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Faking it

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Aug 07, 02:31 PM

videocameraA hot topic at the moment is how broadcasters can restore trust in television. Something we've all been discussing here is when does artifice become deception?

Now, in an attempt to re-build viewers' trust, Channel Five News has decided to ban "noddies" and "staged questions".

Tonight on Newsnight we'll attempt to show how TV news pieces are put together using these techniques and ask whether this is a bold move towards transparency or an unnecessary over-reaction. Are "noddies" (shots of the interviewer placed over an edit point), "staged questions" (recorded after the interviewee has left because there is only one camera) and walking set-up shots to introduce an interviewee an acceptable part of the way television programmes are made, or do they distort the truth?

Let us know what you think.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:00 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • David wrote:

They are of course deceptive. They mislead the viewer into believing that an answer has been given to a question, in the time frame displayed. Clearly it's not the case.

  • 2.
  • At 03:02 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Steve Meese wrote:

I'm not sure if these idea's by channel 5 will really restore trust between television and viewers generally and after all channel 5 is regarded as some what "light" weight as television channels go.

I think all television companies will have to do a great deal of hard work to restore the faith of viewers in any of the programmes they put out or their reputation will become as tarnished as that of a politician when it comes to the truth and being honest.

  • 3.
  • At 03:03 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Lindsay Story wrote:

Definitely should be banned. It can lead to accusations of false editing (probably quite rightly) and the viewer doesn't know what's true or not. I am just amazed it's still going on! Since when is there "only one camera" ? in this day and age. Yet again the public are being taken for idiots.

  • 4.
  • At 03:05 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Liz Justice wrote:

How come the rest of the world has to change and some how the BBC seems to think same old is good. Who do they think they fool with noddies? And about time they got some real experts in as apposed to someone who can bluff their way through because they are "available" in this 24/7 news agenda. Yes I am talking about real journalists as apposed to "presenters" - welcome to confetti Britain's real issue. Not everyone can do everything.

  • 5.
  • At 03:08 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Dewi Williams wrote:

Having experience of television interviews, I think this is a gross over-reaction.
OK, 'noddies' do have an air of ridiculousness about them, but they are not intended to decieve, they are merely an editorial tool.
As for 'staged questions' - provided they are the same questions as originally put to the guest for his answer, there is no deceit.
To be honest, this is not just an over-reaction, but a story that should give way to more important news stories!

  • 6.
  • At 03:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Andrew Moody Doncaster wrote:

Don't TV bosses have any self confidence. Why not reveal to the audience that sets are faked too and are a lot smaller in reality? Why not show the cameras and microphones? Why wear make up- show everybody as their true sweaty self? It is just gross over-reaction.
When programmes like Homes under the Hammer have to reveal that some of the people in the audience are not actually bidding for the lot in question and when you can no longer win a mug on Daily Politics' Guess the Year Competition, one senses a collective nervous breakdown.
Is this all because a few people didn't go into a hat when they were asked what is the capital of France?
TThey were fools for entering such ccompetitions in the first place.

  • 7.
  • At 03:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Norma Purdy wrote:

The comedy programme Drop the Dead Donkey has made me very cynical about any TV coverage that I now see - especially if there is a soft toy or a single abandoned child's shoe (strategically) left lying in shot. There is not much I trust about TV at all the moment. I think that the days of the public being trusting and naive are long gone.

  • 8.
  • At 03:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Bev wrote:

If it's done with honest intent (eg one camera, shortage of time for interviewer etc) fine.
If it's done to distort truth or the "angle" then totally unacceptable.

  • 9.
  • At 03:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Bart Stouten wrote:

Watching from Belgium, where your programme is praised for its high integrity, I find there is not so much a problem with 'staged questions' added afterwards (done, of course, for purely practical reasons) than with the overall impression that a whole interview with all its questions and trappings has been thoroughly 'briefed' and hence in a way rehearsed, so that the interviewee has seized the opportunity to 'prepare' his or her answers.
Bart Stouten, Belgium

  • 10.
  • At 03:10 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

I thought 'noddies' were New Labour cabinet members, ok I ken noo, maybe acceptable on radio though..

  • 11.
  • At 03:10 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Hugh Keegan wrote:

As well as the practices mentioned above, I always find the library pictures that accompany news items very silly. For example, when an item is about schools, we cut to a picture of a class of schoolchildren; when it is about the NHS, we see pictures of patients in a hospital. Why are these images required? Do the news editors believe we won't understand the story unless there is an image to accompany it? Are they afraid that the audience will get bored if all they see is a newreader presenting the story. If there are pictures directly related to the particular story they should, of course, be shown but if not, then trust us to manage without the visual clues.

  • 12.
  • At 03:11 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • T.Homes wrote:

Banning them may well be an over-reaction. They are after all only techniques which when used correctly make an interview seem more coherent for viewing. The problem is when they are not used correctly they can be used to mis-represent what an interviewee has said. Surely issuing guidence on their use would be sufficient. What worries me more is the lack of accuracy in many news reports. Coming from the civil service i constantly spot errors, even increasingly from the BBC, in what is communicated about my area of work. I'm not sure if these errors are wilful to make the story seem more dramatic or from the carelessness or lazyness of editorial staff. This is why i no longer trust the broadcast media.

  • 13.
  • At 03:12 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • BernieR wrote:

I think that you are missing the point. The editing techniques you talk about are not in themselves significantly deceptive, it's how they are used that matters.

But we are constantly being deceived by politicians about the most significant matters, with your connivance.

At the moment you are helping them in their attempts to deceive us about Iraq.

I believe you journalists know that Iraq is now headed for a civil war, with massive loss of life and property, as a result of the failed attempt by USUK to grab its resources.

The politicians have to pretend that this is not the case, or they would be ejected from power.

You play along with this. You don't have to, but you do.

And meanwhile you worry yourselves sick about the morality of a Blue Peter quiz.

The BBC is pathetic.

  • 14.
  • At 03:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ralph wrote:

Not acceptable and realy awful. The whole methods of presentation need to be looked at and some imagination is required.

  • 15.
  • At 03:14 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Cordula von Eye wrote:

I do not think that British Newsprograms are faking it at all! I am originally from Germany where faking is the daily practise. Staged questions are the norm, they go even further than any news program here does: the interviewee gets the questions about three hours before the interview and then sticks to the thoroughly worked out answers. The interviewer does not deviate from the questions at all! You see, your techniques are anything but staged!

  • 16.
  • At 03:15 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Nirmal Katanga wrote:

By beleiveing its OK to do this, its a first small step to manipualting the origial interview so that it relays a message in a way the producers want, rather than consumers deciding for themselves based on an unedited interview. Stop kidding yoursleves by believing you are giving us what we want in a way we want.

  • 17.
  • At 03:15 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • RH wrote:

The question should not be whether a list of broadcasting techniques are acceptable or not but, instead, whether viewers are given a fair representation of reality. To start specifing detailed rules about which technique is acceptable replaces the responsibility a program maker has to be fair and accurate with a responsibility simply to comply with detailed rules. If a list of techniques is banned, then any new technique, however misleading, would be allowed simply because it's not on the banned list.

  • 18.
  • At 03:18 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Chris Hills wrote:

I have long thought that shots of the interviewer, or wide shots, that cover an edit point should not be used. On back shots of the interviewee, it's obvious sometimes, from the movements of his jaw, that he's not speaking the words we're hearing!

Similarly, staged questions that were recorded later (because there was only one camera) should not be used. And saying "I started by asking him ..." is just daft. I want to hear the questions exactly as they were asked.

So just show the interview with no tricks. Yes of course you can edit it, we don't want to hear all the boring stuff, but make it clear how it's been edited by fading out and in, and definitely not by morphing from one shot to another.

All this deception is to make the whole thing look slicker. I don't care about how slick it looks. If you're deceiving us to impress us with your production technique and show us how clever you are then how can we trust anything you're telling us?

  • 19.
  • At 03:20 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Iain Scarlett wrote:

But the "noddies" and shots of the interviewee walking down the street/looking at computer screen/filling a test tube whilst the interviewer sets the scene are the visual "sticky tape" of TV news interviews.
I think Channel Five News are seriously underestimating the viewers ability to recognise "noddies", staged questions and set-up shots for what they are.
The alternative could be a more steady-cam approach with the camera and sound boom circiling the interview in the way a magician asks an audience member to testify that there are no wires or mirrors.

If they aren't going to allow editing then time pressures alone will lead to the staged answer. But some would say that's all interviews are to start with.

  • 20.
  • At 03:21 PM on 30 Aug 2007,






  • 21.
  • At 03:24 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

Think the introductory shots with presenter walking through the shot before he comes in front of the camera to speak are irritating and unnecessary. Better to have voiceover a scene and then speaking to camera.

  • 22.
  • At 03:29 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Mickey Smith wrote:

In danger of going a little too far here. The act of editing an interview distorts the so-called 'truth'. Let's have a sensible approach. Cheating people out of thousands of pounds on a faked phone-in competition is one thing, putting in a few noddies or whatever to make a piece of television watchable is relatively harmless.

  • 23.
  • At 03:29 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • William McIntosh wrote:

Channel 5 news techniques on Newsnight? Have you lost your minds? More people will see your report than ever viewed a Channel 5 news broadcast. (Check the ratings) Such poor news judgement. Fire the editor! Report the news and leave the trash channels to entertain. No wonder television is such a creative and intellectual waste land. Is this the best use you can make of apparent (pace Paxo last week) meagre resources? Really? Get on with it.

