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News Commentary

by LConners

KMOV.com

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 10:25 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 3:00 PM

From time to time, I'm asked about a commentary that I did on the news. The truth is ... I can't remember the last time that I did a commentary.

What happens is sometimes the audience uses the term commentary when they are in fact referring to a news story. For instance, someone says, "I was interested in that commentary you did on the train wreck."

WISE MEN TALK BECAUSE THEY HAVE
SOMETHING TO SAY ... FOOLS, BECAUSE
THEY HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING.
(PLATO)


Plato's quote is a guide for these blogs. I leave it to the reader to decide which applies.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


From time to time, I'm asked about a commentary that I did on the news. The truth is ... I can't remember the last time that I did a commentary.

What happens is sometimes the audience uses the term commentary when they are in fact referring to a news story. For instance, someone says, "I was interested in that commentary you did on the train wreck."

There are some big differences between a news story and a commentary. First, in the news story, there should not be a reporter's opinion ... certainly, not taking sides on an issue within the story.

In a News Commentary .. several things should happen. First, a commentary should be labeled by voice and/or graphics. For instance on a radio commentary ... the anchor leading into the commentary should state: Here's Joe Smith's commentary on the election. Also, Joe Smith should state words like:
in this reporter's opinion. In tv, all of those can apply and during the length of Joe Smith's presentation .. the word: Commentary ... should be displayed.

A News Commentary usually is inside a newscast .. but the most important point is: it should be labeled .. so it can not be confused with factual news content.

There are times when the line is not so clear. For instance, maybe a sports reporter says something like: The umps might need better glasses. That is a comment, but generally falls shy of needing a full disclosure and label; however, if the sports reporter goes on at length about his view .. then, the Commentary label should be applied.

Another point to keep in mind ... there is a difference between a News Commentary and an Editorial.

The Editorial is the view of management, and it falls outside news content. The conclusion will invite those with opposing views to contact the station so they can present their side. If there is a response, those disagreeing with the management position must be afforded the same amount of time ... at a like time. In other words .. maybe the Editorial ran about 5:28PM .. just before the CBS Evening News. The opposing view can not be aired at 5:28AM. It must have a chance to reach the same audience.

All of these are different from a "Soapbox" provided the public. Often this is just an open forum for citizens to express views on a subject of choice. The station is going to make an effort to make sure there is balance .. if there are opposing views.

In the future, I'll discuss other news issues.

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