TV News Editing

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    • 00:14

      ROBIN ELIAS: ITN is a news companythat provides video news and programs and contentfor lots of different broadcasters and platforms.ITB is the biggest commercial broadcaster in the UK.We provide news programs for themthree times a day every day of the year.

    • 00:36

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: I have a very key role in the connection between our newsroom and the broadcasters.So I talked a lot to ITV.Are they happy with our programs?Are the people that we're putting on screen right?Is the language we use right?Does it fit in with the general feel all ITV the channel?

    • 00:57

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: We divide our newsroom into program teams.So there's a program editor at lunchtime,there's a programming editor early evening,and there's a program editor for the news at 10.And they are fairly autonomous.They attend meetings though usually chaired by the editor,occasionally by me.But the editor, deputy editor, or director of news gathering.

    • 01:19

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: And they would set out-- they're sort of setting upthe store for the day.

    • 01:23

      SPEAKER 1: So we're leading, Robin,on immigration, which is a report from researchers at UCL.

    • 01:29

      ROBIN ELIAS: The three different program editorswill compile their draft running orders.They'll talk to the editor of the day about those.And they will brief their teams and the newsgathering teams about getting the content in thatwill make those stories in the way that they want them madeand having reporters in the right position

    • 01:51

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: to cover those stories.So the reporters and crews are wherethe stories are happening.

    • 01:56

      SPEAKER 2: So it's hard to take in, really.I think actually each day is, in some respects,has got worse because--

    • 02:03

      ROBIN ELIAS: What stories you put into a programand leave out is pretty key.

    • 02:09

      SPEAKER 1: Then we get to Washington.For the midterms results overnight.Obviously I was expected about [INAUDIBLE] for a [INAUDIBLE].So we'll do a little kind of graphic.

    • 02:17

      ROBIN ELIAS: And it can be, you know,do you have an uplifting story at the endof the program or a story that is just a wow story,or is it just sort of a continuation of the news?I firmly believe that in a half hour program,there should be light and shade.

    • 02:34

      SPEAKER 3: Finally, it's on Benedict Cumberbatch,which is he announced he was getting engaged today.But unusually for a celebrity to havemade the announcement via the Times engagement courts.So it's less about him getting engaged.It's not a piece about, oh, celebrity [INAUDIBLE]get their heart broken.It's more about the etiquette and--

    • 02:52

      ROBIN ELIAS: Traditional Values.

    • 02:53

      SPEAKER 2: The tradition, absolutely.[INTERPOSING VOICES]

    • 03:00

      ROBIN ELIAS: It shouldn't always beabout bad things that have happened-- big accidents,killings, murders, wars, et cetera.There's plenty going on in the world on a daily basis thatis in-- either insightful or heart warmingor uplifting or just bloody interesting.

    • 03:22

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: And having a balance in a program where you reflect lifeacross the UK and across the world in its totalityis pretty important.And I like to think the ITV news product does that.And that's what we set out to do.And I think we do that very well.

    • 03:39

      SPEAKER 1: Dreadful story in Birmingham.A mother's two babies have died after she went into laborin her flat and emergency service couldn'tget into the flat to help deliver the baby. [INAUDIBLE]but that she's in a coma.She doesn't know her babies have died.Ben Chapman's just done a very powerful interviewwith her sister talking about how terrible

    • 03:59

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: it was that no one was able to get to help her,that the emergency access system that should've been therewasn't there.They think that's resulted in the baby's deaths.So we'll see legally what-- got to be a bit careful with that.

    • 04:10

      ROBIN ELIAS: But she's identifiedand everything is-- so no problem over principlesof accuracy, accessibility, usinglanguage that people can understand,balance between political partiesand two sides of any story, fairness,treating people properly, and being responsible.

    • 04:31

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: Now that is important, probably asimportant at any time in my careeras a local newspaper report where you're dealing and comingface to face with people who are in the newsright through to now when we're dealing with big cabinetgovernment decisions, international affairs,

    • 04:51

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: conflicts, et cetera.The principles remain the same.

    • 04:55

      SPEAKER 3: We're going [INAUDIBLE] a little bitabout Iraq [INAUDIBLE].Poland's in Baghdad.He's still [INAUDIBLE] time [INAUDIBLE] this morning,which is confirmation that some British troops will go backinto Baghdad in an advisory role,helping things like combating IEDs, et cetera.

    • 05:15

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: So to me, it feels like it works better [INAUDIBLE]

    • 05:18

      ROBIN ELIAS: Yeah, no, me too.Because once' you've said here's the-- thisis how it might be intepreted.But what's the truth of that?News broadcasting has changed massively over 30 years.And when I joined, in lots of ways,it was easier in that most of the stuff we used

    • 05:39

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: was stuff that our camera crews would shootor from respectable agencies.So there was a certain certainty and authority about the contentwe were dealing with.Now, content comes from everywhere.There's much, much more of it, a Lot of it,maybe even the majority, not shot

    • 05:59

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: by professional news cameras.And so authenticating or judging materialthat comes for members of the public or news organizations wemight not have heard of or even existed two years agomeans the selection of news and having news that is credible

    • 06:21

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: is a much tougher job now.Because our options are so much broader.Another big change, I would say, is in the audience expectation.With the proliferation of news channelsand crucially internet and mobile phonesthat bring constant updates to peoplemeans that the audience we're addressing at 10 o'clock

    • 06:44

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: at night, our flagship program, it'sa much better informed audience than it was even 10 years agowhen people would think, I wonder what's happened today?Let's watch the 10 o'clock news.And I think the challenge for me as a sortof conventional broadcaster is that weare trying to convince a young generation that have access

    • 07:07

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: to all this content at any time of the day or nightthat there is still merit in watching a half hour newsprogram at a time that actually might not suit them terriblybecause they get more from it.I believe they do get more from it.But actually, to a younger audiencethat also wants to pick and choose the sort of news

    • 07:28

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: and the type of stories to follow,it's a much bigger sell for us.

