Fashion Faux Pas by Israel’s Channel 10 News Reporter

Channel 10 News’ reporter Shelly Tapiero (left) interviews Rinat Abergil (right) on the morning of her husband’s extradition in order to face criminal charges in the US. Notice how similarly dressed are the interviewer and the interviewee:
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I heard about crime reporters getting too familiar with the criminals they cover – but this is getting ridiculous.

How New Technologies Made TV Worse

We are in the middle of a digital revolution:Twitter, YouTube, mobiles, LCD – the only sure thing about these new technologies is that we do not really know how they will affect our lives. Amidst this wonderful wave of transformation some disturbing trends have emerged. Following are a few examples from Israeli TV wherein new technologies facilitate in its change for the worse:

Distorted video proportions

Between 4:3 and 16:9, analog and HDTV, a mixture of formats that is indicative of a TV world that hasn’t decided on a new standard and has to make do. Until a universal standard is agreed upon and implemented, are we destined for years and years of stretched heads?

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That man is not this fat! Channel 10 News visually distorts an interview from UK’s Sky News.
These people are not this thin! Channel 2‘s UK reporter submits a visually distorted news item.

Web quality footage when better is available

News desks get access to virtually every other news feed in the world and record most of it for future use, but lately it seems it became too much of a hassle for them to use the recorded footage. Searching for a video on YouTube is so easy and fast that even when doing a piece about an event that happened a day earlier, news channels slack off by broadcasting pixelated videos from the web, as opposed to broadcast-level footage.

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Channel 2 News features coverage by German ARD using a compressed YouTube video.
Channel 2 News covers Bar Refaeli’s interview with Letterman on CBS using YouTube posted video.

Web videos as legitimate news items

The blurring of boundaries between news and entertainment is a serious issue, and part of it manifests in this trend of deeming web-content newsworthy. In this age of Context Collapse a private posting can be escalated into prime-time news:

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Channel 10 News covers a satirical YouTube video that miscaptions the Fuehrer so as to make him complain about parking spaces in Tel-Aviv.
For that extra kick, channel 10’s reporter shows said video to a Holocaust survivor who had never seen it before. Sought emotional impact achieved.

Part 2 of this post will be published during the next few months.

Israel’s Channel 10 News Brave Enough To Make Fun of Itself

Channel 10’s Friday news magazine Shishi raises the standard of reporting each week, literally writing the book on how a news magazine should be done. Anchormen Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah‘s segment ‘On The Road’, which turned the traditional in-studio interview into a-day-out-with-the-interviewee report, has already been copied by Channel 1’s Ayala Hason and Ben Caspit – including the famous Statler-and-Waldorf-like embedded commentary. In addition to the outstanding ensemble of reporters that the show sports, it is famous for its self-awareness, self-criticism, and a fair amount of ‘process stories’. Shelah and Drucker often criticize the Israeli media, always starting with their own place of work.

The recent security situation in the region triggered the Pavlovian media response of rolling news reports, and when you mix a barrage of rockets, satellite latency, and loads of air time – inevitably you get a fair share of on-camera bloopers. Leave it to Shelah and Drucker to end their show on a lighter note with a compilation of the channel’s reporters supplying a week’s dosage of self-deprecating humor.

The video is in Hebrew but most of it is self-explanatory:

Tonight on Your Evening News: Cast Lead and Must Leather

Wars don’t happen in winter anymore
Even for us it is a bit too cold to hate
Wars don’t happen in winter anymore
Even for us it’s a bit too cold to conquer
   – – “Big Hero” by Si Himan (translated from Hebrew)

Channel 10 anchorwoman Miki Haimovich (right) and senior defense correspondent Alon Ben-David (left) modeling wartime leatherwear - December 28, 2008

I have already written on Israeli journalists playing dress-up, but that was during peacetime. Now that a new war might be imminent, it seems our journalists collectively decided to wear uniform in the form of leather jackets. I have been glued to the TV screen during the past few days, zapping between Channel One, Channel Two and Channel Ten – and it looks like one hideous leatherwear catalog from the 1990’s that magically came to life:

Leather by Gaza - Mixed Channels

We already knew soldiers have their standard operating procedures – but now we know TV newsmen have them too.
Continue reading Tonight on Your Evening News: Cast Lead and Must Leather

You Cannot Put a Price Tag on That!

