Maybe it’s my print bias, but I have never liked that staple TV news convention, the live shot, in which a reporter on the scene tells someone in the studio what the news was. It seems artificial, creating the illusion of action (It’s live! On the scene!) through something that carries both the risk of unexpected errors or intrusions and also unproductive time — you have to go, you have to set up, you have to wait for your segment. And I have heard that situations like the one depicted above are not uncommon: While you are doing your live shot, something happens, but you can’t go cover it. (Although, as Mark Joyella notes in a post for Mediaite, this one produced some funny TV.) In this example, it’s an overcovered story, with hundreds of reporters on the scene, so this reporter’s situation poses no real loss to the public (but a loss to the reporter’s ego, and to whatever need the station management felt to “brand” the story with its own reporter). One would hope if something really important were happening, the reporter would excuse himself from the shot. In a time of dwindling staff, a better solution is needed, one that doesn’t tie up reporters just so they can talk on a live feed.
The problem with live shots
July 29, 2011 by Guy