Thursday, July 24, 2008

CNN ticker people, you suck

A complaint just e-mailed to CNN:

CNN and staffers,

I am e-mailing to ask what happened to the scrolling ticker at the bottom. Not long ago, it was a good source to get the news of the day; now, it's merely a headline regurgitator, devoid of context and greater meaning.

Instead of getting a sense of the news, I now get a snippet. Instead of getting the five W's, I now get two - maybe.

I expect better from CNN. While I dearly hope I'm wrong, this new format comes off as a ham-handed way to fit more words on the screen at once.

Unfortunately, your online video archives don't include the scrolling overlay, so I cannot provide specifics. But clearly, the tone of the ticker has changed.

You should be elevating our discourse, not dumbing it down. Yet that's precisely what has happened, both in terms of content and execution.

Each sentence is barely more than a subject, verb and maybe a few modifiers. And that's when the whole word is written out; it seems that in this new format, every word that can possibly be shortened will be. "Weekend" becomes "wknd;" "attorney general" is reduced to "atty gen." Please leave the text-message speak for the kids.

Let's take a current event and use it to illustrate the differences: Sen. Obama's speech in Berlin, for instance.

What I could have expected to read on the old version of the ticker: "Barack Obama continues overseas tour with speech in Berlin today on mending fences with allies."

What I can expect to read on the current version of the ticker: "Obama to speak in Berlin tdy."

Please go back to the old way. From my perspective, all you manage to do is cycle through the full roster of headlines more quickly; once upon a time, I would read an item of interest and be disappointed when it got interrupted by a commercial break. I'd wait around until the next segment, then wait further until I could read the conclusion of the brief.

Now, you simply encourage me to pick up the remote that much faster.

This new version encompasses the worst aspect of television news: Squeezing the most into the least and if major details happen to get left out, oh well.

No one has an attention span longer than two minutes anyway, right?

Wrong. I expect better and, if CNN cannot (or chooses not to) provide that, I'll find other means of getting my news.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd mail them a letter; it'd carry more weight than an email.