The other day I was paying bills. A local news station had reached the C Block: "Around the World." I found myself thinking, "Hmmm, they must've lost time
somewhere, the anchor is really speeding along..."
Television news brought sitting people, standing people (anchors and reporters) natural sound, sound bites and (hopefully) significant video into our lives. The intention, in part, was to provide stronger multi-media news than newspapers and radio. Many people soon preferred getting their news from a warm-blooded, talking human. I'm sure there are scores of reasons for this, including one of perhaps feeling less spooked by some of the more serious stories.
As for me, I often put on my local news while I'm doing something else in the same room. If I hear something that compels me to look up (ie -watch some video) I'll do so or make a mental note to scroll backwards when I can find my remote.
The other day I was paying bills. A local news station had reached the C Block: Around the World. I found myself thinking, "Hmmm, they must've lost time somewhere, the anchor is really speeding along!" My brain was jogging to keep up.
Then I heard: "Due to increased violence Dutch law enforcement plans to implement serious restrictions on popular marijuana cases". I'm not well-versed on the Dutch legal system, but I had a "huh?" moment and looked up hoping to see video or a still shot, which would help me better understand this one-liner news item.
The anchor had a "poker look" on his face; there was nothing else to see and he was already into the next Around the World story. It struck me that he either misread the word "cafes" as "cases" or perhaps there was a typo in the prompter. Either way I was much sadder for us than I was for the café frequenters.
Either Chris, an anchor I do like, was tearing along and was totally disconnected to what he said or maybe he didn't have prior knowledge of the story and trusted a typo, and/or someone was asleep at the switch and didn't click into his IFB to advise him that he needed to correct the noun. Even worse, and this is my fear, someone in the newsroom caught it and a decision was made not to clarify the erroneous information for the viewers.
As we speak- so does the anchor
If you listen to a random conversation we stutter, we stumble, we correct inadvertently mispronounced sounds and words. Sometimes we stop and clarify or repeat a word, a name, a phrase, all to assure that our listener easily "got" what we said.
As long as an anchor isn't gripped by a tendency to misspeak (and this can come from a multitude of reasons) an occasional flub is completely fine and normal. A tripped-up or misspeaking anchor just needs to do what the rest of us do - correct the word or information in whatever manner suits his/her personality and personal preference and move on.
When things don't go perfectly, or when they go wrong, it is an anchor's aplomb and ease with the medium that serves as a great measure of his/her abilities.
As a good anchor you will comfortably correct yourself. You may couch it as, "that's ___". Depending on the mistake and the nature of the story you may choose to correct it more carefully" "Let me assure you've gotten this correctly, that's ___". If the story is light, sometimes a little look may replace words as you correct what was screwed up."
Frankly, one of my personal frustrations is seeing terrific, professional, comfortably executed catches or corrections and having to tell a client "Geez that was great, you did that so well. I'd love to put that on your demo reel to show management how artfully you handle your job but if it's on your reel they may think you had nothing to show them that doesn't have you misspeaking."
And so these flubs are rarely on reels. I guess there's always the chance that one may occur during an audition and you can show your chops there.
Getting back to the "oral journalism" Amsterdam glitch - the news program returned after commercials for the next block. There was no clarification or correction offered. I checked on it after. It WAS cafes and not cases. Huge difference. I much rather would've preferred to hear "A few minutes ago we shared a story about gang violence in Amsterdam. We'd like to clarify that…"
Now THAT'S good anchoring!