  • 24.
  • At 03:35 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Eric wrote:

In a previous life I've had the honour to be interviewed by the BBC. 'Staged questions' were used. When the interview was broadcasted I got irritated by this artificial 'construct'. You have to be a very good interviewer to take away the suspicion of being vain. (And of course his staged questions nibbled at my 30 seconds of fame ...). Anyway, staged questions don't add any valuable information to an interview. If you have to cut away from the interviewee because he's boring, use footage that illustrates the story.
Walking set-up shots are fine, beacuse it allows viewers to see the surroundings, and that may provide some context.


I was invited to take part in a Have Your Say program in which William Cohen, ex US secretary of defense was to take part. The theme of the program was increasing anti-Americanism in Latin America. In answers to two questions, I started to relate the rise in anti-Americanism to the increase in US militarism in the area which goes by almost unnoticed in the news. I referred to the US base in Manta, to the recent purchase by Bush family members of land in the Charco of Paraguay, to Plan Colombia etc. The line fell down. Despite having a sound engineer AND alternative telephones numbers which would have redirected a call through Panama, not Argentina where I was located, nobody tried to get back to me and I was unable to rejoin the program dialing in.
For a variety of reasons, I never heard the program but a cousin living in Spain did. Despite not having corresponded for years, she wrote me an email saying that she thought I had been cut deliberately because I was the only person on the program quoting facts and figures and not emoting about their dislike of certain political figures. She felt that Mr. Cohen has been "rattled" by having those facts and figures quoted to him and that he had not been what he was expecting.
Given that my cousin has no special reason to support me because she did not even know I was to take part in the phone in, her reaction and subsequent comments are interesting.

  • 26.
  • At 03:39 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Gerry Obrien wrote:

I find the idea of transparency in the media alot like "smoke and mirriors" trick.If they were really serious the news media would dig inside the person they are interviewing and make them the very most embarrassing questions and get them th finally admit they no longer work for the common people, but for the corporation and the rich and most of make them admit they are really just liars and thiefs.That would be gaing back the trust and show transparency.

  • 27.
  • At 03:41 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Philip Glynn wrote:

I was involved in one of these walk by stages on local tv, it was strange not looking at the camera. As viewers we get used to such ideas, they are irritating and unneccesary but nothing will change at the BBC.

The question I want answered is what does the BBC Trust do, I have emailed them twice and each time the email has been answered by BBC complaints.

  • 28.
  • At 03:42 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Philip Glynn wrote:

What is the point in writing one of these only for it to be blocked, how paranoic can you get.

  • 29.
  • At 03:45 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Forgive me for being thick, but what is an 'edit point' as in "shots of the interviewer placed over an edit point?

  • 30.
  • At 03:52 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

As long as the questions filmed after the interview are the same as those asked during it - so they are in context - I can't see what the problem is.
Newspaper journalists spend plenty of time reworking their articles before sending to print.
Why can't their TV colleagues do the same?

  • 31.
  • At 03:56 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Hannah wrote:

What an absolute load of rubbish. These techniques may be hackneyed, but they are solutions to technical "problems", not editorial decisions that impact on the truth. Distortion of the truth would occur if the edit covered by the "noddy" change the sense of what the interviewee was getting across; or if the interviewer recorded a different staged question to that actually asked in the interview. Five's bandwagonesque approach smacks of opportunism, plain and simple. They haven't suggested one change (at least from what's in the coverage) that will have the least impact on the integrity or accountability of those in the editing suite. I doubt very much that interviews will be shown with no edits or cuts at all, which makes these changes meaningless. As viewers, we must accept that EVERYTHING we receive through the media has already been subject to a degree of editorial judgement; as editors and journalists, the media must accept that the only real way to regain trust is to consistently display honesty and integrity - there are no short cuts to trust.

  • 32.
  • At 03:56 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • John Barwise wrote:

I teach media communications and it's always a source of amusment when I explain noddies and set up shots. Noddies are just wallpaper to hide the visual cracks when editing a visual story. They aren't necessary for radio news for obvious reason but radio stories are still edited. To say they are deceptive is to agrue that all editing is deceptive. Set up shots tell us, in pictures, who people are or what they do. Harmless and time saving.
The big CON isn't the editing it is that reporters don't ask the right questions anymore. Every news story tells us WHAT is happening but we rarely get to know WHY it is hapening.

This lazy way of reporting news leaves us information rich but knowledge poor. Darfur is a classic example of this. We know that genocide is happening in Dafur but do you know WHY the Sudanese government hires foriegners to kill their own people?
Do a few vox pop on any topic and you will see what I mean

  • 33.
  • At 03:57 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • John Egan wrote:

Well I for one am fed up with the "?". Please report factual news events; not "Is...?", "Does...?" etc. Please just report facts and leave the speculation to the "newspapers". I rely on the BBC to provide an unbiased view of what's going on in the world through my daily news email and the BBC web site. I've given up buying papers because of thier bias, and hope the BBC doesn't go the same way.

  • 34.
  • At 03:58 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Paul Holden wrote:

Staged interviews would be fine if we trusted the interviewers not to distort the results to meet their own (political or entertainment) objectives. Sadly, the BBC has too much "form" in producing biased reports to trust it (see Sir Antony Jay's excellent pamphlet - "Confessions of a Reformed BBC Producer"). If the BBC stops doing staged interviews it should also abandon some of the other tricks of the trade identified by Mr Jay and others in discrediting opinions that go contrary to the BBC worldview (imbalanced panels of interviewees, loaded questions, rigged audiences etc).

  • 35.
  • At 03:59 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Andrew from Reading wrote:

Surely the main function of compiling any presentation of factual material (a piece of journalism, a history) is "selection". The process of editing is integral to journalism.

As this is the case, if I am to trust the presentation, I must trust the editor.

Refraining from using particular techniques does not change this. The measure of the professionalism of journalism is whether these techniques enhance or distort the concise presentation of truth.

The BBC has earned an international reputation over decades. It is trusted. The only way it can maintain this trust is by continuing to earn it.

The question that we (the public) must ask ourselves is what sort of news reporting do we want? (Most of us seem to prefer the prejudiced polemic of most of our national press)
We complain about being "nannied". In this case, we need nannying.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

Is 'the news' lying to us?

I don't think any news company found distorting the truth would last very long.

Pre/post recorded questions simply allow the viewer to see them being asked, which is fine providing we trust that we are seeing the same question as the one which was put.

The real mystery is why most politicians don't answer the question they were asked (!).

If we can't trust the broadcaster to show us the same question which was asked, we shouldn't trust anything we see on that channel, after all the 'camera does lie' if the user chooses a distorting perspective.

When does artifice become deception?

When the true meaning gets distorted surely?


  • 37.
  • At 04:06 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Barry Reed wrote:

Are they now going to shoot news interviews with two cameras,one permanently on the reporter and the other on the interviewee, I doubt it.
From what documentary filming I have done (not news) the questions that were filmed afterwards were the same that were asked at the time, if anyone needed proof the sound was covered for both even though they weren't in vision!
Are we going to get interview techniques from Scotland Yard, it's rediculous!

  • 38.
  • At 04:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ken La Garde wrote:

From experiance how many times have interviewees been in front of a "BLUE" screen and hn have been asked questions and/or given answers.

These are then compiled to make the presentaion of the story meet both the "Time" constraints and the editors agenda.

Hence some very stilted interviews.

Sorry to seem cynical !!! but I watch different channels to build my own view from some very different presentaions of the same story.

Just the same as with newspapers i.e. read the Guardian and then the Sun or Daily Mail.

  • 39.
  • At 04:12 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • FONTAINAS wrote:

Trust will be restored when the "Medias" (in general) will stop systematically denigrating any staring personalities. Should it be politicians, film stars, royalties, aristocrats, business stars, etc...?
Sometimes, people like to hear good things about "their" "stars". They need models, examples. No matter whether they are pure and never did anything wrong...
Damit! … They need to dream … And, just as they so easily forgive themselves, they forgive their “gods”…

  • 40.
  • At 04:12 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ken La Garde wrote:

From experiance how many times have interviewees been in front of a "BLUE" screen and hn have been asked questions and/or given answers.

These are then compiled to make the presentaion of the story meet both the "Time" constraints and the editors agenda.

Hence some very stilted interviews.

Sorry to seem cynical !!! but I watch different channels to build my own view from some very different presentaions of the same story.

Just the same as with newspapers i.e. read the Guardian and then the Sun or Daily Mail.

  • 41.
  • At 04:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Pascal The Rascal wrote:

Yup, walk-ins, noddies and staged Qs are a bit silly but there's nowt as daft as semaphore signals, i.e. silly boogers waving their paws at the camera. NOBODY behaves like that except when reciting certain Shakespearean sonnets.

  • 42.
  • At 04:16 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Bernard C wrote:

Restoring trust in anything is quite easy. You just have to be honest for about 10 years.

  • 43.
  • At 04:18 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Frank Kernohan wrote:

My biggest beef with TV reporting is reporters manufacturing news, asking questions when only conclusion can be given, ie; "When did you stop beating your wife". The talking heads(anchors) interpreting the news to be politically correct instead of honest.

  • 44.
  • At 04:20 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • David Holland wrote:

I used to be a full-time Trades Union Official and have been interviewed many times for TV news.

