Television gathers large audiences and delivers news immediately.
There is nothing slow, backward, shy or retiring about television. People who work in the medium will tell you that television journalism is the most exciting work that a person can do.
Television can make stars out of journalists. These journalist become well known and recognized by local audiences. Even people who work behind the camera and never appear on the air gain the attention and respect of people who watch their station for news and information.
Part of the price for this fame, attention and audience is the daily pressurized atmosphere of television. Every day, television journalists hit the ground running and aim for the deadline of the evening news. It is always a race against time, against competitors and against those who might want to prevent you from getting the news.
Television as we know it developed in the late 1940s. Its predecessor was radio, which had been in operation at that point for about three decades. Companies and organizations that had been broadcasting through radio turned to television because the broadcasting technologies were similar. Consequently, many and the traditions and forms that television first used came directly from the forms that had been developed for radio.
But television turned out to be something quite different from radio. Television uses moving pictures – video – and this turned out to have very different qualities from just sound. Video could be handled in a variety of ways that the pioneers of television news did not recognize. If you have a chance to watch any early television news broadcasts, you should do so, and you will see some extraordinarily stilted reporting and editing. (Take a look at the ABC coverage of the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963 on YouTube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDQrp3sllHo and it looks very different from you might see of a major breaking news event today.)
This section will give you a lot of insight about how to use video for reporting the news. We’ll cover some of the standard ways that journalists handle video as a reporting tool.
Those methods, while still very much in use, are being supplemented by the increasing use of the web for showing video news. The web has, in fact, freed video news from some of the strictures of television. The length of a story or news broadcast is less important now than when video news was produced for over-the-air or cable channels that had to fit within certain time periods.
With the web, more types of video are possible. Interviews are a good example. A traditional news story for broadcast might be able to include just a few sections of an interview with a news source. On the web, however, video clips can be divided and shown separately so that if the web site visitor wants to see 10 minutes of an interview, he or she is free to choose that.
The web is having other effects on the use of video that we will explore in this section.
Most importantly, the web has expanded the opportunities for video news and for those who want to work in this area. It is even possible through web sites such LiveStream.com to produce your own video news show on a regular basis. With a small camera capable of shooting video, you could produce a news program about your school, promote that program and gain an audience.
Thus, students who are interested in pursuing a career in video jounralism are no long confined to just television.