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Audiology - Communication Research

versão On-line ISSN 2317-6431

Audiol., Commun. Res. vol.19 no.1 São Paulo jan./mar. 2014

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S2317-64312014000100011 

ORIGINAL ARTICLES

Characteristics of innovations in television journalism and the expressiveness of the anchor

Eliane Caires da Silva 1  

Regina Zanella Penteado 1  

(1)Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba – UNIMEP, Piracicaba (SP), Brasil.

ABSTRACT

Purpose

: To present innovation features in Brazilian newscast and to analyze their impact on the expressiveness of the anchors, emphasizing non-verbal resources.

Methods

: The corpus of the research is five Brazilian TV news shows: Primeiro Jornal (Bandeirantes Television ), Bom Dia Brasil (Globo Television ), Jornal da EPTV (Globo Television ), GloboNews 6PM-edition (Globo News), Leitura Dinâmica (Rede TV). The news shows were recorded for five weeks during October and November, 2011. The shooting script and edition of the material was conducted and the selected scenes were frozen and converted into images (.jpg format). The analysis was carried out by the researcher and by a language and speech specialist with experience in voice studies, and aimed at identifying aspects of the work conditions (scenery, furniture, materials, resources and and/or equipment) and its relation to the anchors’ expressiveness (posture, dislocation, and non-verbal behavior: body and face expressions and gestures).

Results

: The following technologies were observed: monitors, screens, interactive screens, virtual sceneries, remote control of the teleprompter by the anchor, notebooks, tablets, and internet access. The inclusion of new technologies, equipment and resources in news broadcasting makes the anchor, during the interaction with these devices, perform other and different forms of accommodation, posture, positions and movements, different from those employed in traditional news broadcasting.

Results

: As to work conditions, integrated-environment settings, lack of counter or other types of furniture, new resources, technologies and equipment, such as monitors, screens and interactive screens, virtual settings, teleprompter remote control used by the presenter, notebooks, tablets and internet access were observed. A new dynamics is created in news casting, involving direct, mediated and/or virtual interactive processes. Such situations, not foreseen in traditional newscast models or in journalism and speech and language therapy literatures, lead the news presenter to adopt other and different forms of accommodation, postures, positions, movements, and displacement as verbal, vocal and non-verbal resources are used. The entire body of the journalist/presenter is under expressive demand.

Conclusion

: Innovation features in TV newscast have an impact on expressiveness and need to be considered by Speech and Language Studies.

Key words: Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; Journalism; Occupational health; Video-audio Media; Television

INTRODUCTION

Journalists are professional voice users and Speech, Language and Hearing sciences assistance is necessary for this professional category, focusing on the promotion of vocal health and well-being and in developing vocal and body expressiveness, considered essential in the education of journalists ( 1 - 5 ) .

The concept of co-expressiveness is currently used in television journalism when the purpose is to transmit credibility, which means that the voices, speeches, gestures and body postures should transmit a coherence of ideas and senses, and be in temporal synchronicity when broadcasting news ( 4 ) .

Expressiveness encompasses verbal, vocal and non-verbal resources that must occur in harmony, coherence and complement each other ( 1 - 5 ) , in addition to being employed as emphatic resources.

Verbal resources are words, the text. Vocal resources are vocal quality and voice types, vocal parameters (pitch, loudness, resonance, enunciation, modulation, speech-breath coordination, speech rate, respiration) and pauses ( 1 - 5 ) . Non-verbal resources involve the body as a channel of expression: body posture (neutral position; movements and changes in posture of the entire body and/or specific body parts such as head, chest, arms and hands); the use of gestures (in agreement with the meaning of the words, the news and the emphases); facial expressions (eyes, eyebrows, mouth); physical appearance and wardrobe ( 1 - 6 ) .

Regarding non-verbal resources, Brazilian Speech-Language Pathologists rely especially on some works that reference actions in the interaction with Journalism and guide the practice of Speech, Language and Hearing science with television journalists ( 1 , 3 - 6 ) .