Walking set-up shots were frequently used, staged questions occasionally and "noddies" every time.

I can't say that any of these techniques ever distorted the truth. If I ever had a concern it was with the editing of what I had said. Sometimes they would not use a quote I would have preferred but I accepted that as inevitable.

It was also quite common for some of what I had said to be precised in the commentary so that overall the viewer was usually given a fair report.

The interviewee has to have trust in the integrity of the interviewer. TV people I did trust but the same can't be said of some newspapers.

  • 45.
  • At 04:23 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Alan George Morgan wrote:

I expect that what I am seeing and hearing is what is happening. The two techniques described could be abused. e.g. The presented question may not be the same as the one originally asked and so creating a different interpretation of the answer. If it is important to show the interviewer is present then pull back the camera and get both in shot.

Any techniques such as those described, are designed to "pull the wool over the viewers eyes". I do not think that is acceptable

Alan Morgan

  • 46.
  • At 04:29 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • E,R.Sparks wrote:

You make it sound as if this is a new production technique, one camera shooting is as old as the hills, so why make such a fuss.In the days of shooting expensive film stock, it just wasn't possible to use more than one camera, so cut aways, "straight to camera " questions shot afterwards, and noddies etc were all acceptable ways of editing and putting a sequence together.One always made sure there were enough "cut aways" shot to cover any change , say from long shot to close ups, and the non sync "over the shoulder" shot was also very common.Its hardly "distorting the truth" !!!!

  • 47.
  • At 04:32 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Prof. Jeremy Coombs wrote:

It's a very interesting question. If handled well and responsibly, then effective techniques in television production, go some way in conveying more effectively the subjects salient points in a clear and unambivalent manner. Whilst entertainment should't ofcourse step ahead of factuality in news programming, if we go back thirty or forty years, TV News then was much more stilted, deferential and dull and frequently the techniques, due to technological limitations overided coherence. My view is that we've actually come a long way and audiences are now generally more sophisticated in their expectations. As with Newspapers, it's of foremost important that your audience fundamentally trust its providers editorial integrity.

  • 48.
  • At 04:47 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • alain wrote:

The only way an amateurish audience could make an informed decision in such a debate would be when it is actually explained what/how these editing technics could lead to mis-representation or why not have some chanels that actually show us the "real thing" whatever mistakes come along with it. It TV broadcasters wants to embellish, let them turn into photographers, decorators and so on.

  • 49.
  • At 04:49 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Stanley Page wrote:

It's overreaction, and daft.
Veiwers want to see logically put together interviews. What difference does it make if a question is put off camera and an edit inserted later to make it "natural".
The main point is that truth is being reported either way.
Television is a visual medium therefore it has to look correct on screen, so there will be some staging, unlike radio interviews.
Will Channel 5 stop editing reports?
Is everything going to be "raw"

  • 50.
  • At 04:53 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Yogesh wrote:

Is this another way of saving time and costs in production of news in the name of restoring trust?

  • 51.
  • At 04:58 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ian Olive wrote:

Interviews and/or articles recorded for TV should be as 'live' as they can reasonably be, warts and all. The only reason for editing should be that a part of the recording is untransmittable for obvious reasons.

  • 52.
  • At 05:00 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Paula Varley wrote:

Most of us would not want to watch completely unedited material. Noddies and staged questions are useful tools which make interviews easier to watch. If there is bias or deception as a result, then the fault lies with the editor, not the technique.

Banning two editorial tools misses the point. Where there is an intention to deceive the viewer, the means will be found. This seems rather like banning video shoot'em'up games to convince the public that violent crime will diminish as a result. There is an inplied confidence that we are all dim enough to fall for such simplistic fixes. That's what hacks me off!

Dear Sir,
Thanks lot for the info about TV. programmes. What I want to know as to why this country has always been backward in comparison to the rest of the world. Every TV station in the world announces the time in a 24-hour format, but the U.K. TV's still use AM PM 6-a-clock, ten-a-clock etc. It is ridiculous, as we just don't understand your backward time.
I always watch Deutche-Wella and CC.TV and on various occasions the critisize U.K. TV's. It is about time you lot learned how to tell the time in a 24-hour format.
Good listening
Hippy viewing.

  • 54.
  • At 05:16 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • ex newsnight producer wrote:

There seems to be a bit of a problem seeing the wood from the trees here. The Five News announcement is a clever but obvious publicity stunt which has worked very well for them. However the substance of their debate is pretty thin. TV should not lie, or deceive, or distort interviews by editing unfairly. But every time you make an edit you take an editorial decision that somebody else might disagree with. Noddys, set ups and cutaway questions don't make any difference to that - they just need to be done with integrity. The result of having to send two cameras to every interview would be a massive reduction in the number of stories you could cover. The editorial impact on the programme would be much more important. Surely the trust debate should dig deeper than the mere visual grammar of TV. There is a much more fundamental examination required of the way interviewees are selected, the way 'balance' is regarded, the way dominant ideologies take root and the way agendas are pursued within TV News and Current Affairs. That is really what trust is about - not the noddy. Get a grip.

  • 55.
  • At 05:23 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • R Berrow wrote:

Entertainment true or false is legit , But when the conmen stepin to make a bob or two, they become crooks. They are of the same ilk as the jerry builder . Fact or fiction is the name of the game in entertainment. But deliberate distortion is crooked RB

  • 56.
  • At 05:24 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Phil Coote wrote:

Anything that changes what actually happened, or what was actually said or seen, is going to be open to an editors interpretation. And therefore distortion.

Clearly, all news articles, interviews, etc are edited in as much as someone decided the questions and whether the article or interview was going to take place at all. However, I think the right for the viewer to know what they are seeing 'actually happened' is surely a crucial part of balanced and factual reporting.

Should be stopped.

  • 57.
  • At 05:25 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

perhaps the most dangerous faking or distortion is maybe where its so cleverly or subtly done that it can pass for truth under even the best scrutiny, or maybe when those producing it no longer know they are doing it?

maybe the best prevention is by working on the motivation of those in media, policing fakery must be nigh on impossible, who does it anyway? other rival outlets? too time consuming, too large a job, perhaps like everything else we need to police ourselves?

work on peoples hearts and motivation and the rest may take care of itself

just a thought

best wishes

  • 58.
  • At 05:28 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • R Berrow wrote:

Entertainment true or false is legit , But when the conmen stepin to make a bob or two, they become crooks. They are of the same ilk as the jerry builder . Fact or fiction is the name of the game in entertainment. But deliberate distortion is crooked RB

  • 59.
  • At 05:37 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • brossen99 wrote:

Today is typical of the way the BBC attempts to hide the true facts throughout its news coverage. Earlier on, two important stories came out briefly demonstrating how inefficient Wind Farms really are and the prospect of power cuts if the UK ever meets Blair's foolish wind farm generation target. They both come from credible sources and in fact one is being broadcast on Radio 4 tonight at 9 PM. However, Newsnight who put so much effort into Ethical Man totally ignores this subject even though energy policy is vital to the long term future of our country. Perhaps Newsnight is afraid of more funding cuts if it fails to tow the cozy eco-fascist line of BBC output in general.

  • 60.
  • At 05:42 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Without so - called "Faking it"...television would consist of very long programmes & be very boring!

Good idea to show the uninitiated what goes on.

  • 61.
  • At 05:45 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

This is getting bonkers. How introspective are newsnight and bbc news going to get. There's a wide world out there that has very little to do with the world of media!

  • 62.
  • At 06:07 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Geddy Lee wrote:

5 News has generated lots of publicity for themselves for the second time in a decade what with their huge innovation of getting Kirsty Young to sit on her desk and now this. A great PR wheeze. It's just a pity they can't get coverage for such trifiling things as original journalism and delivering major exclusives. When was the last time 5 News broke a big story?

  • 63.
  • At 06:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Isn't this just a bid by little-watched Channel Five to capture some headlines?

No televison news producer would use these techniques to deceive the viewer or distort what an interviewee has said.

Noddies and walking shots are used sparingly anyway.

There are far more creative ways of disguising edit points.

  • 64.
  • At 06:47 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Nicholas Boultbee wrote:

I get information from several sources. We, in Canada and North America,have a plethora of TV stations. Watch the news on several and make up,ones mind as to which is the most accurate by checking the news with several international radio
stations. By cross referencing one gets a pretty good idea of what is
happening around the world.

  • 65.
  • At 06:59 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • S. J. Hunt wrote:

Using the technique of noddies and staged questions in an interview for a news channel is not deceptive, unless of course the stage question isn't the one asked when the interviewee gave their original answer!

Only on certain shows, with certain presenters are there two cameras, one on the interviewer and one on the interviewee. With news there generally isn't the time or money for two cameras.

Why doesn't Channel 5 instead do a piece on reality shows, which should really be called 'assisted' reality because they are totally deceptive, set-up and fake?

'Faking It' is surely a standard component of life today.
In my memoirs 'Scott Free' I have examined the various ways in which we have lost so many freedoms since I was born 75 years ago.
Amongst these are the innocent and honest way in which companies used to advertise their products and the media presented news and facts. All gone now in a razamataz of hype, image-floating, prescribed reporting with special effects and cutting, to control the minds of the uncritical masses. Alas, those innocent days are gone forever as the academically-challenged school leavers flock in ever increasing numbers to get qualified in 'media studies' and we, the audience, have charisma and minor celebrity thrust at us night and day.

