Thursday, July 14, 2011

News from above

Today, our journalism class headed to SkyTV, one of the United Kingdom’s growing market of commercial television networks. With Rob Kirk, editorial development manager for Sky News as our guide, we got a look around the news broadcasting center at SkyTV.

Sky's 24-7 news broadcasting operation is a study in constant motion. The combination newsroom/set is all housed where observers can watch from the floor above, makintg it easy to see all the different divisions and desks working to make sure the news goes out throughout the day. Sky News is divided into sections that cover everything from entertainment to sports to business and general news and also includes support personnel who work to produce and edit that news as well as those who make sure the equipment stays in operation. For example, text producers sitting in front of several television screens write and edit the text that scrolls across the bottom of viewers’ TV screens, condensing entire stories into in eight to nine words.

Kirk said broadcast news in the United Kingdom is heavily regulated (by the UK’s Office of Communication, called Ofcom) and all journalists working in broadcast have to work within those regulations. Ofcom controls what news programming can be on the air at certain times of the day. The rules are designed to protect younger audiences from seeing inappropriate or more graphic materials. This regulations, however, do not apply to any of the online world, which Kirk said can cause chaos for those who want to maintain responsible web sites.

Almost every person working in SkyTV is a journalist. They make full use of all social media to keep on top of the news. And, Kirk said, the SkyTV news team works to be innovative and competitive in broadcasting news. They have been the top news channel in the UK for eight out of the last nine years, he said, and they work constantly to find new and better ways to communicate effectively.

We also found out today SkyTV personnel get specialized training in such things going out into hostile environments – war zones like Iraq, Libya -- to get the story.

You can see differences between how broadcast journalists in the United States and in the United Kingdom practice their craft. The news center was busy but lively and you could watch as news moved from one place to the next and then to the television sets of thousands of subscribers throughout the UK.

Fun facts:
            -- Sky news is currently the only high definition news station in the UK.
            -- They have the second biggest video wall of any television newsroom at 42 meters square.
            -- Sky TV has been around for 22 years. They began with four channels and now offer 450.
            -- They launched an iPad app for Sky news in April
            -- There are more than 650 television and radio channels on the Sky platform.
            -- Sky news’ biggest competition is the BBC.
            -- It is a commercial operation which makes the majority of its profit from selling subscription packages throughout the UK.

Have a look and see for yourself this incredible news station at
                                                                -- By Keisha Williams 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's amazing that I've never heard of SkyTV, yet BBC is so huge in the US. I also had no idea that "text producers"are the roles that type the text in the crawls we see on tv. I once knew of an english teacher that did that for a station some time ago.