HELP ME WOLF, YOU'RE MY ONLY HOPE
CNN GOES STAR WARS
Star Wars met election coverage on CNN last night; to what end I cannot say, but it kinda looked cool.
For television news organizations election night is about more than pronouncing the winners of various races. It's about one very serious buzzword in our business, "showcasing."
Every exec knows people will be watching who might not normally watch your station. The hope is, that you so impress those nontraditional viewers that they will become repeat customers.
So everybody rolls out super sets, grand graphics, and in the case of CNN last night, Star Wars technology.
Who could forget in the early minutes of Star Wars Episode IV (the first one) a troubled Princess Leah recording a holographic message via R2-D2? "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
So CNN's big gimmick last night was to have holograms speaking live with Wolf Blitzer. It worked! The video is above if you want to see for yourself. Correspondent Jessica Yellin reporting live via holla-cam.
Before you expect to soon see me talking to any holograms at Today's TMJ4, consider this was done at ridiculous cost and effort. Yellin says in her report, the set-up took 3 weeks, and occupied 35 cameras for that single live shot. We might not have 35 cameras in our entire newsroom! So don't look for holograms coming to a newscast near you.
Here's the question, and Susan put it well when we discussed it on the air, "Why?" There's no journalistic reason to have done that, but as I stated above, even on election night good journalism is not the only driving force in the decision making process. You do it to test new technology. You do it to create a buzz before your coverage. You do it to be talked about after your coverage. And you do it... just 'cause you can.