TV versus newspaper video
June 11, 2008, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Ethics, Journalism, News Industry, Video

Egged on by Colin from work, I thought I’d share with you a little tidbit from the mascot tryouts at Eastern last Friday. And I shall censor nothing.

When I arrived 20 minutes early to the dance studio on campus, there was already someone dancing around in the Swoop costume. A cameraman from KXLY was taping it all. Odd, I thought. They didn’t start early, did they?

The dancing was, well, bad — it didn’t look like someone was seriously auditioning. Soon, the voice from inside the padded head started talking to the three judges, telling them how to react for the camera.

I thought this, too, was odd. I still really didn’t know what was going on. Was this some Eastern PR guy trying to get photos for the university’s website? I was still unpacking my own video equipment, so I was still only half paying attention.

But soon, Swoop took off his head. Underneath was this guy — Keith Osso, sports reporter for KXLY. He, too, was doing a story on the Swoop tryouts, but taking a completely different angle.

Keith OssoOK, it’s funny. A reporter gets into the suit and “auditions.” Har har har. Makes for a funny 30-second clip on the 5 o’clock news. But wait, Keith starts telling the judges how to react on camera. “Tell me, for the camera, how horrible my dancing was.” Essentially, fabricating the entire story, down to what the judges say about him.

Then, he asked for an Eastern basketball player to come into the studio. Keith’s idea was to put the Swoop pants on the player for a funny bit. Once more, complete fabrication. The player would not have otherwise been at the audition.

Here‘s what KXLY ran on Monday.

Now, the report is presented in a way that makes it obvious Keith is not trying to do any objective reporting. And it’s obviously not about the people who actually auditioned for Swoop that day.

It’s about Keith.

And that’s a huge difference between TV and newspaper video. I don’t think any newspaper reporter would go to an event and make the story about them. It’s just not what we do. In TV, it’s all about the reporter, the on-screen personality.

Like Colin said, a TV station such as KXLY spends so long doing real reports of real events, building viewers’ trust in the station. Then it goes and airs a story like this, and loses ground.

(Also, you can see me in the background at about 1:35 in that KXLY video.)

UPDATE 6/13/08: Colin responds.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Television news is an oxymoron, that sports reporter is just a moron.

Comment by vidiot

All references to “reporter,” “journalism” and “news” in regard to TV should be in sarcasm-quotes.

Comment by tor

Pretty brutal comments. This is what happens when media outlets have to justify their existence to the bottom line. Thank you Rupert Murdoch et al. Keep the customer watching — that’s what it’s all about.

Comment by beach

True, that guy’s a schmuck, but some of you newspaper types are awful smug. Imagine if I judged your field by its worst offenders. One thing’s for sure, TV news anchors got no patent of self righteousness. Just sayin’…

Comment by Lenslinger

I love how Colin rips on Keith and his package when his own paper publishes a three-times-a-week column that is just as bad and worse when it comes to reporters making their package nothing but “me-roll”

Comment by Amanda E.

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