While watching local television the other day, it became obvious once again that there are a few improvements to be made; small stuff, but things that could be included to make things clearer to the viewer.
First, start at the beginning. K. I. S. S. (Keep it simple, stupid.)
For example, on local weathercasts, when referring to a specific place or area, it should be remembered that very few of us know where every city, town or county is located – even within our own state.
The answer is simple enough. At the very beginning of a report, show us an outline of the state, indicating the point of interest with a flashing dot or some similar device for a half-second. Then switch to a scene of the incident or the on-scene reporter for the remainder of the story. It’s basic, but it clears things up, and we’ll all know exactly what they’re talking about, and precisely where.
Another area that needs help?
Weather forecasters often find it necessary to flash us a bulletin during regular programming, but … why do they place that information on top of the picture caption that’s already there?
Now we can’t read either one!
There’s a simple (KISS) solution.
Just place the new information across the top of the picture instead of the bottom, and now we can read both.
Yep. It’s that easy.
And while you’re there, no matter whether it’s a weather or a news bulletin, if it’s important enough for us to know, leave these messages on the screen long enough for us to read completely.
(We’re not dumb. It’s just that some of us read faster than others.)
Next, we’ll toss a couple of suggestions at the reporters who don’t speak the basic language.
A couple of direct quotes are: quote, “was ran (run) over." Or was “drug (dragged) by a car." Wrong, of course, and even though the audience knows what they’re trying to say, these mistakes just make the reporter look more than a little stupid.
By far, those aren’t the only words commonly mispronounced. We can include MIS-chie-vous, not mis–CHEE-VEE-us, AFF-luent, not aff-LOOent, IN-fluence, EFF-luence, CON-fluence and dozens more.
Reporters should be required to know these things since they only get one chance to get things right – and they don’t need to be merely right, they need to be perfect.
Maybe they should have paid more attention in Grammar class. After all, if you’re going to be a reporter, accuracy is necessary; not just expected, but required.
Now, about those old movies.
Here’s a real can of worms.
Most of the subchannels available on what they’re calling Antenna Television are filling their schedules with reruns and reruns of reruns for two main reasons. (a) They have time that needs to be filled, and (b) they’re a lot cheaper to air than new programs.
In spite of the fact that a big percentage of these are so old they’re unwatchable, local stations use them on the theory that there’s a new generation of people who never saw the originals, but there’s a small drawback to this, and it’s ‘the television station’s budget’ which results in their buying or leasing the cheapest programs and movies.
Many of these old movies are so old that they’re completely out of style or so badly acted that they’re real ‘stinkers’, and most of the old series programs weren’t good enough to stay on the air for long originally, yet their reruns keep coming back with their moldy dated jokes which weren’t very funny then and even less funny today, especially with that overused laugh track.
And the listings on the program schedule tell us that there’s “No information available” – even after the movie’s been available for fifty or sixty years!
Yep, most of them are that old, yet nobody took the trouble to learn what’s in them – or look it up!
Why, it’s enough to make a viewer think that somebody is lying down on the job – frequently, to say the least.
Of course, we can always turn the darn thing off when this stuff crops up – and we sometimes do.
Obviously, if a person wants to nitpick, there are plenty of things to improve upon in Television, and before we leave, we’ll once more quote Ernie Kovacks, because he said it so well, “They call Television a medium because it’s so rarely well done."
However, we have to admit that when it’s well done, it’s great!
But that’s only too rare.
— Newton Columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at email@example.com. Mike’s book, “On The Loose Collection, Volume One” is on sale in Newton at the Kansan, 121 W. 6th St., and at Anderson’s Book & Office Supply, 627 N. Main St.