Assignment One (TV News Item)

As was the case with the analysis of a radio show, our TV news item will focus again on media productions for the morning. Eamonn Holmes presents ‘Sunrise’ on Sky News between 6am to 9am with Charlotte Hawkins every weekday. Due to Sky News being a much larger organisation and global entity, more planning and consideration needs to be carried out in numerous areas across the entire broadcast.

What strikes you first as a viewer to Sunrise is the introduction and the music which accompanies it. Both these are something that can be designed and composed by graphic designers and musicians in advance. Graphics aren’t just used in the opening sequence, they are used throughout the show; from the ‘ticker tape’ banner which rolls across the bottom of the screen giving small descriptions of the morning news, diagrams or maps used to illustrate locations or statistics, (as seen in the short clip below) to addressing guests on air to the audience with their name/profession written on-screen to inform people watching of who they are. The ‘ticker tape’ banner is also taken over in the event of breaking news emerging, changing from black to a more visually eye-catching yellow which grabs the viewer’s attention.

The studio, staff, cameras and equipment are extremely important, as without them there would be no-show. Not only are there presenters in front of the camera, but there is a big production team in the Gallery controlling everything from camera shots, transitioning to another link/VT or to another reporter out from across the world. There would also be a wealth of people with specific roles ranging from editors to scriptwriters piecing together footage and content whose time needs to be managed accordingly. The Gallery would also have a direct feed to Eamonn via an earpiece. One instance of this being used would be in the event of breaking news; allowing the presenter to be informed, pass the information on to the viewers whilst still maintaining seamlessness. Sunrise, as any other 24 hour news station, has a flexible format due to the fact it is live and breaking news could happen at any moment that may have to be covered instantaneously. Away from the studio floor, all the hundreds of people working in the Sky News building need sustenance, so catering and possibly runners who are able to get presenters and guests drinks etc. need to be put in place. Finally, the building and overall facilities need to be maintained.

In the Sunrise studio, lighting, the cameras themselves, teleprompters and furnishings like the desk, chairs and big screen in the background need to be set up and arranged. Also  presenters use iPads that synchronize with the screen behind them to describe news items. That news article/graphic on the iPad could then be brought up on the screen behind them and be manipulated to highlight what they are commenting on.

In terms of content, the team don’t have weeks in advance available to plan due to the reason it’s a factual, live show and the news is ever-changing. Up until the titles roll a vast team will be working on the overall schedule, selecting the mornings headlines. As part of this, a huge collaboration occurs between reporters all over the world. This is evident when a correspondent is filming from a location outside the studio. Locations, permission to be able to film there if applicable and transport need to be arranged in advanced aswell as keeping an eye on the weather so it does not hinder filming. Their footage then needs to be streamed over to the studio with the help of special software. As with practically all media productions, budgeting and finance needs to be planned in advanced which covers expenses, equipment and travel.

Finally, as seen in the example below, guest appearances flesh out news stories or are there for promotional purposes. (e.g Actors promoting a new film being released.) Background information needs to be done on the guest so that questions can be formulated and the presenter has a clear overview of them. What could also be useful is to clarify any areas the guest doesn’t want to talk about beforehand which would avoid any awkward moments whilst the interview commences. Whats interesting is the interaction between Ben Saunders and the other presenters that gives a dynamic feel to the interview- again, this is something that could be planned in advanced.

In conclusion, just one of these points being overlooked could negatively impact Sunrise’s performance and cause major problems. That is why pre-production is so crucial in creative media and beneficial to those involved.

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