These works were devised based on traditional models of set and presentation of television newscasts that have the anchor(s) in one fixed set with a table that fits one or two seated anchors, from the beginning to the end of the show, with their chests and head positioned forward, looking directly at the camera and/or teleprompter device, with resources such as a printed content page or a pen in their hands. The camera frames and planes, in these traditional newscast models, show only half of the anchor’s chest up to his head and/or shoulders to head.

In this model, the work of Speech, Language and Hearing sciences with body expressiveness is focused on straight posture of the chest and head, on directing the anchor’s gaze to the camera and on the employment of facial and manual gestures ( 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 ) .

The transformations in journalists’ work environment are not being contemplated in the studies by Speech-Language Pathologists. The possibility of different sets, materials, resources, technologies and dynamics for news broadcast anchors are not foreseen, considered or mentioned in Speech, Language and Hearing sciences literature. Furthermore, the available works have pictures that represent illustrative models, that are not in a real work situation ( 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 ) .

Thus, in spite of the unquestionable richness and relevance of these works to the field of Speech, Language and Hearing sciences, they do not contemplate all of the current demands and expressive needs of the anchors, especially of those who work in newscasts that have abandoned the traditional format and offer new work conditions for the journalists.

Over the last few years, with the innovations and technological development of television, journalists’ work universe has changed. There was the introduction of new technologies and the processing of news in multiple platforms ( 7 - 9 ) , leading the journalist to the need for technological, media and thematic versatility, to master several means and languages and to have communication and expressive skills to act in social networks and content digitalization environments ( 7 - 9 ) . Thus, the journalist is challenged to learn new tasks and perform activities and functions that were formerly performed by other professional, in a scenario of frontier extinction between the functions of editor, producer, coordinator, chief, supervisor, writer, reporter and host ( 7 - 9 ) .

If, in the first newscasts, the anchor played the role of a transmitter who only read the news, now he may present the news, open the show, say the News that will be brought on the show, present reports, interview people, call reporters outside the studio, comment News and express their ideas live, at any moment ( 4 ) . Currently, reporters and newscast anchors need to be agile and open to improvisation with precision, credibility and lack of inhibition ( 4 ) .

Therefore, there is a need for new studies in the field of Speech-Language Pathology that will incorporate the changes in television newscasts, in order to better subside the practices in Speech, Language and Hearing sciences assistance and education of current television journalists.

The changes in the work of journalists need to be identified, known, understood and analyzed, since for the field of Speech, Language and Hearing sciences the impact of the changes and environmental factors and work organization in the health, vocal and general well-being of the professional, in expressiveness and in professional voice use are particularly interesting ( 8 ) .

The possibilities of integrating the innovations and changes to the studies in SLP are found in the researches where the methods involve the observation of the real conditions under which journalists’ work occurs ( 10 ) and not only of simulated situations.

With the purpose of identifying the new technological resources present in newscasts and their relationship with the body posture of the anchors, one study ( 11 ) analyzed current television newscasts and found that the shows have technological changes and innovations that impact the accommodation, the postures, the positions and movements of newscast anchors.

Aiming to analyze the non-verbal resources used by newscast anchors in two moments of their careers, another study ( 12 ) examined images of the same host in shows aired in different decades and found that there was a significant change in the use of non-verbal resources. This is due to the fact that, in old newscasts, the anchors maintained the same body posture, sitting behind the desk, and the gestures were either restricted or absent. The current newscasts showed greater freedom and naturalness in the use of non-verbal resources.

It is worth mentioning that there are few works about the work of Speech-Language Pathologists with media and social communication professional and that scientific journals have not been the elected channel for their publication. Furthermore, when publications by Speech-Language Pathologists in national and international journals are observed, there is a higher concentration of attention to radio media hosts ( 13 - 22 ) . When the focus is on television media professionals, attention is mainly paid to reporters ( 23 - 29 ) . It should be noted that there are few studies concerning newscast anchors or news television show hosts ( 11 , 12 , 28 , 29 ) .

