The future of newscasting?
I woke up this morning with a vision of the future in my brain. I had been dreaming about a news programme on TV. But it was totally unlike any news channels that are currently broadcast … or was it?
The format was unusual, for two reasons. First, there was a studio audience. Second, the news was read out as headlines. Each time a headline was read out, the audience would react.
As is the nature of dreams, I can’t remember the detail (except for the final news item, which woke me up). But the format went something like this:
Male newsreader (I remember, this was an American news show):
‘Michael Phelps, the US swimmer, has become the first sportsman in Olympic history to win 19 gold medals.’
Enthusiastic cheering, whistling and hooting from the studio audience.
‘The court-martial of the muslim accused of killing 13 people is postponed while an appeals court decides whether he can be forcibly shaved.’
Studio audience: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ ‘Outrage!’
‘Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been granted asylum by Ecuador.’
Cries of ‘No’ and ‘Shame!’ from the audience. Along with: ‘Where the **** is Ecuador?’
You get the picture. The last news item by the way (the one that woke me up) was about a device used in the US to verify that a message from the president is actually from the president. [Don’t ask me how it works. It looked like a reading light attached to a briefcase!] Anyway, the news was that the UK government had asked if it could borrow it. The audience reaction was similar to the second news item.
So, why have I bothered to record all this? Well, you might have noticed that each item was broadcast in 140 characters or fewer. And the audience reaction was instant, passionate and full of righteous indignation, expressing an opinion based on very little factual input. Does this remind you of anything?