TV vs. print — same stories, different ways of telling them

Posted: February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand — one of the country’s largest cities — early this morning.  Both TV and print reporters were all over the story, but the way in which they retold it were slightly different.

The news of the devastating earthquake was one of the top stories on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this morning.  While the network did not have a correspondent on the scene, it had a reporter in its New York bureau bring viewers up-to-speed with the situation — and it appeared to get significant help in its coverage from news agencies that had correspondents in place at the sight of the earthquake.

The ABC report presented the most important factual information in its report, but it seemed to be more interested in showing videos and playing soundbites than presenting anything beyond the basic facts.

By contrast, an Associated Press report — with a dateline of Christchurch — presented much more specific factual information than the ABC report.  It gave more details on some of the people who were affected by the earthquake and gave a broader account of how the situation unfolded.

What the AP report did not do as well as the ABC report, however, was appeal to people’s emotions.

The ABC report, with devastating images of the earthquake’s wreckage and sound bites from a slew of people on the scene, definitely galvanized its audience much more than the AP report did.  But the AP report better informed its audience of the facts from the scene.

This is a major difference in how print and TV reports are presented.  TV reports are more fixated on images and soundbites, while print reports on more interested in presenting the most facts in a story.



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