Category Archives: TV News

Could the I-Ball grenade camera be the next frontier in war reporting?

The I-Ball

The I-Ball

camera capable of being fired from a grenade launcher is currently being developed for the Ministry of Defence.

But could it also be the next step for war reporters?

In the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, we have seen an increasing desire to be ‘in the thick of the action’.

We, the viewers, no longer want reported action; we want to be virtually there as it happens.

We got used to seeing Ben Brown in his flak-jacket and 3-day-stubble crouching in holes in the desert or Rageh Omaar doing a piece to camera as missiles exploded into masonry above his head.

Or even, as the BBC memorably showed us at the outbreak of the Iraq conflict, real-time thermal images of Baghdad as US missiles screamed towards the city in the first wave of ‘shock and awe’.

Where can war reporting go from now?

I-Ball

Imagine, then, the possibilities of a device that can take you even closer to that action.

The I-Ball could provide that opportunity.

It is a small, round camera that transmits high-quality pictures from the moment it is released – either by grenade launcher or simply thrown into a room.

It is even designed to compensate for rolling and tumbling to give soldiers a clear idea of who or what is awaiting them.

Clearly this technology isn’t going to be cheap enough initally. But then again, neither were mobile phones twenty years ago…..

Voyeurism

With a live feed from a camera like the I-Ball, we, the viewers, could be finding out what is around the corner at the exact same moment as troops on the ground.

Voyeuristic? Certainly. Exciting? Undeniably.

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UPDATE: Children in Need newsreaders’ dance

And here is this year’s effort:

BBC Newsreaders’ dance 2008

Who knew Ben Brown had been hiding quite such a luxurious chest rug under that flak-jacket all these years?

For more see Oh dear. It’s the Children in Need newsreaders’ dance

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Oh dear. It’s the Children in Need newsreaders’ dance

If you’ve never wanted to see Jeremy Vine in fishnet stockings or Andrew Marr in hotpants (and I believe that includes most of the sane population), look away now:

A BBC Newsreaders’ Classic from 2002

Children in Need’s annual BBC telethon, hosted by Sir Terry Wogan, is in full swing.

That means that, shortly, the BBC Newsreaders will be too.

Among the most eagerly anticipated/dreaded of the celebrity sketches that make up the seven-hour televised appeal show is the Newsreaders’ Dance.

Traditionally, the usually straight-laced faces of BBC News don tights, sequins and spandex to arythmically gyrate in an effort to raise donations.

Sex Appeal

With the arrival of Natasha Kaplinksy and the rise of the so-called ‘autocuties’, the newsreaders’ dance took on a slightly sexier theme.

As well as the Bond sketch above, we’ve had Chicago (think Fiona Bruce in a corset) and a tribute to Bananarama.

This year though promises less flesh and more sparkles.

According to The Mail on Sunday, the skit will be Abba-themed in honour of the year’s blockbuster Mamma Mia!

Reaction

Reaction on the paper’s website has been mixed.

Some are looking forward to the annual ‘musical’ interlude.

M T Hatcher from Canley, West Midlands said:

You have to give credit to the newsreaders. Every year they make themselves look like utter clowns for the benefit of others. If only more people were as charitable and selflessly spirited as these people.

Others,though, think there are more useful ways the stars could get involved.

Andrew Paton from Bearsden in Glasgow commented:

Oh God!!! it’s that time of year again….Please girls just donate some of your huge salaries to the kids and put it away……

 

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US Election: CNN coverage – the best bit

Turns out I missed the best bit of CNN’s election coverage.

Apparently they had a hologram in the studio too!

This article from TechCrunch has more.

That’s really upping the stakes for Peter Snow’s Swingometer.

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US Election: CNN gets my vote

CNN easily has the most amusing live election coverage I have ever seen.

In the last hour they’ve shown correspondent Greg Rees’s rap videos for each candidate (“You say Joe, I say Biden”).

Not to mention a special report from a town called Obama in Japan which is supporting…McCain?

Erm, no, of course not. The town even has a theme tune for the election: “Obama, number one”

If only British elections were this much fun.

The coverage is really engaging and wide-ranging though.

As a Brit, I find the packages that go behind the rituals of US Elections really useful and interesting.

And it’s fast-moving and really engaging.

The only thing I would say is that you would be hard-pressed to know that John McCain was even running.

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Sloane Ranger Danger for Channel 4

Oh dear.

Who have Channel 4 News got in for this evening’s final segment?

Peter York, author of “Cooler, Faster, More Expensive: The Return of the Sloane Ranger.”

A man so sloaney he is actually flirting with the camera beneath his immaculate (and spectacularly anti-gravitational) coiffure.

I’m afraid that this is Channel 4 at its worst.

To explain: ostensibly, this is a light final segment suggesting that class could be the real reason behind the whole ‘Osborne-Rothschild-Mandelson-I can’t even begin to spell it’ yacht furore.

(Now there are 2 words you don’t get to use together every day.)

However, it’s not coming across as light and fun.

In fact, it is verging on sneering inverse snobbery.

It’s all in the presentation

Now, let’s get this straight: I like light items. I am also generally quite a fan of Channel 4 News; it is informative, engagingly-presented and extremely fair.

I also think that Channel 4’s underlying point probably is right; Nat Rothschild presumably is a bit pissed off that his Corfu gatherings have provided ammunition for the latest inter-party bickering.

But the presentation of it had the bitter taste of a class-swipe

Firstly, there is the lazy cliched picture of George Osborne and Nathaniel Rothschild in top hats.

Then the reference to exclusive Oxford dining society, The Bullingdon Club, and a comparison between their respective public schools.

And to top (hat) it all: the revelation that George Osborne’s nickname was ‘Oik’.

It was a great unique angle but Channel 4 needs to beware appearing to wage a classist war themselves.

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Help! I’m in love with Robert Peston

Robert broods on an impending crisis

Not, I hasten to add, in the Observer sense. This is pure, unadulterated journalism love.

How does he do it? As one friend of mine put it today ‘Surely the man can’t sleep?’

He is so often on our screens/airwaves that the Beeb should seriously consider renaming it the ‘Pes-Ten O’Clock News’. Or give him his own percentage of the licence fee. Or his own channel.

His blog posts (and there are often a few every day) are long, detailed, interesting and, most importantly, intelligible to the non-City animals amongst us.

Oh and, according to some of today’s papers, singlehandedly capable of creating financial meltdown.

Which leads us to an interesting situation: by doing his job incredibly effectively, is he now actually driving changes in the markets on which he is reporting? Has he got his finger so firmly on the pulse that he is now stopping the blood flow?

It is an interesting, but as far as I can see, near insoluble conundrum. If he stops breaking these stories he will, necessarily, be failing in his job as a journalist.

If he continues, could he really trigger economic Armageddon?

Who can say?

But, for my part, he can bring on the end of the monetary world. He’ll do it intelligibly and excitably.

And you can bet your bottom dollar (literally) that he’ll have blogged it first.

Robert, you had me at ‘Northern Rock’…….

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