Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Criticism Over the German News?

One of the obvious things left over from the Bavaria train attack of last night.....is the news delivered and the slow reaction time.  Various news criticisms have been laid out this morning.....with hostility brewing over the state-run news apparatus.

Some Germans will say that state-run news (via Channel One or Two (ARD or ZDF))....are focused upon structured news delivery.  So.....they react in a very slow way to fast reacting news. This is often proven more true for things happening after 5PM in the day, or on weekends.

In last night's case, where they did try to get some pieces of the story on within an hour after the attack.....the description would be marginal and often comical.  One example was a live on-the-spot interview with one reporter from ARD.  The moderator asked a couple of questions.....which led back to a three-line description that he started off with.  At one point, the moderator asked for more direct knowledge, and the reporter responds that some of this....he picked up from some gas station in the local area and was a marginal commentary (maybe by a local guy, the gas station manager, or a cop), but he never made that clear.   In the end......roughly 70 minutes after the attack, all you could get is three simple lines of info.  That was it.

I think the state-run news folks have three basic issues.

First, they want everything to fit perfectly into a contrived story-telling event.  In most cases, there will be rules on structure.....rules on blame....rules on political agendas.....rules on things fitting a slant.  They've done it this way for decades, and aren't about to refocus or rebuild the design of the news in Germany.

Second, German journalists for the most part....work day-shifts.  They might come in at noon and work through to midnight.  For ZDF, their last night episode at around midnight, will likely involve one senior reporter, a junior reporter, a couple of camera guys, a director, and maybe two or three video-technicians.  All of them will likely be gone by 1AM.  The bulk of news production for state-run TV likely occurs between 1PM and 5PM each day.

Third, let's face facts.....they aren't geared to be an ongoing 24-hour news network.  They may pretend that the Phoenix Channel (state-run) is geared toward this, but I would challenge this by saying that the bulk of what the Phoenix Channel produces is recorded material for later usage.  Even for N-TV and N-24....both commercially run.....they aren't built to handle a 24-hour news situation.  The bulk of their employees probably work from mid-morning to mid-evening.

Look, it's a country of eighty-one million residents.  Roughly one-third of all German adults absolutely vow never to watch state-run networks for anything, even the news.

For the whole state of Hessen (almost six million) it's hard to dig up 30 minutes of nightly news for HR.  So you end up with some reporter doing a spot on tree-planting ceremony, some teacher retiring after 40 years of school-teaching, or a complaint by a viewer on a poorly-planned cobblestone project in Darmstadt.

In the case of this attack in Bavaria?  It's the simple case of a nut immigrant, who didn't need guns.....he just used an ax and knife to cut up on fifteen Germans on an evening train.  Cops reacted....shot just one round.....and ended the guy's life.  Basically three lines of info....at best.


Jess Short said...

ARD news is always my 'go to' place for a good laugh. The news readers should have a stand up comedy routine.

R Hammond said...

Me? I like the 9:45 ZDF news with Claus Kleber. He has like 44 different tilts of the head and four ways of lifting his eyebrows when he wants you to pay real particular attention. Plus he'll almost directly quote from the NY Times when the news event concerns the US.