the Internet is available? It’s a whole new world! Information-techno-capability that’s truly on the cutting edge!

Maybe not what we’ve been used or accustomed to, but broadcasting this way does have its advantages and benefits.

First off, as with the traditional news reporting, we on the receiving end are still able to get the latest, the inside scoop, the lowdown and sans on-location reporters potentially being put in harm’s way in the process.

Secondly, the networks, stations, what-have-you could save big time by not having to relay a news crew here, there and everywhere, if you will, by van, train, boat or plane, wherever. Such may be an extremely relevant factor for those broadcast entities with limited budgets for doing such. To assure audience interest level is maintained, file footage can always be edited into the news production for visual impact if felt that such is needed.

And, lastly, where environmental considerations come into focus, the fuel saved from eliminating all non-essential travel due to not having to dispatch news-reporting personnel to a particular on-location spot, in this context the piece de resistance, by virtue of this, air is spared. In a world where 7 million people lose their lives on account of exposure to polluted air year in and year out and where there is concern over matters related to climate change and global warming, every small step taken to help lessen the air/health burden helps.

By bringing us the news teledistance-style, the point is no one tuning into in my opinion is missing out.

The significant scale-down in non-essential travel activity reaching its lowest level has resulted in world emissions of oxides of nitrogen falling by 17 percent and greenhouse gas emissions retreating by 21 percent, that speaks volumes! And, from this, skies cleared in myriad locations affording those who took the time to notice pristine and panoramic views, providing direct evidence of what had transpired when good, clean, healthy air prevailed over that which was not. And, because there is a lack of high-quality air as of late in many parts of the globe at this time, I mean who wouldn’t benefit from having more such good, clean, healthy air to breathe, broadcast-news persons included?!

– Alan Kandel

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