    • 07:32

      SPEAKER 1: We're just going to do a little underlay on newsthat Benedict Cumberbatch has announced--

    • 07:36

      ROBIN ELIAS: But there are also a greater responsibility on usto go to sources that we trust.We use contacts and people who usethe internet to find stories.But we know people that we trust very much in how they do it.And sometimes, we're, if you like, traveling blind.

    • 07:57

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: And that means a lot more safety checks and sort of reallyintegrity to find that we can trust it as a sourceand where we-- where necessary-- we're not sure,making clear to the view that this is unsourced material.I think the news will continue to be more and more

    • 08:20

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: diverse from different sources.And it'll become even faster.I mean, we get stuff in much fasterthan we did five years ago.And feeding by the internet now meanswe can do it much cheaper, but also instantaneous.And there's hardly a place in the worldnow where if there's a story and we get the right personwith the right equipment, we can't get pictures

    • 08:41

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: back almost instantaneous.So that calls for quicker decision making, more decisivejudgments, and I'd say that makes ita pretty exciting prospect too.

    • 08:55

      SPEAKER 1: We're doing a disco on the pregnancy story.This is a court case today, a quite interesting court case,where a council acting on behalf of the child in their careare trying to claim a criminal negligencecase against the mother of that childbecause she drank excessively while shewas pregnant with the child.

    • 09:13

      ROBIN ELIAS: Anything we do we have to be able to justify.So looking up procedures of revisiting storieswhere people challenge us on it so that weare very confident that the reporter has goneabout his or her job properly, has taken proper notesthat we've recorded things when necessary,that people we're interviewing knows what

    • 09:35

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: their statements and their testimoniesgoing-- how it's going to be used, all those things wehave to be pretty short about.I like to think that that is in the instinct, the DNA,of everything we do.It's part of our culture to double check and befair and accurate and balanced in what we do.

    • 09:57

      SPEAKER 1: There's a lot of concernfrom people like the British Pregnancy Advisory Servicewho are concerned that this could--I stress could-- but could pave the way to criminalizingin the future mothers who drink.Could that mean criminalizing mothers who smoke,mothers who take medication that they need for conditionslike epilepsy or stress?If the medication harms the child, what's the kind of-- you

    • 10:18

      SPEAKER 1 [continued]: know, albeit the top [INAUDIBLE].

    • 10:20

      ROBIN ELIAS: We've got both sides of that story, yeah?

    • 10:22

      SPEAKER 1: Yeah, we go both sides.We've got the lawyer for the counciland then the British Pregnancy Advisory Serviceare in the studio.

    • 10:30

      ROBIN ELIAS: That's good, yeah.Good story.It's a demanding job.And even when you're not at work, at whatever levelyou have a responsibility for keeping tuned into whatis happening in the world.I will say journalists certainly at my levelknow very little about an awful lot of things.And we have experts that know a great deal about a few things.

    • 10:53

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: And that is not a bad combination to have.So you've got to have stamina and engagement.You've got to be interested in developments.I think a human quality you need is curiosity.You've got to be interested.You've got to be quite broad minded, I think,and not too judgmental.

    • 11:13

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: And you've got to have an ethos thatis to be fair to people-- an ability to cut through politicsand sometimes a deed of technical complexity.To be able to tell a clear and balanced storyis a pretty big quality, important quality too.

    • 11:35

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: I still nearly every night when I get home I'll, watch newsat 10:00.And I still take pride in the standard,the quality of that product as muchas when I was a script writer 25 years ago writing the wordsthat the presenter would use or commissioning a graphicor when I was program editor decidingwhat the headlines would be and what order the stories go in.

    • 11:58

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: So there's lots of ways in which I get a kick out of it.But I'm still proud to tell anybody that, ah,so I'm a television journalist.I suppose if I had to make a point about younger journalistscoming into the industry today, they're not as patientas I was.And I was sort of quite a slow burn.I think younger people now and probably in quite a healthy way

    • 12:20

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: are eager to progress and move into new areas.They're less patient.They want instant return for the amount of effortthey're putting in.That's not always possible.So giving people a reality check on how quickly theycan get into the industry, learn not only the bestsystems but also the technology of television

    • 12:42

      ROBIN ELIAS [continued]: today, to be in a position of influenceor a position on screen, that takes a bit of time.Slow down.It'll come.Be patient.I think that advice is probably the one messageI give out more than any other.

TV News Editing

View Segments Segment :


Robin Elias discusses his work as a television news editor. He explains how to create a balanced, wide-ranging program; highlights the ways that broadcast journalism has changed over his career; and gives advice for aspiring journalists.

SAGE Video In Practice
TV News Editing

Robin Elias discusses his work as a television news editor. He explains how to create a balanced, wide-ranging program; highlights the ways that broadcast journalism has changed over his career; and gives advice for aspiring journalists.

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