How the new TVA Nouvelles saved journalism

Discussion panels!

Discussion panels!

Tonight was the premiere of a new format for TVA Nouvelles’s flagship 10pm newscast (you can watch the whole thing here). Trying to find a new model that was different from the boring single-anchor TV newscast, it brought in four columnists who comment about major news stories, and has become more of a panel discussion show about the news than a newscast.

But that’s not the only change. Here, in screenshots, are other things that TVA Nouvelles has that will save the TV news industry from that pesky Internet threat and make sure the kids keep watching.

Giant touchscreens!

Giant touchscreens!

Pullquotes!

Pullquotes!

Graphics using cool words about things that are fast!

Graphics using cool words about things that are fast!

Viewer polls!

Viewer polls!

Props!

Props!

Props!

Props!

And more props!

And more props!

Justin Bieber!

Justin Bieber!

Nude celebrities!

Nude celebrities!

Laughing!

Laughing! Lots of laughing!

Then again, I’m probably just jealous.

But seriously

It’s easy to make fun of TVA, and they deserve some credit for trying new things, but what’s unfortunate is that most of these gimmicks are commonplace on TV news these days, as pressure to increase ratings leads to silliness to attract eyeballs.

And yet with all these discussion panels and giant touchscreens, it seems TV news outlets have missed the big lesson that has come out of the media revolution: time is a commodity that is becoming more and more precious. They need to start respecting the fact that we don’t have as much time as we used to, and we’re much less tolerant of things that waste it.

We still watch good TV dramas because they put in the effort. But TV news doesn’t seem to have the budget, or doesn’t have the will, to put in a similar effort. So rather than well-edited, informative and engaging news stories, we have live hits, panel discussions and grown men playing with touchscreens and we pretend it’s a good thing that the industry is headed in this direction just because it’s different.

UPDATE (Sept. 3): What a difference a day makes. Day 2 of this new format involved an almost complete reversal. No props, much less laughing, less playing with the touch screen, and a lot less interaction from the panel. It looked a lot more like a traditional newscast. Clearly TVA was watching the reaction and responding to it.

Métro’s Stéphane Morneau reviewed the first night, as did Le Soleil’s Richard Therrien and La Presse’s Marc Cassivi, all very negatively. Critics of Night 2 were much less negative. And on Saturday, a more where-do-we-go-now piece from La Presse’s Hugo Dumas.

5 thoughts on “How the new TVA Nouvelles saved journalism

  1. Steve

    They have to get smarter & faster
    and involve the audience much more.
    This is a start. Soon they’ll try to out do each other as they imitate the best the other has to offer.

    Reply
  2. Joey Jo-Jo

    And why not a traditionnal, boring newscast? Like the old days. Actual news, nothing else. They could label it as “vintage”. Instant nostalgia. It would work.
    Television news these days look a lot like those tv series directed at teenagers, where they try to use “cool words” that they think teens use nowadays, and end up looking silly and out of touch. It’s the “Watatatowisation” of the news broadcast. If I want to read tweets or know what people think about an event, or read a detailed analysis, or vote in a poll, I’ll go online, where I am pretty much all day. Why would I open the TV to watch a touch screen when I have one here, sitting on my lap? Television should not try to be internet because they’re something that does a good job at it already, and it’s called the internet.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      And why not a traditionnal, boring newscast? Like the old days. Actual news, nothing else. They could label it as “vintage”. Instant nostalgia. It would work.

      Except people wouldn’t watch it. And a newscast, particularly one from a commercial TV network, that isn’t watched by anyone serves no purpose.

      Reply

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