A contrast to Conor Brady’s opinion of blogging, who does seem to be hankering after a lost, and perhaps non-existent, age.. this time from a journalist who also blogs, Newsnight’s Paul Mason. In a Media Guardian article which primarily concentrates on his prediction of the end to the dedicated rolling news channels such as SkyNews and BBC24, he points to how those channels benefitted news gathering, but also suggests that they fail to deliver to an emerging market for news that is immediate, and also focused and detailed. Whether those evolutionary pressures have informed Conor Brady’s viewpoint isn’t exactly clear..On blogging, which is just one of the influences he notes in the rolling news’ rise and fall, he has this to say –
The internet, through blogs but also through news aggregators such as Yahoo! and Google, has challenged another myth that some in TV had accepted: that the audience wants immediacy instead of depth. If anything, there is more demand for analysis than immediacy during the parallel rise of broadband and blogging.
In addition, the limitations of rolling news as a news medium are beginning to block its ability to set the pace in terms of design. When it first started, the bosses consoled themselves for the low viewing figures with the promise that, once viewers saw what they were missing – all those dramatic sound stings, breaking news straps, crawling text, blinking arrows and massive sets – they would be drawn to this visual feast. Today the feast is to be found online – and it is not just visual. It is the immersive experience of interaction in real time with real people that compels users to stay online for hours – whether on eBay or World of Warcraft.
Rolling news has been an achievement: it raised the game of TV news organisations in the battle for immediacy, global presence and local relevance. But broadcast news has to move into a cross-platform world now. Rolling news is a medium that cannot be interactive, lacks sufficient power to tell a story and is no longer unrivalled as the way to get moving pictures to a mass audience. As people begin to create and share their own content, and the PC screen merges with the television, it is worth asking “what’s the point of rolling news?”
Maybe the persistently small audience share and the demise of the ITV News Channel are messages from the market, and the message is: the “drag and drop” generation wants something better.