  • 67.
  • At 07:27 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Peter Morris wrote:

I once heard it said in a movie "Trust is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made".

  • 68.
  • At 07:44 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Tony Jacobs wrote:

Some points about filming news items.

- When making the "setting" shots for an interview they often film really corny unoriginal things - why bother - man walking down corridor, or pretending to talk to another whilst holding a file. Does the viewer need to know the interviewee can walk. Give up the corny shots of factories with conveyor belts, Cabinet ministers walking into Downing Street, etc etc.

- Do news presenters have to stand in front of the latest murder scene or disaster to show they are there on the location. BBC News has recently been broadcast from Portugal, from flooded West Country, etc but does it make a difference to the news programme being broadcast that the trouble has been taken to make the outside broadcast.
OTOH, maybe I would be bored if all the news was from one studio - I shouldn't be - I want to know the news.

  • 69.
  • At 07:48 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • D Allan wrote:

If You Need To Ask.

  • 70.
  • At 08:15 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Neil Alcock wrote:

In response to the question in Post #3, "Since when is there "only one camera" ? in this day and age."

Since television companies started cutting costs and sending one cameraman to do the job of two cameramen and a soundman (and a lighting specialist and electrician).

I can't wait to see how Channel 5 get around this. No editing at all? Interviews shown in one long, continuous and very dull shot? Constant zooming in or out? Or will they employ more camera operators with the money they'll save on editors and vision mixers?

  • 71.
  • At 08:51 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • girlsnuts wrote:

Woah - lets not be too hasty.

The walking shot usually provides some useful visual geography for who the hell we're about to hear from, and what they do when they're not talking to reporters.

I'm personally tired of news shows sitting on head and shoulder shots of interviewees, and welcome this extra visual information - it is television, not a youtube rant, after all.

On Breakfast, for instance, they regularly have 'live' items where they'd rather sit on a head an shoulders shot of someone talking, despite being right next to (these are actual examples) a Wildlife Sanctuary, shire horses pulling brewery trucks, a routmaster bus, or seaplanes on the Clyde.

Why shouldn't we see if the soundbite-supplier is 'housed' in a cluttered tiny classroom, or crowded charity space, or bog standard office. Please - show - dont tell!

As for 'noddies'
please please please ban them from entertainment packages where the Entertainment Reporter usually cuts in more of their reactions than the star they're interviewing.

It's weird, I know, but I'd rather see more of Tom Hanks or Sarah Michelle-Gellar or even, I don't know, a clip from the movie(?!), rather than Rosie Millard or Tom Brook's face.

* Peter Morris wrote:

I once heard it said in a movie "Trust is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made".

I thought it was sincerity.

  • 73.
  • At 09:27 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • janet ruff wrote:

It is the arrogance of the news media that is so disturbing. We know that technical problems need to be overcome, but when does this become distortion? Manipulation of the art has become so endemic that truth and honesty are similarly stretched to accomodate the programme makers' desire for a good product. 24 hour News is largely responsible. Filling the ever expanding bucket causes a problem. The resultant dumbing down produces an attitude that 'we,the programme makers are rather more clever or superior than our audience' Disdainful is the word which applies perfectly. Until we can be assured that invited guests, particularly politicians, are not allowed to coerce with the broadcasting media about the questions asked, there can be no integrity. Show the paying public how it is, warts and all. It will not happen, obviously. There is a whole army of media students out there, armed with gloss and varnish, being trained to continue and expand this dreadful manipulation of the facts, the presentation, and ultimately, the truth. Sharp, hard facts are all that are necessary. The Paul Watson affair was a prime example of deceit. We now hear the proposition that the pretence of Mr. Pointon's last gasps was not terribly important in the context of an outstanding programme. How low have we sunk? The obsession with so called 'reality TV' perhaps offers a clue.

  • 74.
  • At 09:28 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • mattyp wrote:

The truth is that many of the techniques being so publically ditched by 5 News were ditched a long time ago by most TV new programmes. Subsequent generations of news producers have come up with better, newer ways to tell the story. What makes Five News so different is that they decided to press release it.

  • 75.
  • At 10:41 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • thomas.hibbert wrote:

when I saw the picture of the Queen"walking away from a spat with the presenters" I believed that I was seeing something which has really happened.HOW can anyone now believe that what is reported by men who have died to send despatches which may have been twisted to make fools of them and their viewers.Has anyone been dismissed for their part in this twist of truth.Tom

  • 76.
  • At 10:57 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • James Ecclestone wrote:

First time here...I watch Newsnight every night, it's excellent. If editing means it has more flow and doesn't look stilted, and providing there is no deception, then I don't see what's wrong with introducing the subject walking along or the interviewer breaking up the dialogue with a 'noddy'shot.

  • 77.
  • At 10:58 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • DAVID wrote:

Perhaps we should get rid of publicity seeking editors who think a few technical tricks has anything to do with deceiving us about the content of the subject being recorded....

  • 78.
  • At 10:59 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • scott abraham wrote:

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, if you are going to ban noddies & staged shots, are you going to put a caption up on the screen for the viewers informing them that the original interview took place over 8 minutes, but has been edited down to 1 minute for the purposes of television?
The moment you edit an interview down from real time, you've altered reality, but you can't always show total real time on television, that's the nature of the medium, that's editing. I'm sure the viewers understand this.

  • 79.
  • At 11:01 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • a.h.s. benton wrote:

I do not think noddies have much to do with trust.

They are a very obvious visual cliche which tv companies should have abandoned a long time ago.

The ghastly introductory "walking shot" and pc screens at odd angles showing nothing whatsoever are other examples.

I thought you lot were supposed to be creative?

  • 80.
  • At 11:03 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Nicholaus Hall wrote:

I've always hated them. It is arrogant and assumes the viewer doesn't know what's going on (which is probably true in the majority). Get rid of them and fast.

  • 81.
  • At 11:03 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Chris Smith wrote:

I hate " the noddy". When I see an interview I ONLY want to see the interviewee. Pictures of the interviewer nodding like an idiotic dog are so annoying and unnecessary. I am sure no-one wnats to see pictures of interviewers, they need to ask the questions and stay behind the camera please

  • 82.
  • At 11:04 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • M Chaloner wrote:

Don't look down your noses at Channel 5 over this. While it could be argued that such a change does nothing to counteract the recent phone-in scandals, the 'noddy' not only obvious but is also patronising cheap and so antiquated. If you really can't afford to take two cameras out on location then use other editing methods. It's lazy and sloppy to try and kid your audience - the audience of today are not the audience of yesteryear and we are a lot more savvy now and expect more from you. Learn.

  • 83.
  • At 11:05 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Tim Flippance wrote:

TV is not as your editor said an "artificial" medium - its just a medium, and works best when it is as honest and natural as possible. I find "noddys" etc infuriating - please drop them.

Tim, Clapham

  • 84.
  • At 11:06 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • DAVID wrote:

Perhaps we should get rid of publicity seeking editors who think a few technical tricks has anything to do with deceiving us about the content of the subject being recorded....

  • 85.
  • At 11:06 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Paul Owen wrote:

Of all of these techniques, and in these media savvy times more and more people are aware of them without the need for your explanation, the one I have always hated the most is the walking intro. I don't know why politicians (it seems to be used exclusively for politicians) agree to do it. They always look stiff and uncomfortable and utterly idiotic.

If you need to edit things then why not let us see where the edits are? Is that not more honest especially in a news programme? We all know that people can be made to say anything you like with clever editing so it might be a good idea to show where edits are.

As for questioning an empty chair, well why not? Provided its the same question that was asked when the camera was pointing the opposite way it's fine, one could argue its actually an efficient use of resources.

  • 86.
  • At 11:07 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ian Moore wrote:

The editors/producers of news programmes must believe that their viewers need more than well documented, presented news stories. It belittles their audience. Why we have to have a reporter outside the buildings that are in the news (No 10, Parliament, Scotland Yard etc.)does not add credibility because it has become cliched. Presenters walking towards camera is also over used. Just treat those who watch the news as intelligent human beings and not impressionable adolescents.

  • 87.
  • At 11:08 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • stephen hoare wrote:

are there really any truly honest journalists in all forms of media? Or,are they all just sensationalists? Answer please!

  • 88.
  • At 11:08 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • colin mack wrote:

I was interviewing Alex Salmond, before he was First Minister. When we were asked to do a noddy. During the mimicked conversation, he told told me that it was hard keeping a straight face with someone who had their fly down. Noddy spoiled- as I jumped to guard the soldier.
False alarm- just for the record.

  • 89.
  • At 11:09 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • John Sterland wrote:

These techniques should absolutely be banned. TV and especially the BBC are now just one step removed from some of the newspapers that the BBC so like to look down their nose at. The real issue here is how biased the BBC is towards the 'left'. Even these particular techniques were banned there are other more subtle ways of a reporter making a piece convey the idea they want to. What is much more important is the integrity of each reporter and editor. The BBC has really lost it's way with a hard core of politically motivated left wing reporters who will happily do a hatchet job on any view expressed that does not agree with their own.

  • 90.
  • At 11:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Norman wrote:

Please can all stock footage have a "date and location taken" superimposed on it.

I am fed up with the "soldiers running over the temporary bridge" clip that has appeared most times Afghanistan is talked about over the past 3 months and was shown yet again a few days ago as though it was "news". It might not even be in Afghanistan - it could have been a training exercise. I do not know because nothing tells me.

