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2.2 The role of technology in the broadcast news industry

Taylor's introductory comments

Taylor starts with some introductory comments. Notice the informal style he uses because this is essentially a script for a talk to a colloquium. Notice also the other issue that I raised earlier, that Taylor is assuming that his listeners are familiar with terms such as ITN, ENG and video servers. I shall explain terms like these as we go through the paper. I have highlighted in bold terms which I explain or discuss further in following notes.

From Newsreels To Real News

E.V. Taylor, 1995, Institution of Electrical Engineers

Prompted partly by the fact that ITN has just celebrated its 40th anniversary I would like to start by briefly reviewing some of the historical landmarks in news broadcasting that were driven by past technological development.

With this review as a reference I hope I can convince you of the enormous importance of the new technological developments you will hear about today. Make no mistake; for the TV news business these developments are going to create a revolution even greater than that caused by ENG in the late 70s/early 80s – and those of us who lived through that particular revolution still bear some of the scars. So when, very shortly, we have to face the realities of video servers, digital compression and digital tapeless integrated newsrooms – make sure your seat belt is pulled nice and tight! We will all need to keep our nerve as I suspect it will be a bumpy ride.

(Taylor, 1995)

ITN stands for Independent Television News. To quote from the ITN website (ITN, 2005), 'ITN is one of the largest news organisations in the world, producing news and factual programmes for television, radio and new media platforms, both in Britain and overseas. ITN was founded in 1955, as an independent organisation owned by ITV companies producing news programmes for national broadcast on ITV.'

ENG is an abbreviation of Electronic News Gathering. It is the process of recording sound and images electronically, originally as analogue signals on magnetic tapes (video and audio tapes), and conveying them back to the newsrooms in an electronic format; this could be done by physically transporting the tapes or sending the electronic signals over communications network. ENG is here contrasted with the previous use of film.

Video servers, digital compression and digital tapeless integrated newsrooms. Video servers are computers with large storage capacity (large hard disks or sets of hard disks) used to store and retrieve compressed digital video files. News editors in the 'digital tapeless newsroom' will be working on computers that interface with the server.