While I realize the entire world is slowly going into a recession, and I do acknowledge that publicly funded broadcast television has always been on the brink of bankruptcy – still, it seems Israel’s IBA News has really gone too far this time:
This past Thursday I was watching Channel 1’s evening news, when the anchorman turned to culture correspondent Dana Herman and I noticed there was something under the back of her shirt, an object that looked eerily similar to a price tag:

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Is this a major faux pas on Herman’s part, or does Channel 1 force their reporters to perform the ol’ wear-once-then-return-for-a-refund trick? …and if that is the case, can someone tell the director not to shoot the reporters in the back from the back?

While we’re at it, could someone at Channel 10 talk to the cleaning people? Tell them that you may turn a blind eye when they occasionally do not clean the dust from the studios, but they cannot ignore a big rope lying around on the floor. This is from this past Thursday’s London & Kirschenbaum:

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Today On Fox News: Ehud Barak Upskirt

A couple of hours ago, Ehud Barak, Israeli Minister of Defense and former Prime Minister, was interviewed live on Fox News. As always, Barak looked very respectable – on Fox’s Live Desk camera 1:
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…but camera 2 showed Barak’s sitting position with his legs uncrossed and very, very far from each other:

Ehud Barak on Fox News - 2008-07-30

Now, I am not sure how average Fox viewers perceive this image and whether they assume this is the customary way Sultans sit in the desert – but as an Israeli viewer it made me smile as it is the all-Israeli male sitting position, legs uncrossed, crotch-area enhanced, a posture indicative of a long military service in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Do Israeli Newsmen Wear Boxers or Briefs?

Since TV news reporters are usually shot from the waist up, viewers toy with the idea that except for the expensive jacket, their favorite anchorman could be wearing his underwear and a pair of slippers. I felt this subject cannot be ignored any longer and investigated the subject. Here is what I have found:

Test case #1

Israel Channel 1 - Amir Bar-Shalom - July 15, 2008 - On The Air
Amir Bar-Shalom, chief military correspondent for Israel’s Channel 1 news, delivered his report live from the field this evening. Channel 1’s devoted viewers saw a respectable attire: a long sleeve shirt, sleeves tszujed a bit due to the hot weather – all in all, a respectable journalist.

Israel Channel 10 - Amir Bar-Shalom - July 15, 2008 - Off The Air
As Bar-Shalom went off the air, Channel 10’s camera caught him (above, right) on his way to the air-conditioned broadcasting van. Channel 10’s devoted viewers saw a slacker: three quarter pants with a shirt untucked, and a pair of flip-flops – all in all, a guy on vacation.

Test case #2

Israel Channel 10 - Baruch Kra - June 23, 2008 - On The Air
Baruch Kra, legal affairs correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 news on the other hand, likes to play dress up. Back in June 23, this is what he looked like on the air at 8:02pm: a jacket and tie – this guy knows what he is talking about.

Israel Channel 10 - Baruch Kra - June 23, 2008 - Off The Air
…and courtesy of Channel 10’s ‘newsroom behind the anchor desk’ design, we can see what Kra was wearing (above, center) just 21 minutes later, off the air at 8:23pm: jeans and a T-shirt – this guy must be an intern.

Analog News Editors In A Digital World – A Case Study

There are four major methods used on TV to obscure a person’s face so that he would not be recognized:

  • Pixelization: during editing, a video graphics filter is used to lower the resolution of the footage
  • Black bars: during editing, a graphical element is superimposed over the footage
  • Extreme close-up: focusing during filming on a single facial feature, such as lips or eyes
  • Silhouette: adjusting the camera exposure during filming so that the person appears totally black

The latter method was used during yesterday’s evening news, in a pre-taped press conference. Since this was not a live broadcast, there was no reason for any slip-up, and for the most part I could only see the silhouette of the woman talking. But when some still photojournalists used their camera flash, it lit the entire room and for a split second revealed the face of the woman.
Now perhaps during the 1990’s this kind of incident would not amount to much, since you could not rewind live TV or use your computer to download the news – but those analog days are long gone, and it is about time people in the Israeli media would recognize that fact.

Since this is not the first time I have noticed the Israeli media dropping the ball on this issue, I thought I would present a case study of the three Israeli broadcast channels, examining yesterday’s cover of that news conference:

Continue reading Analog News Editors In A Digital World – A Case Study