Hence my suggestion of a date and location stamp on all standard footage clips.

  • 91.
  • At 11:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

As far as I am concerned, a staged question is tantamount to slander. Answers only make sense when considered in the context of the question. It is trivial to create a subtle but important change in the tone of a person's words by pretending they are in answer to a question that wasn't asked. Of course this should be banned.

Another thing that is often overlooked is the virtually subliminal messages that broadcasters direct at the viewer by the use of images. These can be very powerful, and are entirely at the discretion of the broadcaster. For example, I remember seeing an interview on a local news program with a man in which the camera spent about a minute trained on a tattoo he had on his arm. This was completely irrelevant to the story and I can only assume it was the programmers' way of making a comment on his character.

I don't care about dishonesty in game shows. Standards in news programming are much more important.

  • 92.
  • At 11:13 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Gavin Rider wrote:

I agree with Channel 5 that "noddies" are nonsensical gimmicks and should be abandoned. I also agree with Hugh Keegan on the use of library images behind news stories. I have seen one news story on ITV that was accompanied by incorrect library images, implying that the RNLI was participating in a strike by the Coastguard over pay, which as a charity staffed mainly by volunteers it would never do. Lack of professionalism in the newsroom gave a false impression to the public and whether that is due to laziness or a gimmick like "noddies" it should always be avoided.

  • 93.
  • At 11:16 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Ged Parker wrote:

Hooray! If you really do ban them.
These 'techniques' are so blatent they really do undermine the content. other annoying items:
talking head 'experts' who state the bleeding obvious and add nothing to what the newsreader has already said.
Reporters interviewing reporters.
celeb stories always linked to films, TV progs, books etc.
Reports on 'surveys'

i could go on, but it seems a clean up has started

  • 94.
  • At 11:16 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Trevor Clarke wrote:

Hilarious item by Liz McKean, a wonderful send up of the editing techniques used, just seen on Newsnight. Yes, it is long overdue to ban the nodding heads and staged walks. Not because it necessarily deceived (I knew they were staged) but it was irritating and took away some authority and credibility of the interviewee.

You could tell with some, just how uncomfortable they were with doing the staged walk. There must be enough material for a half hour comedy programme. (A Monty Python type sketch of silly walks?).

  • 95.
  • At 11:18 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • David Hussey wrote:

Please get rid of these noddies. They are dishonest and add nothing to the content. Why do I need to see a reporter appearing to nod earnestly?

They are also infuriating. I am sick and tired of seeing the walking shot or the sitting at the desk shot of the interviewee.

They are patronising and they waste time and money.

I think that the hype over editing is a bit contrived. From the report, it is clear that this happens all the time, but it rarely a problem as it are generally aesthetic. The whole point of a news report, as opposed to just reading the news, is to give evidence in support of a particular perspective. Perhaps they should go on to allow others to refute their claims, and I certainly prefer it when this happens as the discussion is usually the more interesting part.

I do, however, think that it is important that the public do understand that such methods are used by reporters and commend Newsnight for being so open about it (and it confirmed my idea that channel five is indeed getting more boring).

  • 97.
  • At 11:18 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Andrew Davidson wrote:

If the UK news channels and programs are really wanting to win the trust and respect of viewers, why not try something very rare and report in a fair and ballanced way, in the UK Channel 5, channel 4 and the BBC are all openly bias to the left, the Beebs own report found that the organisation had a left wing bias running throughout the company. It's sad but, in the UK today, getting a fair and ballanced report has become a thing of the past.
They say TV channels are all about how many viewers a program gets, yet the most popular news program in the USA is the O'Reilly Factor on the Fox news channel, it blows away all other cable news programs, so you would think at least one of our channels would try to copy such a program, after all, they nick everything else from the states! But not one of them will even look at such a program, would that be because the O'Reilly Factor gives the other side of the story? What are these left wing news programs so scared of?

  • 98.
  • At 11:20 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Alan Firminger wrote:

Channel 5 are on to something.
Get rid of scurrying somewhere to report outside a building, active or empty, get rid of newscasters pretending to laugh after a joke, get rid of all artifice, which as C5 understand, we recognise on sight. Dump 'ironically', 'if you like', all the dreadful verbal ticks.
Just because something is possible it is not necessarilly a good idea.

  • 99.
  • At 11:23 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • william wrote:

The less tricks the better

but in the end its whats being said thats important

but I am for getting rid of the tricks
by whatever slang or nickname

  • 100.
  • At 11:24 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Michael Bulley wrote:

Here are ten things to get rid of from news bulletins and programmes such as Newsnight:
1. The film loop (the same man getting into the same ambulance five times over during a three minute report).
2. The drum background to the reading of the headlines or the summary of items.
3. The pointless location report ( a reporter standing beside a motorway to illustrate an item on road-building plans).
4. Unnatural camera and film techniques: slow-motion, out-of-focus, oblique angle.
5. Insane film accompaniment (a film of the feet of lots of people walking along a street to illustrate an item about price rises).
6. The sudden change of camera (the presenter says "Good evening" to one camera, then suddenly has to swivel round to continue speaking to a different camera).
7. The video phone report. No one wants to see words out of synch with lip movements. Just make an audio report.
8. The presenter's extraordinary show of affection for the weather-forecaster.
9. Reporters with speech defects. Their job is to speak to the public. If they can't speak well, they shouldn't have the job. (You wouldn't select a weakling with two withered arms as Britain's Olympic shot putt representative. So you shouldn't pick someone who lisps to read the news.)
10. Studio background chatter. When that happens, every viewer will be thinking "I wish those people would shut up, so I can hear what the newsreaders are saying."

I think that the hype over editing is a bit contrived. From the report, it is clear that this happens all the time, but it rarely a problem as it are generally aesthetic. The whole point of a news report, as opposed to just reading the news, is to give evidence in support of a particular perspective. Perhaps they should go on to allow others to refute their claims, and I certainly prefer it when this happens as the discussion is usually the more interesting part.

I do, however, think that it is important that the public do understand that such methods are used by reporters and commend Newsnight for being so open about it (and it confirmed my idea that channel five is indeed getting more boring).

  • 102.
  • At 11:30 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • C Dundon wrote:

I find the noddies and 'walkies' a tired and somewhat patronising approach. As a viewer it's irritating to watch, and I think it does detract from the message, eg I find myself watching interviews to see how obvious it is that the sound doesn't match the picture. I applaud Channel 5 for its readiness to re-think this practice.

I don't think it's significant in the context of viewers' wider trust, but perhaps this small, symbolic change could have a stronger cultural impact on those having to implement it, ie the media professionals. By removing this accepted, if minor, deceit, perhaps more significant deceit would become even more unacceptable to perpetrate. I would love to see all channels remove these practices. [And while you're at it, please ditch the radio practice of introducing a piece with related ambient sounds, eg the sound of frying before interviewing a chef in a kitchen...]

  • 103.
  • At 11:30 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Christian wrote:

These 'tricks' are not misleading the public in anyway, 'noddies' and 'staged questions' just make TV interviews run more seemlessly and can provide some contaxt. If 'five' are going to dispose of these devices, why stop there? Why not broadcast interviews in real time, after all editing and cutting can distort what is actually said by an interviewee.

Let's have it right, 'five' are not especially interested in being transparent: they just want to jazz up their news output (something they're obliged to broadcast, rather than something they choose to do) by making it look like a pop video.

  • 104.
  • At 11:32 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Mike Rowarth wrote:

Techniques used to make the presentation of news more interesting and watchable are not of themselves misleading. However, if viewers do not understand how TV programmes are made and edited then there is a genuine risk that the programme may be interpreted as being misleading.
The real problem is that all too often the facts in a news item become inextricably mixed up with the analysis of the item. I believe all media are responsible for this blurring and the sooner it stops the sooner trust will be restored, not to mention respect!

  • 105.
  • At 11:34 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Dave Major wrote:

If we've seen the back of the 'Walkies' shot - it won't be too soon

  • 106.
  • At 11:34 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Dan Stewart wrote:

Reality please!! - There are some programs, especially from the BBC, that I just can't watch because of the total lies. Do you think we're really stupid?? My god! The "Traveling the World" type programs. - People get into the car - The car pulls off - Then we're in the car - Then he gets out of the car... AAARGH! I CAN'T STAND IT! You must all be SO FAKE! Playing to the TV like that! In such a totally patronising way.
If you treat people as idiots, your gonna make them idiots. Get a grip! The tube is more powerful than any spindoctoring a government dream to make. And you preach Anarchy!!
Well thats showbiz! God! The BBC has far too much money for a PUBLIC SERVICE! - Your a bloody profit making company!!
Blimey! Don't get me started this has really touched a nerve.

ps. We are not America. I'm sick to death of the Yank programs and politics.
pps. Get rid of the adverts. (Repeated over and over and over.) Your a Public Service and we pay A LOT OF MONEY not to have adverts.
ppps. Stop treating the whole population of Britain as if they make the same money as people that work at the BBC. We are not ALL middle class and some of us find life a struggle. (The new trailer for "The Restaurant" is sick makingly lavish.) If you work at the BBC YOU ARE WELL PAID.
pppps Get some decent comedy.

There's nothing wrong with having camera tricks such as noddies to make things more believable, as long as they do and as long as they're not used in a damaging way. TV is a representation of life not reality. All it means to do away with these is programme would have to make up better tricks. I'm all for that as well though.

