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Sunday, November 13, 2011

News broadcasts leave alot to be desired


There’s an irritating practice that has infiltrated Uganda’s broadcast industry and is becoming acceptable unless it’s dealt a fatal blow once and for all. It’s understandable that more news items are sourced from the local community where the degree of literacy and English comprehension is scanty, but if you are going to mix two languages in the same newscast use subtitles. If it’s English news at 1pm, then don’t adulterate it with Luganda because not every viewer is bilingual in English and Luganda.

It does not stop there. Sometimes the wrong video clip for the right news item is shown, not forgetting this tendency of showing complicated graphs when dealing with issues of national interest, and indecipherable shapes when it comes to weather forecasts. This makes you gasp at the faith our news managers have in the comprehension of the average Ugandan viewer!

More flabbergasting though is news anchors losing their breaths and stumbling over words even when the news presentation is not live. Editors and producers need to work closely with reporters to ensure stories are well-written, well-edited, well-packaged, and to approve all content before it’s aired.

Evidently, more journalists should be deployed to cover related angles especially when reporting on national concerns like load-shedding, striking public servants and oil contracts. But in our typical broadcast industry, multitasking has gone down the drain whereby reporters are made to record their scripts, edit, assemble them and sometimes anchor the news all in one. No wonder the bloopers are seemingly endless.

Although NTV and WBS try to beam the best graphics/pictures to add visual appeal to and enhance the viewer’s understanding of the relayed content, while others are dismally limping so much that their footage is there to serve the purpose of merely filling airtime!

As it is, the moving pictures (action) makes television the most powerful source of news. So content managers and reporters must strive, always, for excellence and professionalism. Take off time and pick a lesson or two from how those BBC/CNN professionals approach and execute general reportage.

--Saturday Monitor, September 24, 2011