Changes at Channel 4… Umbrella 2013

Technology producer for Channel 4 news, Geoff White, provided a fascinating insight into how news stories make it onto air and the changing role of broadcast news organisations.

For example, on Monday morning a prospect list of eight stories were mooted for that evening’s news show. In fact just three of those stories ended up making it onto the programme. They were chosen for their original journalism, because Channel 4 had a unique angle on the story or because they had a reporter at the location able to provide specific insights.

In the same way that librarians and information professionals are increasingly required to multi-task, TV producers are too required to juggle a number of tasks. Geoff might find and substantiate stories, source ‘voices’, a filming location, commission graphics, direct the cameraman, edit the VT and sometimes even shoot the VT.

Competition from consumer mobile devices and the web is hotting up – in an era when people with an iPhone can not only shoot video but edit it and have it online in minutes, broadcast news needs to be able to offer something above and beyond. And it’s not only amateur journalists that are causing broadcasters to change their game, print specialists such as The Guardian are no longer confining themselves to the written medium, if there’s an opportunity to record unique VT to illustrate a print story then they’ll take it and add it to their website.

Whilst online mediums such as Google and Facebook are becoming the new gatekeepers of information, established brands such as BBC and Channel 4 news are currently winning the trust stakes. “Most people don’t want an infinity of information,” Geoff declared – “they’re looking for a trusted guide to give them the expertise and the context” of stories… just as library users are seeking trusted, experienced guides to help them navigate, learn and experience… and to give them something above and beyond what they can get for themselves from a search engine…




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