Therefore, the present paper stands out in Speech, Language and Hearing sciences literature for several reasons, such as: concentrating on television media (that has a smaller number of publications); concerning, specifically, television newscast anchors (who receive less attention in studies, usually focused on reporters); using journalism programs that are aired publicly (that concern real and not simulated situations); propose to analyze current News shows and prioritize the aspects of the contexts environments and situations in the work of these media professionals who, to the present moment, have not been contemplated in Speech-Language and Hearing sciences studies.

The main contributions of this study to the field of Speech, Language and Hearing sciences are giving visibility to the changes and incorporating the new tendencies of television journalism to the knowledge of Speech-Language Pathologists, so as to offer subsidies for a needed reconsideration of the focus of attention and action of the practices of Speech-Language Pathologists in the care and education of journalists, especially those focused on expressiveness.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to characterize the innovations in Brazilian television newscasts and to analyze the impacts on the expressiveness of the anchors, with emphasis on the non-verbal resources.

METHODS

Qualitative and descriptive study

The corpus of the study was composed by five Brazilian television journalists, aired by the main open and cable channels of different broadcasting stations during morning, afternoon and evening.

The selection of newscasts was based upon an intentionally pre-established criteria which was having to differ from the traditional newscast format (still existing) that has the anchor sitting behind a news desk, from the beginning to the end of the show with his chest and head directed forward, looking directly at the camera and/or a teleprompter device, having as resources a printed page or a pen at hands, with camera framings and plans that show only the upper half of his chest to the head and/or from shoulders to the head.

It should also be mentioned that, as the focus of the study is on the anchor, external report scenes were discarded, as well as the development parts of the news story.

Therefore, the corpus of the study was composed of the following newscasts: Primeiro Jornal (Rede Bandeirantes TV/morning); Bom Dia Brasil (Rede Globo TV/morning); Jornal Da EPTV (Rede GloboTV/afternoon); GloboNews Edição 18h (Globo News TV/evening); Leitura Dinâmica 2ª Edição (RedeTV/evening).

The entire newscasts were recorded while they aired, five recordings of each, one in each day of the week in a rotation system in the weekly recording schedule, during five weeks, between the months of October and November, 2011. This precaution was taken in order to minimize the effects and biases of the programming tendencies and regular attractions on the shows. The shows were recorded on VHS tapes using a LG® videocassette recorder, since this was the resource available at the moment. Later, the VHS recordings were transferred to DVDs, using the materials at the Communication Laboratory of the Journalism School of the Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba (UNIMEP).

Then, all the shows were watched and an initial selection of the scenes and parts of interest for the analysis was conducted.

Afterwards, the material was edited using the Adobe Première Pro-CS4 software, with the aid of the Communication Laboratory of the Journalism School of Piracicaba (UNIMEP). During edition, a time code was inserted, which is an eight digit code that enables the precise location of audio and video recordings during edition (for example, 02:54:48:17 means: 2 hours, 54 minutes, 48 seconds and 17 frames. The numbers referring to hours range from 00 to 23; the minutes and seconds range from 00 to 59 and the video frames range from 00 to 29 (30 frames equal 1 second). The resource of the time code enabled the exact timing for the beginning and end of the scenes and images considered relevant and pertinent to the focus of the study. The scenes selected for analysis were frozen into images ( .jpg format).

Image analysis, conducted by the researcher and an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist specialized in the voice field, aimed at identifying aspects regarding work conditions and the anchors’ relationship with these conditions, focusing on expressiveness. There were no protocols to be completed and the analysis was guided by the following aspects: a) work conditions, if the image registered the kind of set, furniture, materials, resources and/or equipment used and interactive processes; b) the expressiveness of the anchors, if the posture and its changes were registered (of the entire body and/or specific body parts such as head, chest, arms and hands), movements (of the entire body and/or specific body parts such as head, chest, legs, arms and hands), location changes (locomotion, changes in set or studio environment), gaze direction, object manipulation and non-verbal behavior, especially the use of non-verbal resources – body and facial expressions and gestures.

