I watch CNN International often and as a viewer there are several basic presenting/reporting issues that I wish anchorpeople, reporters, guests and meteorologists of CNN and other (news) channels would be aware of, so here is my advice to people who get in front of news channel/new bulletin cameras (and in some instances the program makers):
Stop throwing the term “Breaking News” around like confetti!
Not everything that happens is so important that it warrants the use of the term Breaking News. By using the term more often than you should, it loses its meaning to your viewers.
I assume I don’t have to explain why.
Don’t suggest that the death of women and children is worse than the death of men!
Few people, young or old, male or female, want to die and nobody wants to lose a loved one, so avoid saying things like “100 people died including 30 women and children”. It’s misandric and above all it’s callous!
Don’t say uh repeatedly.
Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Michael Holmes and Amara Walker say uh very frequently. It’s not just annoying, it’s amateurish.
Don’t use (other) fillers like “you know” or “I mean”.
Guests presumably use fillers because they’re nervous, but people who are on TV regularly should know better than to use fillers.
Don’t overrate the importance of live-reporting.
Few anchor people are good at asking reporters questions live and few reporters are good at responding to questions live. If the reporting is pre-recorded then both parties have the chance to prepare better. The chance that the situation will change before the pre-recorded report is broadcasted is small enough to reserve live broadcasts for true “breaking news” situations, which occur much less frequently than news channels suggest!
Do not wear make-up, glasses, jewelry or clothes that stand(s) out so much that it distracts viewers.
Don’t gesture wildly, it’s distracting.
Don’t speak too fast.
There are a lot of people on CNN (including anchorpeople) who speak too fast. While I have no problem understanding people who speak fast, I’m certain plenty of people cannot understand fast speech properly.
Don’t overrate the importance of reporting on location.
Reporting on location means that the reporter and his or her equipment are exposed to noise from humans, airplanes, dogs or the wind and in some instances unwanted visitors (e.g. people who jump into view), while the sight of a street, a court house, the White House or another building adds nothing to the report whatsoever.
Don’t try to report while standing in front of a noisy crowd.
During events that draw (large) crowds (e.g. political rallies, sport games) reporters’ speech is often drowned out by the noise of crowds and/or music. My advice to reporters is simple: if you really want or need to report on location, then at least be so smart as to steer clear of crowds. 🙂
CNN people who tend to scream a lot include: Kate Balduoan, Michael Smerconish and Richard Quest. It’s unnecessary and annoying.