TV News Gets Its "Props"

No one shuffles papers anymore on TV.

I'm talking about the news people, who are moving further and further away from a paper-enslaved society. They've stopped killing trees---which is one less story for them to report, if you like irony.

In the days of Huntley and Brinkley and Cronkite---heck, even Chevy Chase---an iconic image was to see the newsmen read off their typewritten scripts (no TelePrompTers back then), turn the page when done, and then came the shuffling.

It happened at the end of the broadcast---Cronkite would say, "And that's the way it is..." and the camera would pull back and we'd see old Walter shuffling his pages of script on his desk.

I miss that. Call me silly, I don't care.

I bring this up because the paper shuffling has now been replaced by a new icon of TV news.

The laptop has replaced the news script.

The laptop has invaded the newsroom desks of the TV studios throughout America.

Apparently the "hip" thing now, if you're a news anchor, is to keep an open laptop on the desk before you. It seems to be mainly a prop, because I've never seen an anchor actually refer to the laptop.

Cronkite and the new dinosaur of TV news: the typewritten script on paper

Probably some producer of some TV news show decided that an open laptop would give the anchor credibility. Lord knows why. Have you seen the people who use laptops nowadays? I wouldn't trust them to mow my lawn.

How much do you want to bet that the laptops aren't even powered up?

This is hardly the end of civilization as we know it; I'm not angry about it. Actually, I think it's kind of amusing.

I'm not such a curmudgeon that I believe typewritten, paper news scripts should be sacred items.

But with open laptops sitting on the desks of all the TV news studios nowadays, it makes me wonder what the next hip thing will be.

Maybe the younger anchors of the near future will text the news and the words will appear on our TV screens.

Don't laugh.


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