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Do Mobile TV Cameras Help or Hurt Local News?

Richard Huff takes an interesting look at the use of mobile cameras at New York’s local stations in the New York Daily News today. Although the stations each bill their technology as “exclusive,” Huff concludes the coverage rarely looks unique, and can even be dangerous:

Trouble is, for the most part the reports are routine and not much different than the typical hand-held story anyone else does.

For instance, last week [WCBS reporter] Mark Morgan used the “exclusive” Mobile 2 technology to report on the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park. Morgan’s report was, in fact, no different than any of those done every day by [WNYW]’s John Huddy or [WABC]’s N.J. Burkett or others who have been stationed there regularly. For crying out loud, Morgan wasn’t mobile at all. He was, thankfully, stationary.

In most of the other reports, having a correspondent drive and talk adds danger to the equation. As noted here previously, drivers have stopped looking at the camera so much while wheeling the car, but it still occasionally happens.

On Thursday morning, Jay Dow was talking on air from Mobile 2 while merging with traffic to get onto the George Washington Bridge. Think about your own driving abilities while merging into traffic. Now add a TV camera.

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