Is The Project Broadcast or Post-broadcast Television?

To appeal to a wider demographic, the way news is delivered has gone beyond “plain” broadcast television and now a variety of post-broadcast news shows are popping up on nearly every channel. However, the line between broadcast and post-broadcast I believe is still vague as there are some shows where the professional delivery of original news is masked in its post-broadcast manner. One show in particular that sparks much debate is channel 10’s The Project. To help distinguish what features of the show lead to debate, I will be comparing it with a channel 9 regular afternoon news show and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The way news is delivered is an important part of the cultural public sphere. It acts as a forum where citizens can be informed and debate topical issues which in turn can lead to societal change. It distinguishes what is the public and private sphere and is delivered (ideally) in a non-biased fashion.

Traditional broadcast television is what is known as your daily intake of news, the anchor of the show addresses the camera in a formal manner highlighting the news in order of importance coupled with multimedia interviews and photos. Sometimes the formal news presenter conducts interviews as well. In a traditional Channel Nine news segment addressing global issues the anchor formally introduces the segment then continues onto a video further explain the current situation. This clip can either be from another media outlet or a pre-recorded interview summarising the situation.

Characteristics of this broadcast television include an anchor as the authority, a formal setting at a news desk, other presenters for sport & weather, scheduled segments, live news is the voice of the people, remains unbiased and is often the first to report on breaking news stories. The biggest difference between broadcast & post-broadcast is the sense of urgency and liveliness. If a natural disaster occurred somewhere in the world you would want an informative & current presentation of the information. Whereas during post-broadcast if current news is breaking it doesn’t have the same sense of fluidity of information and can often be masked by jokes.

On the other hand we have post-broadcast television. This is a very different way to digest the news as it is delivered in an informal, casual and often humorous manner. Take The Daily Show for example, it’s hosted by Jon Stewart and is aired on the comedy channel and is known for its political comedy. More often than not the host goes off on rants when discussing an issue as to how it has affected him or making fun of how other media outlets portrayed a particular issue. This is more appealing to “the people” as instead of being a voice of the nation he is being the voice of the audience. Not only is this format informative it’s also refreshing when shedding some reality on daily issues.

Post-broadcast news is part of the media convergence as so much of it is online, it’s interactive with hashtags and a twitter feed running on the bottom. Additional characteristics can be how instead of sections being in order of importance it is rated on order of comedic value, the setting is sometimes informal like a lounge, the hosts use colloquial language and structure their news segments on a narrative structure all to appeal to the viewer in a more engaging way.

Now which one of these sounds more like The Project? The project delivers the news headlines in order of importance, has a formal set and uses formal language. However, in between news segments the anchors often laugh at the issue, discuss it colloquially and often times host, Peter Helliar, interjects comedic segments making fun of what someone has said in an interview. I like to think that The Project is broadcast as it highlights all the main daily issues and then some by providing information on the latest scientific breakthrough. I feel informed and at the same time entertained that I can watch the news from the initial unbiased angle then feel involved in the debate afterwards. Isn’t that what the news is all about? However, unlike most broadcast television they don’t present breaking news and it isn’t truly broadcast television without being completely objective. So technically we have to class it as a post-broadcast show with News Delivered Differently.


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