News Media Adjusts To Remote Broadcasting

7 Observations

One of the things that has been entertaining to me as I've been watching the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic (non-stop because I'm a news junkie and we're in complete crisis, so I need to know what's going on right now) is all the different things that we hadn't given a second thought prior to physical distancing that we are now obvious.

1. Not Putting Your Pet (Or Child) In Another Room

We've all seen the endearing BBC Dad video from not long ago, so maybe that endearing video acclimated us to kids barging in on a television interview. We are now seeing more of that but even moreso, the evidence of pets in background as they're broadcasting from their homes.

2. Not YouTubing Makeup Tips

Okay, this one is a fairly shallow observation, I admit, but there it is. It became quickly apparent which anchors had asked their professional makeup artists about their crafts pre-pandemic.

All of a sudden many of the talking heads, the beautiful people on TV--look a lot different now that they don't have access to their professional makeup artist.

3. Not Wearing Solid Colors

Striped shirts are a no-no. But that tip is not widely understood because you see people who are being interviewed wearing striped shirts, which creates an oscillating effect on video. It is really kind of distracting. Wear solid colors.

4. Not Using The Mute Button

Keyboard tapping. I'm heard a lot of that when people are being interviewed and especially if it's another journalist listening in on a panel or multitasking while they're on a panel and somebody else is talking. They're typing away so the audience hears this clack clack clacking of the keyboards.

5. Poor Lighting

This should be self-evident but poor lighting lighting might be the biggest, and most easily solved, offense. Bit it never fails; you'll see an interview guest with a window behind them so they're just a silhouette.

6. Poor Sound

The second biggest offense has got to be poor sound quality, of course.

You get the feedback and the echoes from those people who refuse to use headphones. There are guests on Skyping in on their mobile phones from weak WiFi connections that sound like they are underwater.

Ambient noise is amplified, so if there's a fan going on in the background, you hear that fan loud and clear.

And then there are those microphones attached to the cord of your earbuds that brush against clothing, making a sound like papers being shuffled.

7. Managing The Pauses

This one is entirely on the host: Managing pregnant pauses. These are the pauses you usually get with international interviews where you're waiting for a question to bounce off a satellite before the guest can hear it. It takes a few seconds for them to respond.

Now because of the latency of the Internet, it's everywhere. And the pauses are a lot longer. And there's a lot of crosstalk as a result.

You get to know the talented hosts are that can manage those pregnant pauses.

7. Technical Glitches

And then there are the technical glitches.

The most egregious example that I came across was during Nicole Wallace's Deadline White House show on MSNBC. She was interviewing Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel from her basement and he was obviously remote.

She got booted from her own interview.

Dr. Emanuel finished with what he was saying and he waited and there was the pregnant pause. And he waited. And he waited. And he waited and he was like, have I lost you?

He just stood there and then the screen went black and they cut to commercial. She got booted from her own interview. It was hilarious.

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