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Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general

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Mark Suszko
Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 23, 2009 at 7:16:33 pm

Say you work for a network news operation as a CG operator. People are human, and being human, make mistakes sometimes.

Say you mis-identified somebody in a CG, somebody who's a prominent newsmaker, and so that lower-third is very likely to be re-used later, over and over. I guess once the typo is called to attention, you fix it and re-save the template, right? So that error for that specific person's ID should not happen again, right? I mean, if you know you're going to do more stories about the person, you're not going to re-build chyron thirds from scratch every time, right? Or not?

Now, if the typo happens again after being corrected once, how does that happen?

For bonus credit, how does that happen off and on, several times in a week, same guy, same lower third? It seems improbable to me, but have you experienced broadcast engineers seen something like that happen? Play detective for a minute: what number of times would you say you'd have to see the error happen, before you decided it was not a random technical "glitch" but rather somebody's deliberate policy?


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Gary Hazen
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 23, 2009 at 7:57:43 pm

The answer is Fox News and deliberate policy.

*Seeing as this thread could quickly go downhill from here I'll quitely step away from the keyboard now.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:50:58 pm

Oh let's not make this political, I didn't name anybody in particular, but I was curious because a... friend...... suggested that the problem on this notional station could be something mechanical, something innocent in how a system is set up or how operators are trained and work. Or they just ahve really bad operators:-)

SO I just was wondering how well that suggested rationalization could stand up. So let's assume this is a purely technical discussion. I know from personal experience that I would get quite a regular ribbing from my office mates for messing up an on-air third just once, never mind every time over a 24-hour cycle of airings. If we made a mistake like that, that required an edit, the miscreant owed everybody lunch att he local chili parlor. If a mistake is getting re-inserted, maybe there's a bad template that's been saved and not erased, and being made earlier than the correct version, it comes up first when searching or invoking an auto-fill in a requester box, if the operator is calling up keys in a hurry... I don't know, because my Chyron experience taps out at the model VP-2, myself:-)
Like the Mythbusters say: Plausible, true, or busted?


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Gary Hazen
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:25:29 am

It could be a self populating field. That is the operator isn't keying in the data every time. The data is being populated from an XML source. In the scenario you describe perhaps the original database contains the incorrect title. Each and every time a self populating field is created that taps into that database the returned data is incorrect. As to why no one is capable of fixing the XML data source, I don't know.

With all of the automation going on these days maybe the CG op was downsized. I guess you modify the old saying, "If a tree falls in the forrest..." to say, "If a lower third airs with a typo and there's no CG op to correct it, is there really a typo?".


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Jeff Markgraf
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:41:28 am

Most newsrooms are highly automated these days. The Chyron (or other CG) is typically fed info from the newsroom computer system. So lower third identifiers are generated from info put into the rundown. That info may be input by an AP, a producer, a reporter...or who knows who else. There is rarely a "CG operator" as we think of that position from a decade ago, so bad info is less likely to get flagged before going to air.

Having done my share of news (as a director), I can attest to the ease with which typos and bad spelling make it to air. It's a fast-moving, always-changing environment. At some point, though, is bound to notice & fix the super.

To answer another part of the question - yes, if the identifier is entered incorrectly in the first place, it has the potential to be reused over and over again, unless someone spots it and corrects it. As an example, look at the density of the information contained in Fox News' recent incorrect ID of Mark Sanford as a Democratic governor. That banner had a LOT of words in it, and the "(D)" was pretty buried. As much as I accept the likelihood of Fox's political agenda, I'm far more inclined to point to simple human error on that getting by, even repeatedly.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 3:18:32 am

Jeff, that was a very interesting analysis/opinion, thanks. My impression was that somebody is still responsible overall for the accuracy of Chyrons/ lower thirds. If I had to guess, I would that that nominally is the producer and assignment editors' responsibilities as content QC decision makers, secondarily, the Director, who should be responsible for and checking everything under his/her direct control and supervision before it sees air. With too many people responsible, accountability tends to take a hike.

