It used to be that the anchor in the studio would introduce a story by saying something like, “Now we’ll go to so-and-so in Singapore.” Story rolls, ending with so-and-so saying, “So-and-so, ATM News, Singapore.” That worked very well.
But then things changed. Anchors and reporters felt the need to talk to each other. If ever there was a case of unnecessary technology, this was it.
Anchor: “The situation in Pasadena has been tense. Let’s go to Andrea Bosworth, live in Pasadena. Andrea, what’s the situation out there?”
Andrea (after staring blankly at the camera for five seconds): “Well, Alan, it’s certainly been a tense day here in Pasadena. Definitely a tense day.”
Roll Andrea’s taped report. Return to Andrea, live in Pasadena, admiring herself in the monitor.
“Wrapping up, it’s been a tense day in Pasadena and we’ll continue to monitor the situation here on ATM12 as it develops.”
That would all be awkward enough, mostly because there was clearly no coordination between what Alan said in his “handoff” and what Andrea said in her live report.
But that isn’t what annoys me. That only bugs me a little. What really annoys me is what Andrea says at the end of her segment:
“Wrapping up, it’s been a tense day in Pasadena and we’ll continue to monitor the situation here on ATM12 as it develops. Now, back to you.”
Back to who? I thought she was talking to me all this time!
If the idea of the news show was for Andrea only to update Alan on the state of things in Pasadena, she surely could have done that by phone, without the bother and expense of a satellite truck, cameraman, makeup kit and air time.
I suspect, though, that Andrea thought she was talking to me.
Is it too much to ask of the people I honor with my news-watching time that they…oh, I don’t know…THINK about what they’re saying into the camera?
How about, at the end of the so-called live remote, they say, “And now back to the studio”? Or, “Alan, back to you.” Alan, hearing his name, then has a second or two to adjust himself as necessary.
Note to newspeople: Don’t even think of “throwing it” back to anyone. If you say “I’ll throw it back to you” while looking into a camera lens, then I’ll likewise be quite happy to “throw it” to another channel.
To be clear, the irresponsible use of “back to you” is not the only thing about local news that annoys me, but it’s right up there.