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100 articles — ‘How to Report the News’

A satirical piece by Charlie Brooker from BBC's Newswipe program about the visual cliches of TV news reporting is the latest addition to our '100 articles' project.

Charlie Brooker’s ‘How to Report the News’, from the BBC’s ‘Newswipe’ program

Have you ever really watched the news? I mean really watched it, and noticed all the elements that make up a news story. The vox pops, the punctuated dialogue, the gratuitous overlay, the dramatic diagrams –  all of these can be either used effectively, or go completely unnoticed unless you’re paying attention to them.

Charlie Brooker is the host of BBC4’s Newswipe, and it’s something that he’s given a lot of thought. In this clip he deconstructs the elements of the basic news story, in the form of a news story. It’s useful to get you thinking about how these pieces are made, the kind of shots you need to look for, and at times the steps you need to take to make a news story visually interesting, despite the fact that most stories have little visually interesting to accompany a news piece.

The Charlie Brooker news piece should be watched by anyone who is hoping to work in the news, current affairs-style programming, or even other forms of “factual” television. Not only does it highlight the different visual elements that can accompany written script, but also alerts us to the visual cliches that lurk in so much of what we watch in daily news broadcasts.

Matt Smith works at La Trobe University as their chief podcaster, and teaches in the Media Studies program. His radio plays can be found at Nightlight Productions and you can follow Matt on Twitter. This piece is part of our ‘100 articles’ project. To see the list so far or to learn more about the project, including how you can contribute to it, go here.

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