Electronic journalism

Electronic journalism

''See Electronic publishing); See journalism; Electronic field production
Electronic journalism - known as "EJ" or "ENG" for electronic news gathering - is most associated with broadcast news where producers, reporters and editors make use of electronic recording devices for gathering and presenting information in telecasts and radio transmissions reaching the public. The acquisition media of choice in 2005 are characterized by a variety of competing types or "formats" of video tape. Sound recording and editing offer a large number of analogue and digital systems. Still images, graphics and animation have their own sets of tools. The editorial systems available provide journalists with tools for fast and flexible assembly and delivery of electronically gathered and edited news reports.

Video journalism

News via video is seen daily by millions of people around the world. Some of the typical uses include interviews, panel discussions, press conferences and speeches. Live and pre-recorded video is also used in news coverage of accidents, natural disasters and war coverage.

Technical standards for Video Journalism

The National Archives of the United States holds a collection of some of earliest examples of historically significant motion picture films for the country and similar collections exist in other nation's archives. From the earliest days of the medium's existence, film cameras have been used for the acquisition of news elements and documentary footage. Film remained important in daily news operations until the late 1960s when news outlets turned to portable video cameras, portable recorders, wireless microphones and joined those with various microwave and satellite linked delivery systems. By the mid 1980s film had all but disappeared from used in television journalism.

The 1962 arrival of the "Handy-Looky", a portable video tape camera from Ikegami announced a revolution in journalism. This Handy Looky provided a self-contained system of camera with lens and video recorder, the precursor of today's hand held cameras.

Some examples of improvements

As systems have improved, components have been made smaller and lighter and performance has greatly improved. Improvements have been made in image quality, colorimetry, lenses, and videotape technology. The following is a small list of improvements related to television news production.

Photographs, graphics, animation

Apart from moving images and sound recording, electronic journalism makes liberal use of still images, graphics and animation in reports.

  • In television, still photographs, may be used when no video camera can reach a correspondent or interview subject. A still photograph may also be used to show historically notable person and event or in any place where it aids the report. Photos may be recorded with a standard video camera or the photos can be placed on a special motion control device which allows precise computer controlled positioning. Whether shot in the field or in the studio, the camera operator might zoom, pan or tilt while recording the images. The director may use portions of this video or may digitally store some selected frames for insertion into the final report.
  • Graphics are used to report on financial markets, labor statistics, crop reports, municipal budgets and other instances where tabular data or charts are the best choice for explaining a story element. In electronic journalism, graphics are displayed while the reporter continues to read the script. The graphics, including fonts and titles, convey news worthy information, names and titles. The use of graphics also support a station or network's image. Graphics, in some cases, may open up some revenue generating opportunities to the content delivery channel.
  • Animation is an effective tool for communicating views of a natural disaster or a tragic accident like a plain crash. Producers might turn to animation to explain a complex scientific process, economic or political polling trends; to illustrate news about space flights and many other appropriate uses. Meteorologists make use of simple and complex animation to show the path of storms.

Technical standards

  • CCD Camera technology
  • Digital storage and transmission to news room via high-speed Internet connections. Advanced storage allows shooting hundreds of images without need to reload camera.

Audio journalism

Radio has long been used to broadcast news as quickly as possible. Many important speeches and public events were covered on radio and still are today. With the growing availability of small, yet high-quality, cassette recorders, such as those from Marantz and Sony, radio reporters are able to make use of natural sounds and interviews which brings great detail to their reports. National Public Radio's All Things Considered has been a pioneer in the use of such sound elements woven into the fabric of its reports.

Technical standards

A wide variety of audio recording formats is used in news rooms around the world. The standard report kit includes a battery operated cassette recorder with a dynamic microphone and optional telephone interface. With this set-up, the reporter can record interviews and natural sound and then play these over a telephone line for rerecording or live broadcast by the content provider (radio or TV station, cable outlet, web radio system). This offers a rugged and relatively simple system which can be placed into a single bag along with extra batteries, tape and supplies.

In addition to the standard compact cassette another popular choice is the digital minidisc. This has the advantage of superior sound, digital indexing and is re-recordable, reusable medium. The small cassette format known as DAT is popular with film makers and other studio professionals because of its superior sound quality and its SMPTE time code and other synchronization features. News gathering may also be accomplished with the use of recordable CD and DVD players and various fixed medium recording system.

Increasingly, physical formats such as DVD and minidisc are being phased out of newsrooms in favour of hard drive and flash memory recorders. These have the advantage of instant drag and drop transfer of audio, saving valuable staff time on waiting for material to load in to editing systems in real time.

See also

External links


  • Shook, Fredrick - The Process of Electronic News Gathering - ISBN 0-89582-082-X Morton Publishers
  • Anderson, Gary - Video Editing & Production: A Professional Guide -ISBN 0-86729-114-1 Knowledge Industries, 1984
  • Bensinger, Charles, - The Video Guide, 3rd edition - ISBN 0-672-22051-2, Sams Publisher, 1982
  • Bensinger, Charles, - Video As a Second Language: How To Make A Video Documentary - ISBN 0-915146-06-1 VTR Publishers, 1979
  • Millerson, Gerald, - Video Camera Techniques - ISBN 0-240-51225-1, Focal Press, 1983
  • Wood, William - Electronic Journalism - ISBN 023102875X , Columbia U. Press
  • Feinberg, Milton - Techniques of Photojournalism - ISBN 0-471-25692-7, Wiley-Interscience 1970
  • Eden, Clifton C. - Photojournalism: Principles & Practices, 2ed ed., - ISBN 0-697-04333-9 Wm.C.Brown 1980
  • Hicks, Wilson - Words & Pictures: An Introduction to Photojournalism, - ISBN 0-685-32645-4 Ayer Co. Pub.
  • Roy, Frank P. - Photojournalism: The Visual Approach (Illus) - ISBN 0-13-665548-3, PH.
  • Broadcast News, Reporting & Production - by White, Ted & Meppen - ISBN 0-02-427010-5, Macmillan Press, 1984
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