  • 108.
  • At 11:42 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • James H. Reeve wrote:

This is a completely different thing from the dishonesty that caused all the trouble (and to which the BBC has overreacted to a comical extent). As long as these techniques don't alter the story, they're not doing any harm. The reason 5 is right to ditch some of them is that they're superfluous and corny - even in the makeover shows where they first appeared. There are lots of recent TV techniques that are irritating and should get the same treatment. And I think David Attenbrough should be suspended immediately; some of his wildlife sequences seem a little too convenient.

  • 109.
  • At 11:45 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Godutch64 wrote:

Ever since the film 'Broadcast News' the two-shot, noddy, call it what you will, has been a joke. I don't care if I never see the interviewer's face and I care even less about his/her facial response to something said by the subject.

Worse are the staged shots of family forced to sit on sofa flicking through a photo album with pictures of the loved one either killed, missing or injured. It's a very passe form of reportage that the BBC should lead in stamping out.

Viewers should long have realised that everything seen on-screen is the result of an edit at least, and therefore is only one person's idea of what the viewer should consider relevant.

TV? It's all fake.....that is the point. Want news? Buy a newspaper. But a real one.


  • 110.
  • At 11:50 PM on 30 Aug 2007,
  • Mike Harvey wrote:

We (certainly 'I') am fed up with being thought of as a child needing flowery edges and gingerbread house with my news and information.
Just a clear voice and an informed account please.

Mike Harvey

  • 111.
  • At 12:00 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Bob Gibb wrote:

Live TV interviews can be very tricky. Many years ago I had to interview Scottish Secretary Willie Ross. His PR man gave me four questions I was to ask and insisted that he be in the studio standing behind Ross, just out of camera.
My reponse was to say that I would follow up on the answers I was given by the Scottish Secretary. It worked very well. The first answer I was given took us right off the supposed track. It was a five-minute interview and the only stipulated question I asked was the first.
The PR man was livid, shaking his fist at me and was actually heard during the interview to hiss "Oh, no! You can't gp there!" But Willie Ross thought it was a great interview. We remained friends for a long time.

  • 112.
  • At 12:01 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Hugh wrote:

I accept, yes these features are deceptive but I would equate getting rid of these three techniques with banning chords 4,5, and 1 one from pieces of rock music.

It's very often a sense of continuity which gains people's trust. People expect these techniques, and have grown to expect them in news reports, taking them out may have the obverse effect as people then have to get used to something else.

And they are not just lies, they are artistic devices intended to build up a realationship with the interviewer more than anyone else in people's minds. Journalism is an art form, it can only ever give the impression of reality, so if you want to know what suffering is really like you have to go to a war zone yourself. If you want to know whether to trust Gordon Brown go and see him live! Now, I think it's not the visual effects themselves that are the problem, it is the text itself in combination with these effects. I don't believe in sensoring techniques because it surpresses the art form itself.

So much political comment and not enough hearing things from the horses mouth is a problem, becuase sometimes it might be the celebrity his or herself that is pulling the wool over people's eyes but the journalist also becomes the star in this situation. The BBC style is infectious, everyone talks like you on the street these days, crack the same jokes give the heir of being a successful media guru. The BBC is not decieving people from the truth but creating an alternative reality, the promise of a utopian media and each horrific story becoming a sweet smelling diaper the "don't have nightmares" situation.

I think if you take them out in the short term this will reduce trust, while people get used to something new, but this will merely be substiuted by an even more idealistic and less pragmatic sense of utopia, when the "more realistic way" becomes the tired old untrusted methodology. I say keep it in becuase changing it will mean the BBC coming up with something even more deceptive, better that the reporting remains constrained within the limitations that these camera tricks provide.

At the moment BBC reports are like pieces of music they have an emotional effect rather than stimulating my imagination which I personally find limiting in lots of ways. They either leave me thinking "coo, thats good" or isn't that terrible". There is this solitary binary effect which I think reading most of the commentry here most people tend to have. It's not the camera techniques as such but it's the summary conclusions of the reports, here is this person with whom you have a sense of trust, built up through the visuals and tone of voice, and he or she outlines some but maybe not all of the points, draws a conclusion, and then turns it round as an open ended question at the end. Leading people to believe they have a free opinion on a report whilst simultaneously being drawn in to either (a) accepting or (b) rejecting the reporters analysis without actually coming to a conclusion him or herself. So sort that out and people will trust you, I'm sure.

  • 113.
  • At 12:04 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • stephen hoare wrote:

So much reality t.v.trash. How about reality news. Im no staunch tory but showing John Redwoods version of the Welsh national anthem is just another form of "noddyism" and political bias. The BBC news service is a world leader, and must not dumb down to the likes of the ratings chasers or sensationalist rags.

So long as the truth of the story isn't compromised, none of the techniques featured bothers me at all. I just see it as the craft of television.

'Noddys' have always struck me as being a bit obvious, but I don't get deeply offended by seeing someone walking down the street, whatever the context in which it's being used.

I don't think getting rid of these techniques will alter viewers' opinions much at all, but if it kick-starts some creativity in presentation styles, that can't be a bad thing.

  • 115.
  • At 12:15 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • David Silverman wrote:

Seems like the whole 'crisis of trust' thing is just another invention of TV types anyway.

Any right thinking person knew the premium rate phone lines were a rip off, scam or not. And anyone right thinking person knows not to believe everything they hear.

Although the news editing techniques aren't a particularly crucial issue, it is a bit irritating to think that some of these things have been set up.

There must be other editing techniques to make it look smooth that don't involve this kind of fakery.

Newsnight should do what Channel 5 is doing.

  • 116.
  • At 12:31 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Andy Stubbs wrote:

What a terrible pity that I should feel much more passion about the idea of honesty in the broadcast media than in some of the news presented.

Editing and editorialisation are intrinsically devices through which we are presented raw material in a way which makes sense to the consumer, or more particularly, to a specific demographic. At best, it makes such material concise and represents it fairly and accurately; at worst it is deceptive and suits a distorted editorial agenda.

Whilst the noddy and the reverse question actually insult the intelligence of the informed viewer, we shouldn't ignore the fact that without such devices, some may find these stories completely inaccessible. Simultaneously, we also should not ignore that this dependency may be a product of techniques developed by the media over the past twenty years or more. References to The Day Today, Brasseye, and Drop the Dead Donkey are entirely appropriate. Certain key news programmes are more akin to parody than I find comfortable.

In fact, I find these mechanisms abhorrent, and demeaning equally to the viewers, to the reporters and to the subjects of the interviews; but what is the alternative? If we dispense with the noddy, the reverse question, or the environmental portrait (for instance: the walky) does that make any report intrinsically more honest? Of course not. But perhaps it reduces the opportunity for dishonesty.

The current state of affairs, where material is inserted out-of-order into a recorded interview, seems to me to lack honesty and to offer an untoward opportunity to throw a cast upon, or even outright to misrepresent the outcome of a recording. For instance, inserting a noddy allows at least two highly important editorial tools:

1. To show the reaction of a reporter (with whom we are usually supposed to feel a natural empathy) - which may not reflect the original reaction during recording.

2. To transparently cut the reply of an interviewee, perhaps in such a way as to misrepresent the original recording.

Who really wants to sit through an entire interview in the raw? At the same time, would it not be reasonable to make this raw material available? This would surely be a real public service. The "magic" and relevance of TV could really be enhanced by enabling those who are interested to abandon the suspension of disbelief currently required by broadcast media and to respect the skill and craft used to assemble that which is broadcast to us.

There is without doubt an over-dependence upon certain common editorial techniques and artifice in everything from "reality tv" all the way up to the flagship news programmes. For "highbrow" programmes, unless "noddies" and "reverse questions" can be done inline, with a separate camera, then they should be disallowed.

Walkies, on the other hand, are a more difficult question; for public figures, suitably acknowledged library pictures could be used instead, although the choice of picture could in turn be chosen for editorial reasons. For people without pictures in the library this is impractical; there are clearly difficult questions here.

I am amazed and impressed by what I learned from your article regarding the position of Channel 5. However, even if this does become some wonderful new editorial policy, we should never forget that, even with a single camera rig, some astute camerawork, lighting or judicious cropping can present a video recording in a way which does not accurately reflect the interview it is supposed to record.

Constant vigilance is key.

  • 117.
  • At 12:33 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Rick B wrote:

Keep it simple s...!

Noddies, reverse questions and other fancy tricks are unneccessary as well as disloyal to the viewer. Drop 'em, I say!


  • 118.
  • At 02:38 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • David Hunt wrote:

How can we possibly comment without knowing why these methods were developed and used in the first place. While it is easy to pass a moral judgment quite quickly A bit of history would be useful. Who are these people who would manipulate us? and what do they gain?

  • 119.
  • At 02:57 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Paul Q wrote:

What TV really needs to do to regain trust and confidence is to reverse the dumbing down. No more soundbites, pointless predictable automatic gainsaying by opposition politicians, the use of words with more than two syllables etc.

If TV was more serious, better paced and treated the viewer with respect people would once again trust it. Otherwise it's like talking to a five year old - you can't take what they say seriously.

