Day Fourty-Six – Oh, Vancouver

15 02 2010

Canada has finally won Gold on home soil, taking the pressure off most other athletes to break a sad streak.

That’s the highlight of the events so far. Everything else hasn’t been so rosy.

I want to enjoy the Olympics, though the broadcasters make it anything but easy.

Things clearly went beyond awful for the Games when a young Georgian Olympian died during a trial run. What’s disgusting about that entire ordeal is the media’s willingness to show the entire tragedy on the Evening News. The CTV News anchor went as far to say that it’s “necessary to show the footage in order to tell the story”.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. People don’t need to see a young man running into a poll in order to visualize it. Still, whether to spike ratings or simply satisfy a morbid curiosity, the footage was shown all over the place. I’ve managed to avoid it, knowing that it’s something I definitely do not want to see, and I don’t feel that I know any less than those who have seen it. It was a tragic event and out of respect for the family and fellow Olympians, the footage should have remained in the archives and not broadcast around the globe.

Less tragic, but still upsetting is the coverage of the Games thus far. The “Olympic Consortium” of networks seems to be dropping the ball in the coverage of the games. Whether it’s watching the MuchMusic crew do body-shots or “drop your shorts for beer” on live, national television, I couldn’t have been more embarrassed for my generation.

Aside from that, the Games themselves have been extremely hard to follow. The guide on my Rogers box lists five events taking place anywhere between 6pm and 2am. There’s no indication to what’s a live event and what’s pre-recorded. Nor any indication to what I may be missing on other networks. I’m made to guess what’s happening and when it happened.

My TSN app, which I love, on my iPhone has been pushing me to download the CTV Vancouver Olympics app. I did, hoping it would help me follow the goings on at the Olympics. Sadly, it’s completely useless. It tells me what events are coming up for the day, but not any information on when or on what network. There’s no medal count, either, which you would believe to be the first thing you’d have on an Olympic app.

I’ve been forced to “gear up” for the Olympics for the past 3 years and now that it’s here, I couldn’t be more disappointed. I’m really trying to get excited, but it’s hard when I have to guess what’s on and what’s live. Plus, watching the same three commercials every fifteen minutes really doesn’t help matters.

I wish the Canadian Olympians luck, but the Canadian broadcasters really need to get their shit together.


Day Twenty-One – I Hate the Evening News

21 01 2010

I hate the Evening News.

This war between broadcasters and providers gets dirtier by the minute. CityTV just laid off a bunch of news people and they’ll surely blame the lack of funding. I would blame it on the lack of something new to offer. They have 4 hours of news per day, not including their morning shows. Is it all really necessary? Was there not a time when the news was no longer than a half-hour? If I wanted in-depth reporting, I’ll move to the net, the newspaper, the radio or the 24-hour news networks, like CNN.

It sucks that people had to lose their jobs over a political battle for cash, but there are things that can improve all networks news ratings and have them bring money in on their own.

1. “News Voice”

“Why fantastic bars may not be so fantastic – for your health.”

It’s hard to portray in writing, but for some reason, everyone on the news feels the need to randomly emphasize words.

CityTV has cut a bunch of jobs from the network, blaming the lack of funding to support their 4 hours of news shows.

It doesn’t add any drama.

It doesn’t add any clarity.

It’s just annoying.

I doubt they talk to their friends and family with such silly voices. Is it because they read in sections? I can watch something like Attack of the Show and they don’t seem to have any problem reading the prompter naturally. Still, there are worse problems than “news voice”.

2. Everything is going to kill me

“If it bleeds, it leads”

But if it coughs and aches, it takes up weeks of coverage. The panic caused every year by some new flu virus is sickening in itself. H1N1, Avian Flu, West Nile Virus, SARS or whatever the hell comes next; watching the news alone, you’d expect the bodies to begin piling up, but almost always less than a couple hundred country-wide contract whatever virus they’re selling this year.

According to the evening news, I have a 200% chance of dying from cancer. Everything I drink, eat and breathe is causing some type of cancer to grow inside me. They don’t seem to understand the concept of diminishing returns. If everything is going to kill me, why should I bother worrying about it?

Regardless, most cases come down to common sense. If I eat a bushel of tomatoes every evening, I will undoubtedly get sick with something, but they don’t tell you that until the last line in the report.

3. Exploitation without shame

Watching coverage of the devastation in Haiti, I’ve seen how sad some reporters could be. Shoving the microphone in the faces of people who just got the news that their family has died, asking “How does that make you feel?”

We don’t need the explanation. We don’t need to see such a private moment to understand that things are terrible in Haiti.

Have a little shame.

4. Blaming technology

If I smash into a pole because I was speeding on the highway, it’ll probably be blamed on my love for video games. Midnight Club doesn’t make me drive like an idiot. Grand Theft Auto doesn’t compel me to steal a car and beat hookers.

Not every 12 year-old is sexting. Most girls don’t have a phone good enough to do so and if they do, that’s easily manageable. You’ll notice when your bill has $300+ in MMS all to some guy’s number.

5. Spending an hour telling me 15 minutes worth of news

When I watch the news, I just want to know what’s going on without being forced to sit through melodrama. What happened where and why. That’s all I want. I don’t want to watch a recent widow crying. I don’t want to know that we all may die of something, that probably won’t even get near us, and watch a five minute video created by some kid who just learned to use After Effects on how it’ll attack my immune system.

I just want an update and to get on with my day.

I doubt that any of this extra padding is bringing in any more ratings than just reporting the news would.