Linguistic Aspects of Television Journalism
Television journalism, especially what is called Electronic News Gathering (ENG), differs very greatly from print journalism.1 Print journalism cannot by its very nature present “live” news reports. It takes time for journalists to collect the information they require and compose and edit news articles based on these “raw” data. In addition, the resultant stories will normally have to await fixed publication schedules before being presented to readers. The process of videotaping news stories that are later edited at a studio before being presented is an analogous process. On the other hand, television reporters are able to relay stories electronically from the scene in which they occur to broadcasting centers via satellites, microwave dishes mounted on trucks, or telephone lines. Television stories have the capacity not just to be live, but to show people nearly anywhere what is happening nearly anywhere else at the time that it is going on. Radio has done the same sort of thing for much longer, but is restricted to transmitting only a news event’s sounds—as in the case of Edward R. Murrow’s radio broadcasts from London, England during German bombing raids. The immediacy of such live newscasts can have a powerful effect on news consumers. I suspect, for instance, that few persons seeing Lee Harvey Oswald being shot on their television screens at the moment it happened will ever forget it.
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