Friday, February 06, 2009

Right Here, Right Now

Old TV is so slooooow... The BBC do a great job at 360 - making content available across platforms, but, boy, as the past week has shown, is their core content dull and dragging.

On Monday the South East of England was hit by a blizzard. Initially the Breakfast News production team tried to ignore it, since they clearly had no resources in place to cover it, and did what they usually do on their morning news, endlessly 'setting the news agenda' by plugging other BBC shows.

As the morning progressed you could physically see the production team get with the message and start to realise that twenty million people really needed proper, real news. And they needed that news to be timely.

But, after a week of viewing, I'm totally frustrated. News does not move at the pace of life. Sometimes life is slow and nothing is happening, but on occasions such as this, the rise of real time media such as Twitter confounds traditional media.

And if there's a single theme in the evolution of media, it's speed.
  • Runners were needed to take the news of the victory at Marathon
  • Then horses and pigeons were used - the Pony Express was all about increasing speed
  • Before the telegraph - the 19th century internet - took over
  • There was the ticker tape and hen the daily newspaper
  • Television brought news bulletins at lunchtime, teatime and late evening
  • Then they added breakfast
  • Then came CNN and rolling news - the most annoying and lazy contrivance in the history of TV
  • And then came the internet and texting and the need to be constantly in touch
This week, with weather changing hourly, the news couldn't keep up; the weather reporting online is patchy; traffic reporting is inevitably after the event and therefore useless.

Twitter Traffic, now that's one idea. Another is that the whole way news needs to be prepared need to change. News needs to embrace real time information and worry less about endless editorialising.

The future of news is news that everyone contributes to, but which is lightly mediated. It needs to be faster, and it needs to draw away from the pathetic 'Celebrity Come Dancing' 'cross-polonisation' that is endemic to the BBC, but is also reaching other areas of TV.

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