By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
Previously: Lessons from the US election coverage
The overwhelming use of technology, with an amount of showmanship, was a trademark of the US TV networks’ coverage of the 2012 polls.
Veering away from its “hologram effect” in 2008, CNN lighted up the top of New York City’s Empire State Building in red and blue depending on which states went to Pres. Barack Obama or his challenger Mitt Romney.
NBC turned the skating rink at the Rockefeller Center into a giant map of the United States and colored it real time according to the count.
That’s not to mention the graphics, touch screens, and number-crunches that were used on election night.
It is just another incarnation of the progress that began when the networks first counted votes with computers in 1960, and when someone on TV first thought of lighting up maps into blue and red states to illustrate those results.
The US media also thought outside the box with interactive ways of enhancing the election night experience through the Internet.
And both politicians and the media made greater use of another interactive means–social media–in feeling the pulse of voters.
Filipino viewers will be looking for some of these new technologies in the coming 2013, and more so, the 2016 elections.
Not left behind
While the networks are surely mum on which they might use here, the experience of the 2010 elections shows there will be some novelties in store.
“The US-based networks were the ones who got it first, and who got it right,” said Cheryl Favila, ABS-CBN News Production head. “Of course, if you belong to an Asian country, and find that presentation impressive, you’d like to get that technology also.”
But budgets predictably limit the quality of technology local networks acquire, Favila noted. The technology may be similar but the software is simpler compared to those used by US networks.
For instance, ABS-CBN was offered a virtual set like the one used by the BBC. Favila said they opted for augmented reality which they felt would be more reliable and helpful to the network’s news presentation.
“It’s not really keeping in step, but I would say we also don’t want to be left behind, even if our capability is only limited,” she said.
Superior or not, the technologies are merely riveting ways of packaging data into easily-digestible information for viewers.