  • 120.
  • At 06:00 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • DAllan wrote:

I did wonder if you would publish the Bayonet to the chest.
Glad you did. Plastic Heads and Shiny Teeth are not A Requirement for A Public Service.
If The Public are Paying for A Public Service then The Public Service Should Provide it. No Frills Whistle and Bells and NO LOOK over there while YOU LEAD Them somewhere where H.M. gov/vomit or Social Engineer THINK they Know where we should go. Possibly The Most Dangerous Thing Known To Man an Officer with A Map. If The aforementioned has Integrity then those behind would more than likly would say Lets Go.(NOT for the public's GOLD) If he has not then the TWO Fingers Issued would come into play along with a popular(far to pop if u ask me) anglo saxon phrase,
Farmers commiting Suicide and Wounded Soldiers being Attacked in Their wounded bed. Whats IS THAT.
When Mother Earth starts to Rumble WHO Will YOU LOOK TO. Faulty Towers perhaps. NOT ME SISTER.
The Farmer and Soldier Know what a Wonderfull Turd is and the Duty it performs. They also Know what a Useless Turd is.

  • 121.
  • At 07:38 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Ken Wilson wrote:

A large problem with BBC news programs in general is the tendency to have the newscasters appear on other bbc non-news programs as celebrities, thus falling into a self generating whirlpool of (non real world) celebrity culture resulting in a perception that what they report in real world programs is same.
The bbc should stop jumping on popularity bandwagons, reporting big brother type items in its news coverage, and try going further afield than kent if it is a "slow news day".
I am also getting peaved at another habit the bbc has of reporting "headline news" and linking it to a Panorama program (or similar) that has been shot for some time, even advertised a week earlier. Do the bbc news programs do the same for current affair programs of other channels?, no they don't and this just leaves the impression that the bbc is using the news programs to advertise other bbc programs.
maybe it is time to stop having the telly tax and make the bbc actually earn its living.

  • 122.
  • At 09:35 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Janet Tregenna wrote:

Congratulations to Channel 5. A long time ago my husband and I saw a film which showed the Noddies,we have referred to them ever since as "the nods and winks" it is so annoying and patronising too.

  • 123.
  • At 10:03 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Nick Fitzpatrick wrote:

How often are demonstrations reported where the close-up camera shot leads the viewer to believe that hundreds or even thousands of people are involved, whereas if the camera is zoomed out there are clearly only a dozen people?

  • 124.
  • At 10:15 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • A Lake wrote:

I am delighted by this initiative and hope to see the lead followed by other news producers. Perhaps two other changes can be added?
1. The contrived scenes of bereved families pouring over pictures and photo albums of loved ones after the newsworthy tragic deaths.
2. Unconnected to the purpose of this initiative but can reporters and commentators please stop responding to questions with the word ABSOLUTELY!

  • 125.
  • At 10:26 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Get rid of those shots. Why do we need to see what the reporter at all? The story is not about them. Reaction shots etc. are completely unnecessary and are another example of prducers treating the general public as idiots.

  • 126.
  • At 10:45 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Mark Watson wrote:

Does that mean you will always be pointing up the edits? What if you lay GVs over sections of an interview and do an edit in the dialogue at the same time - will you point up those edits - and how?

If the aim of the thing is to show where all the edits are, you'd have to. If the aim is just to get rid of the tired convention then you should be straightforward that that is what you are doing - not making the presentation "more honest" but just cleaning up they way you do things.

Surely as long as you're not being "misleading" in the way you present a person't views, then any old TV trick is OK?

  • 127.
  • At 10:56 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • David wrote:

I find the use of walking,the face of the interviewer, shaking of heads and recapping as my pet hates in any tv programme.
The nodding to show acceptance of the information coming through the earphone.
Putting reporters on the spot and asking continuously what they think will happen, time and time again, as if there is an amateur behind the scenes and they they have to fill 'column minutes".
To much news without content is the problem, there is a lot of news out there but the few selected items and the extended coverage, compared to what is really happening is very corporative!
I would rather see good reporting with a pan, than a face in it!
Why, do there have to be reporters on the spot creating in many cases more problems than necessary.
I think that there is more future in the Euronews type reporting.
But, we do have to have some kind of political overview and the right to question, sometimes better questions, more insight, unbiased editing however without extra minutes!!

  • 128.
  • At 10:59 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • janet ruff wrote:

I have just finished reading 125 blogs, mine included, on this subject.
I am so heartened that I am not alone in feeling patronised by the TV media.
PS...and what are you going to do about it?

A few years back I banged on about just how bad the visual and technical skills were in TV and focused on Newsnight which was laughable at the time, remember all those flashing background lights and visually terrible Kirsty interviews with blown out highlights? You have improved but its still not good enough, exactly why cant you produce high quality intelligent visuals? your boned up to the teeth with the best equipment yet produce kind of 6th form film club stuff. Again why?

  • 130.
  • At 11:32 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Danny Allen wrote:

I find the introductory pictures with someone reading a book, or worse still, pretending to make notes in a document particularly irritating and unbelievable, as is people walking along aimlessly.

'Noddies', if well edited, however, can be tolerated because we understand there is only one camera available.

It is less about being honest than about technique. Most well-educated people are aware of some of these editing techniques - which is precisely why they need changing!

  • 131.
  • At 11:52 AM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Frits Oostvogel wrote:

After half a century of television broadcast a ban on cutaways in news reporting for the sake of integrity is nothing but hypocritical. In both radio and television, airtime for content has always been counted in seconds.

It is the nature of television broadcast that all news reporting must be within very tight slots, leaving time for only a limited choice of items.
In order to get the content of a particular news item across efficiently in a narrow time frame, there’s little harm in noddies or reverse questions.
For pinpointing facts, adding background or perspective and keep the viewer interested in a multitude of ongoing and important events these professional tools are essential.
Nobody wants to drive away in a car that has no first, second and third gear.

Shooting every television interview in a multi-camera setup without editing is hardly an alternative, as it will greatly hamper the quality of reporting. Chances are that the facts in fewer news items will be misrepresented in a lot more airtime that is quite boring at best.

As a BBC-viewer from The Netherlands, it strikes me how the British television audience has come to mistrust their broadcast media.
It may be a spill over from the British yellow press that is world famous for inventing news stories and misrepresenting silly facts with the greatest panache.
Many British television broadcasters are renowned the world over and are by far the most respected in the global news trade. Part of the reason must be that the professional tools of the trade keep being used with some responsibility at least.
What Channel 5 is aiming at, remains a mystery to me. The intended ban on noddies and reverse questions may be: a news story by lack of something better, a cheap spin, or proof of yellow professionalism.

Yesterday your programme aired an item called "Faking It" about 'noddies', staged questions and zombie walks on TV. It was a good segment. I would like to offer another alternative to all the above and it already exists in completed form. It does away with interfering presenters, eager editors and fearful-of-the-sack journalists. It's called C-SPAN and it airs in the US. I saw many of its programmes during the US mid-term elections in November 2006. It was a revelation to see and hear a line of questioning and depth of approach that it is still unheard of on the BBC. The main reason is because viewers ask their own questions live to invited guests, which come from all walks of life, except entertainment, TV and films, which means, of course, all the fake industries. This programme is not an attack on regular journalism, it is just an addition to it. There is very little fakery on C-SPAN as callers are given a chance to ask a question and they can use it as they wish. The presenter (it's more like a moderator) also covers the press and invites analysts to discuss the news. Callers are able to ask questions to analysts and journalists about the news. During a full week in the US watching C-SPAN I experimented more diversity of opinion on TV than in the last 5 years in the UK. C-SPAN is a 24hr channel and leaves BBC News 24 in the shade. I also saw the C-SPAN moderator concentrating on editorial content of newspapers with underlined segments on camera. This level of detail is unheard of on British TV news and current affairs. At the most, newspaper journalists and analysts have 3 minutes to present the headlines on BBCNews 24. Even Newsnight only reads the next morning headlines. I believe that the lack of a similar programme as C-SPAN on the BBC is just another example of the laziness and stuckism the BBC is currently undergoing. As a viewer, it feels that the BBC higher echelons are afraid of opening up a channel for this type of programme for fear of losing control. They will lose it to a certain extent, as it's the viewer who will ask the questions. The only secret of C-SPAN is how they select and organise the live questioning. But this is easy to find out. Our You Tube website has a number of examples of live questioning. I am sure you are aware that a C-SPAN programme was aired recently on the BBC Parliament channel. I presume this was a trial, which is welcome news, as long as BBC executives do not try to stifle dialogue, as they usually do. There is nothing commercial or faked in C-SPAN. The entertainment is provided by the depth of questioning and the level of knowledge of the guest. No 'noddies', staged questions or zombie walks, as far as I could see. I presume that the Newsnight team is the best placed to organise a channel of this nature as it is the least commercial programme on British TV at the moment and that tackles the issues head on most of the time. You can find more on the internet. Yours, Moderator, BBC INDEPENDENT VIEWERS ASSOCIATION,,

  • 133.
  • At 12:27 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Five's editor goes into a bit more detail in his blog.

  • 134.
  • At 12:33 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I've never really seen the problem with noddies with the exception of when a camera is looking over someone's shoulder and the audio of what the interviewer is saying to the contributor doesn't match the movement of the person's mouth - even from the side it's quite noticable.

But you need some technique to edit interviews. One option could actually be to use two cameras rather than one - one on the interviewer and one on the guest to get "true" questions, responses and reactions. A little bit more resources needed, but better than not being able to edit interviews at all.

  • 135.
  • At 12:57 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • David Farrell wrote:

Sometimes I'd rather watch the questioner than the interviewee when it's political! I'd love to see the noddies on radio!

