By Tijjani Muhammad Musa
NEWSDAILYNIGERIA– In broadcast media, one of the criteria for measuring the state of seriousness as well as quality of a broadcast station be it radio or television is how the newscast of such a station is handled.
It might form only a small percentage of a station’s total airtime for the day’s broadcast, perhaps just 5-10℅, yet it is usually what most elites as well as the middle class of society would use as the benchmark for gauging a station’s level of competence as a media outfit.
Based on this consideration, most radio and television stations place great emphasis on who they employ and what unique talents they allow as their newscasters. Thereafter they would subject them to rigorous training, both inhouse as well via seminars, workshops, conferences, lectures and so on.
Thus when it is news time, be it the short version news bits type or the 7am FRCN morning news, 10am Cool/Wazobia News, 12 noon Radio Kano News, 4pm AIT News, 7pm Freedom News or 9pm NTA News etc, it is usually a “panic period” time.
All news editors, casters and their stations would be on edge, until the newscast is successfully executed. They would stay glued to their frequencies, making sure that everything is in place and the best minds, talents and hands of the stations are on deck.
Sadly, the story has completely changed today. Not only do you get to hear some of the most embarrassing news bulletin, you also get to hear fake news and or hate speech forming part of the newscast, from a station that ought to know better what to allow get aired on its frequency.
Among some of the disgusting things you now come across in newscasts is the issue of correct pronunciations of certain words, names, places, phenomena and so on. Besides not being delivered most appropriately, many tend to want to read news in slangs or what is referred to as “funé” (American accent)
Can you simply imagine that? At the end of the day, not only do the whole exercise of news gathering, reporting, writing, editing, scheduling, rehearsing and casting gets wasted, the listening public’s quest for information about happenings around the world, casted in clear, audible, unambiguous terms also gets frustrated.
Way back then, what we use to do during our days as On-Air-Personalities (OAP) or Announcers-on-Duty, whenever we were about cast the News in Brief or the full Global Bulletin, we would rehearse severally, therein come across difficult words, names of persons, places and things.
We would then ask natives of the area across Nigeria from which the names come from, to tell us how such names are correctly pronounced or ask our senior colleagues with newscasting experiences to tell us how to pronounce names or words that are foreign in origin.
Alternatively, we check readily available dictionaries to find out how certain English words are pronounced, quickly rehearse and master how to read them out to the listening public, then go on the radio frequency with the newscast, much to the appreciations of all. News was not a joking matter nor child’s play.
But today, the whole newscast thing has turned into a charade. Rather than news being the backbone of a serious radio or television station, they even have music playing in the background as an innovative version of newscasting. News, on a musical background? SMH 🙁
And again in our days, those who cast news are not every Tom, Dick and Harry. Just because you’re part of the production/presentation crew of a media house does not qualify you as one. You’ve got to have it in you, something rare, unique and purposeful. Those who didn’t have ‘newscastability’ use to envy and respect those who did.
Newscasting requires special talent, even among broadcasters. Only truly gifted people, males or females with eloquent spoken language, not written language get recruited to cast news for a station. They are sometimes remunerated differently from the rest of the programming team.
Newscasters might not necessarily be excellent with their grammar, so they don’t even get involved with the production of the information to be disseminated. All they do is give life to the newsroom production efforts by putting their voices to the final news texts. It is the foremost image maker of any broadcast media.
And they become household names just for doing that. But now, newscasting has become so bastardized, it is an ear sore listening to most newscasts on several, if not all the over seventeen (17) radio stations in Kano. This is not to mention the TV stations too. I heard same goes for other states.
As a professional, sometimes you can only shake your head in pity at how terrible things have turned out to be for journalism and broadcast media that scheduled to cast news. They seem helpless towards addressing the disgraceful outings they call their news casts.
Clearly, there is a need to do something about it, before it is too late to reign back the recklessness newscasting is now subjected to in our broadcast media outfits.
(c)2018 Tijjani M. M./DWi/SWS.Comms
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