Year of the Snake


In TV parlance, the term “font” is often used to describe the on-screen titles that accompany graphics during a newscast. In my relatively brief stint in TV news, there’d by someone in the control room assigned to put the titles together, usually following a producer’s or writer’s instructions. It’s kind of an important job, because mistakes show up prominently on viewers’ screens and tend to leave the impression that the people putting together the newscast are rushed, careless, or incompetent. Above is a recent example from what I still habitually call our best local TV news show.

My understanding is that the job of doing the fonts has been handed to the writers, who are also asked to do other stuff–like video editing–that they didn’t used to do. It’s not that mistakes didn’t happen when more people were working on the shows; errors are part and parcel of trying to put out a pile of information on a tight deadline with fallible humans involved in the process. But in the era of smaller staffs and “working smarter, not harder,” the mistakes seem to happen more frequently. And if that’s the case–my observations are purely impressionistic, not backed up by any statistics–you have to think that as long as the shows pull their weight in the ratings and the ads are all sold, the people ultimately responsible for “Chinses New Year Parade” don’t really care too much about what shows up on the screen.

2 Replies to “Year of the Snake”

  1. A friend of mine was a quality control advisor at a Chevrolet dealership. He was let go because he was not a “revenue producer”.

  2. Hey, Rob: Yeah–always hard for people in charge of “quality control” to justify their existence in dollars-and-cents terms. Shockingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, I see the same thing happening in our highly revered public radio, where stuff is aired and published without effective “quality control” (i.e., editing). Why? Editors and writers (and experience) cost money.

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