  • 136.
  • At 01:31 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Lindsay Reid wrote:

As long as there is no deliberate distortion of the material facts/truth of the interview, cutaways, noddies etc are fine.

Everybody must recognise these techniques which, as others have said, are sometimes necessary for technical reasons.

We don't want/need electronic morphs, spins, wipes or other replacements for established and known techniques.

What would be far more honest is to tell us when an interviewee pre-vetted the questions and/or insisted on certain questions not being asked and/or removed from the edit.

I daresay these revelations might result in more of the "a spokesman/minister/representative was not available for interview" !!

  • 137.
  • At 01:33 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Patricia M. wrote:

Quote Danny above: "Most well-educated people are aware of some of these editing techniques - which is precisely why they need changing!"

I totally agree, even though I'm not particularly well-educated. The hackneyed techniques - cutties including noddies, handies, footies and self-conscious walkies, and irrelevant/unnecessary library footage - make for formulaic TV, cringe-worthy and distracting, I've even had to switch off!

In the new world of Infotainment there's not enough "info" and too much "tainment".

However, the above didn't dent my trust in the BBC, that was achieved by the Corporation's over-enthusiastic equal opportunities policy (as already mentioned, "not everyone can do everything"), by its insistence on devil's advocacy, and by its shallow, fleeting, coverage of world events.

And while I'm at it, what's with the American dates on the BBC? It's bad enough that the once-venerable Times does it but they're under the Murdoch boot. What are we coming to?

  • 138.
  • At 01:45 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • tog scott wrote:

I was looking forward to this report but up here in Scotland we got a report about a report on the Scottish economy that said that all the other reports on the Scottish economy were wrong or something equally unnewsworthy. I could be more specific if it had not made me nod off. Could we not just get Newsnight when the Scottish parliament is not in session. Most of the time news stories worthy of in depth coverage are a bit thin on the ground in Scotland but recently I think Newsnight Scotland has just been making things up and hoping no one notices. I know the MSPs would be up in arms but think about the poor viewers please.

  • 139.
  • At 02:53 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • D Hindey wrote:

Just tell us the news,there's no need for the theatrical extra trimmings,The "noddies" and the long shots supposedly showing reaction are not necessary and quite often look false and amateur.

  • 140.
  • At 04:03 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Channel 5 are quite right when honest not presentation is to be saught the no frills aproach should be the BBCs approach.

  • 141.
  • At 05:01 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Dave Matthews wrote:

I think that these practices are a disgrace. If you give the impression that you are responding to someone in real time when in fact you are not; then in my opinion you are lying. The same goes for staged questions. Why bother with 'noddies' anyway? As well as being dishonest it seems to me to be completely pointless. I want the interviewer's questions to be intelligent and I want him/her to challenge the interviewee. If the interviewer shares the same opinion as the interviewee then they should play Devil's advocate. (I hate the way BBC news gives people a platform to say their piece without challenging them. Sorry Sophie, but you are the worst for this.) I do not care whether or not the interviewer agrees with what is being said, that should be irrelevant. This kind of dishonesty/editing/staging also adds fuel to the obtuse fundamentalists' fire as they already believe that the Western media and powers that be edit/doctor/lie when reporting about Islam and Muslims. About a quarter of Muslims in this country believe that the so called "martyr" videos of the 7/7 bombers were faked by the media/government! In a world full of exponential avarice and dishonesty, sensationalism and hyperbole; if we can't even trust or believe the news then I am afraid that we are truely lost. Related to this, the tabloids should absolutely not be able to call themselves newspapers. They are a disgrace and responsible for propagating stereotypes and ignorance.

  • 142.
  • At 07:05 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • al wrote:

I never realised that noddies were faked. It seems that tv is more dishonest than I naively realised. Now I'm wondering: "what else are they hiding from us?". They're only saying this now because they got caught out with all the Quizcall stuff. Habitual deception and dishonesty seem to be considered normal in the culture of telly-land, so it's no wonder that they thought it was OK to fake comeptition winners. As Terry Wogan said after his Eurovision selection mistake: "Who cares, it's not like it's a general election or anything".

The likes of the BBC are in a very priviledged and powerful position and they are not afraid to routinely abuse the naive trust of the viewers for their own gain, whether it be personal, economic(for comercial broadcasters), political or career gain. The BBC has a habit of using the vast publicly funded infrastructre as a launch pad to force their own personal political viewpoint onto the viewer. How many times have you heard them saying "this progamme is about changing attitudes". Who ever gave the unelected but publicly funded BBC the right to "change attitudes"? When they talk about "changing attitudes" or "tackling issues" what they really mean is that they are going to abuse their priviledged and powerful position to force their own personal political viewpoint on the viewing public. They are saying "we are better than you and you'd better start thinking the same way as we do." They see the viewing public as something to be manipulated. In short, they have scant respect for the viewer.

  • 143.
  • At 10:44 PM on 31 Aug 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

It should never be a matter of 'trust'.

It should have been 'transparency' from the start.
Seeing the mechanisms and cross-corroborated facts can remove the need for credibility and adjust for whatever bias is always expected in all journalism.

Trust was bludgeoned to death every time media was caught at, not only these mentioned trivial tactics, but things like associating with 'journalists' like Adam Curtis who is perfectly free to ask brand-new questions to old archive interviews and other more subliminal tricks in the book.

Instead of banning, the BBC should innovate. Show hacks how transparency is done and what it's worth.

  • 144.
  • At 05:38 PM on 01 Sep 2007,
  • Derrick Bateman wrote:

Just seen Trevor Clark's post.(94)
Monty Python did do a sketch in which the newsreader mentioned the 'Lord Privy Seal', which was illustrated, in rapid succession, by a lord, a privy and a seal.

How amazing that (to date) 144 people have commented on an arcane aspect of televisual syntax. I find here echoes of the altercation when Cinéma Verité had us all agog back in the sixties, and more recently when the Dogme school of filmmaking was the flavour of the day.

We can, of course, pursue the Grail of transparency and authenticity to its absurdist conclusions (no chroma key, make-up, no post-nodern sets, etc.).

I think the citation in #144 says it all though, 'Lord Privy Seal'.

  • 146.
  • At 10:50 AM on 03 Sep 2007,
  • David Smith wrote:

My objection to the 'noddie' is not that it is added afterwards, although this does then mean a 'factual news' item contains a deliberate falsehood.

What offends me more is that it suggests the journalist and his/her response to the interviewee's comments are part of the story. The interviewer should be practically invisible. They are irrelevant. By showing their reaction (genuine or affected after the event), editors seem to be manipulating their audience: 'that last comment was reasonable', 'this poor lady has my sympathy', etc.

The interviewer should be concerned with facts and the accurate representation of their subject's views. Journalists themselves should be keenest for an unadulterated airing of their piece, unless there is an element of self-promotion in their news reports.

  • 147.
  • At 11:44 AM on 03 Sep 2007,
  • Phil Ashby wrote:

I'll be sad to see the end of noddies and staged walkie shots: in our household we obtain much innocent pleasure awarding points for the least convincing cut-away, the most pointless reconstruction. How many pots of tea have been brewed in the name of local news footage.

Interesting that the exec from five whose moment of fame this is referred to 'showbiz' techniques. One wonders what sort of entertainment they view in his living room.

Much much more annoying are the staged reporter/correspondent 'interviews' in the main bulletins, especially the BBC Ten o'clock. Clunky handovers to people in the wings who pivot back and forth, unconvincing and excessive hand-waving and desperate use of graphics. Why does every story, especially tragic ones, have to have its own mini-series title with graphic flourishes?

And another thing. Either change that big table in the studio or learn to move the cameras round for 2-way discussions between anchor and correspondent. I'm fed up of profile shots of them, the 'talking earhole' is the technical term, I believe.

Of course said interviewee could adopt a better eyeline to camera by 'cheating' (another technical term) but that would never do nowadays would it?

  • 148.
  • At 03:02 PM on 03 Sep 2007,
  • Phil Ashby wrote:

re comment #144 'Lord Privy Seal'

It wasn't Monty Python, it was one of the David Frost programmes, the Frost Report I think. Black and White, with Ronnies Barker & Corbett.

(In the interests of accuracy).

  • 149.
  • At 01:47 AM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • chris b wrote:

Dumbing down?
Tonight whilst reporting on how similar labour/tory tax plans are we had a background of coins(in case we didn`t know what money looks like!)
and an idiots guide to percentages, demonstrated by the cutting of a chocolate cake into portions. I would suggest that anyone who doesn`t understand percentages,or knows what money looks like will only be watching the news because they`re too stupid to operate the remote control.

  • 150.
  • At 02:38 PM on 05 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen Newte wrote:

Answers given on screen should be the answer to the question actually heard even if the question is recorded separately otherwise it is difficult to tell if the person is giving an evasive answer of just answered a different question. The activity which really annoys me is when a shot over someone's shoulder showing the other person and the back of the speaker's head when the head movements etc. clearly show the speaker is not saying the words being braodcast. This is even more annoying when the head movments show the person talking and there is a pause in the words being heard.

  • 151.
  • At 12:48 PM on 08 Sep 2007,
  • Rose wrote:

The interview should appear as it was filmed, tone and all. If it is cut, that should be made clear as in ... i.e. a clear break, not coded trickery.

The worst thing about contemporary broadcasting is the habit of breaking off whenever it gets interesting or detailed, and playing moronic music over the top.

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