Still, my credulity meter remains agitated, because if an error is repeating bad enough for it to itself become news, you'd think somebody would be getting called on the carpet to find the bug and kill it. And yet, it happens again and again, with a very curious bent in one consistent direction. Put in an overall context, I think it's not a great leap of logic to see the extension of a pattern.
I think I answered my own question.:-)


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 2:26:17 pm

With Fox, they tend to consistently identify Republican elected officials in legal/ethical trouble as Democrats. It's consistent enough that I am no longer inclined to give them any benefit of the doubt. It's either policy from somewhere inside, or at best utterly lax journalistic rigor.

Does the opposite happen? Never, as far as I've heard.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:40:17 pm

Fox News Threatens Pink Slips For On-Screen ErrorsRachel Slajda |
> November 23, 2009, 2:03PM
>

>
> After a rash of mistakes and apologies over the past weeks, Fox News
> has sent a memo to employees announcing a new "zero tolerance" policy
> for on-screen errors. FishBowlDC obtained the memo, sent last Friday,
> which warns mistakes could lead to written warnings, suspensions and
> termination."Please know that jobs are on the line here. I can not stress that enough," the memo reads.Fox has had three much-noticed errors in the past few weeks. First, Sean Hannity used misleading footage to beef up attendance numbers at a Capitol Hill tea party rally -- an incident that caught the attention of the Daily Show's Jon Stewart, forcing Hannity to apologize on air.Then, last week, one of the midday news shows aired footage of an old Sarah Palin campaign rally to show the "crowds" at her current book tour. An anchor apologized a day later, and Foxblamed a "production error."Finally, in another segment about Palin's book, the network showed the cover of a satire book called "Going Rouge" instead of her actual memoir, "Going Rogue."The network is also going to "zero base" its news production, according to the memo.That means we will start by going to air with only the most essential, basic, and manageable elements. To share a key quote from today's meeting: "It is more important to get it right, than it is to get it on." We may then build up again slowly as deadlines and workloads allow so that we can be sure we can quality check everything before it makes air, and we never having to explain, retract, qualify or apologize again.


Here's the full memo:
Subject: Quality Control We had a mistake on Newsroom today when a wrong book cover went on screen during a guest segment, the kind of thing that can fall through the cracks on any day with any story given the large amount of elements and editorial we run through our broadcasts. Unfortunately, it is the latest in a series of mistakes on FNC in recent months. We have to all improve our performance in terms of ensuring error-free broadcasts. To that end, there was a meeting this afternoon between senior managers and the folks who run the daytime shows in which expectations were reviewed, and the following results were announced: "Effective immediately, there is zero tolerance for on-screen errors. Mistakes by any member of the show team that end up on air may result in immediate disciplinary action against those who played significant roles in the "mistake chain," and those who supervise them. That may include warning letters to personnel files, suspensions, and other possible actions up to and including termination, and this will all obviously play a role in performance reviews. So we now face a great opportunity to review and improve on our workflow and quality control efforts. To make the most of that opportunity, effective immediately, Newsroom is going to "zero base" our newscast production. That means we will start by going to air with only the most essential, basic, and manageable elements. To share a key quote from today's meeting: "It is more important to get it right, than it is to get it on." We may then build up again slowly as deadlines and workloads allow so that we can be sure we can quality check everything before it makes air, and we never having to explain, retract, qualify or apologize again. Please know that jobs are on the line here. I can not stress that enough. I will review again during our Monday editorial meeting, and in the days and weeks ahead. This experience should make us stronger editorially, and I encourage everyone to invest themselves one hundred and ten percent in this effort.

>


Well.... problem solved, I guess.


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Tyler Ries
Re: Question about Chyron operators or CG ops in general
on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:37:00 pm

I think you might be on to something with the externally updated fields. If you are using a Chyron running Lyric software, it might be updating externally from some form of news software. Personally I have used AP's ENPS software to update graphics in a Chyron and the templates can be made any way you want, then the information is replaced by what the producer or assistant producer puts into the rundown. Check to make sure they are not just copying the information from am old script with the typo, that would explain why sometimes it is right (they typed in the info) or incorrect (copied the old info with the typo).


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