A new touch in news presentation in Kenya, has finally seen the entry of touchscreen monitors, to spice up the delivery of broadcast news. Yes. It is a milestone by K24. But woe unto them if they think they have reached the promised land of news broadcast innovation.
For starters, a number of other Kenyan stations have been toying with the same idea, especially in preparation of their coverage for the coming General Election, and so it's just a matter of time before other stations follow suit.
Then again, such is the copy-cat syndrome locally, that even the stations that had not considered having a touchscreen monitor in their news set, will not require much persuasion to place an order.
The good thing though is that the likes of Citizen TV, will now think twice before trying to simulate a touchscreen effect in their video wall presentations. The relaunch by K24 seems very much centred around this supposed 'new' technology and therein lies the danger.
Just like some people always wonder, why there is so much hype around the Thika Super Highway, given that it cannot even be compared to decades-old roads, in more developed countries, that excitement could appear misplaced.
The news set, in my opinion, looks too flashy and very much like what you often encounter in a discotheque, with all the dazzling/blinding lighting. Make no mistake. It is a very big improvement on the part of K24, but I insist that for news, content will forever remain king, no matter how hard a station tries to work on the look and feel.
So, other than trying to fit in all manner of numerical or financial details in that 'wonder screen,' why not isolate a few important ones to focus on? Just like a good director of a play would advise, make more use of the entire stage.
That is what makes the touchscreen presentation by DSTV's Super Sport team look so professional and is easy to follow and understand. Get over the 'high' of fingers dancing on the screen and concentrate on the content.
Don't over-do it though, because it looks contrived. What value is added for example, by the sports anchor literally trying to place a football team's players in their individual positions, instead of interpreting how effective the chosen system is likely to be?
Like the folks of Super Sport, keep it simple and more informative, and move away from the showing off trap. And beware of an over reliance on the touchscreen in studio presentations or discussions.
It was no joy to watch the morning show host struggling to turn newspaper pages on the monitor, as she went about reviewing the contents. What would have happened had the touchscreen malfunctioned entirely, or if God-forbid, she was unable to properly operate it then?
And just to re-emphasise the point, concentrate on the content. I instantly forgot about marvels of K24's touchscreen monitor, when the morning show host and her guest discussed a story in the paper they were reviewing, which was painfully so stale. Hours had since passed after the US Supreme Court ruled on this subject.
But to be fair, K24 has made major strides in modernising their news presentations, and what I'm pointing out could very well be dismissed as teething problems. Compared to this news set of Kenya's national broadcaster:
...K24 indeed has raised the bar. And here is a toast to their progress!!