Due to the study’s qualitative nature, it did not require statistical treatment of the data.

The Project was approved by the Health Sciences School Council at Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba (UNIMEP), with favorable judgments by the Journalism and Speech-Language Pathology School Councils as well. After undergoing the internal procedures of the Scientific Committees of the institution and external committees composed by judges of the CNPq (National Research Council), the Project was also approved by the Education, Research and Extension Committee at UNIMEP (Consepe Process 110/11). In addition, the study was followed by the Consepe Research Committee and the CNPq and obtained institutional and financial support from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq/PIBIC). Since it did not involve human beings but public, nation-wide aired television news shows, it did not require approval from the Research Ethics Committee.

RESULTS

Work conditions

There were new aspects regarding sets, support furniture, equipment and/or Technologies, framings and interactive processes (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Occurrence of the characteristics of the analyzed newscasts 

It was observed that the sets currently involve several integrated spaces where the anchors may walk through and there may even be different levels between these spaces, where access is given through the presence of steps (Figures 1,2,3, and 4).

Figure 1  Bom Dia Brasil Newscast (Rede Globo TV) 

Figure 2  Primeiro Jornal Newscast (Rede Bandeirantes TV) 

Figure 3  GloboNews 18h Newscast (Globo News TV) 

Figure 4  Jornal da EPTV Newscast (EPTV station - affiliated to Rede Globo TV) 

As far as furniture, it has been seen that the news desk is many times removed from the set (Figures 2 and 5) and that it remains in other situations but not as a central element of the newscast set, but as one of the many possible spaces among the several environments of the set (Figures 1, 3 and 4) and with variations such as a tall news desk, that does not require the use of a chair (Figure 4). It was also found that other pieces of furniture are incorporated to the set, such as stools, tables (Figure 3) and chairs (Figures 3 and 4). On several shows, the anchors’ postures vary between standing and sitting (Figures 1, 3, and 4) and, in some cases, the anchor remains standing for the entire newscast (Figures 2 and 5).

Figure 5  Leitura Dinâmica Newscast (Rede TV) 

The camera framings are currently in planes that vary between medium, showing the anchor from the waist up (Figure 5) and the general plane, showing the entire human figure and including the sets (Figures 1, 3 and 4).

In regard to resources, materials and equipment, the presence of printed pages and pen was observed (Figure 1); as well as monitors (Figure 4); interactive screens and big-screens (Figures 1, 2, 3, and 5); notebooks (Figure 3); tablets (Figure 4); internet access service (Figure 3); virtual sets (Figure 5); virtual screens and panels (Figures 2 and 5); in addition to a device that enables remote control of the teleprompter and a command for entrance and exit of virtual screens, operated by the anchor (Figure 5).

It has been found that the interactive processes occur both with mediation and directly. The direct way consists of the face-to-face relationship between the anchors in the studio (Figures 3 and 4). The mediated interactive processes occur in several ways: between anchors and the images; between the anchors and reporters and the other people involved with the fact being transmitted, through big-screen television sets (Figures 1, 2, 3) and also between the anchors and the audience, using internet access service, with electronic images and messages that are visualized on the screens of tablets, notebooks and/or netbooks or big-screen televisions (Figures 3 and 4).

Expressiveness of the anchors

Current aspects were evidenced, related to different postures, positions and movements, walking, gaze direction, object manipulation and non-verbal behavior (Chart 1).

In the presence of big-screens and virtual interactive screen, it was observed that the anchors’ posture is to remain standing up, and the head position and gaze are no longer limited to remaining up front and turned toward the camera. Instead, the head may be positioned to the front and/or sideways on profile (Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4). In regard to the gaze, it alternates between turning towards the camera (Figure 5), towards the electronic equipment that exhibit the content of the news stories and/or online messages from the viewers (Figure 3), towards their fellow hosts at the studio (Figures 3 and 4) and towards the screens that show the images of the news stories, of the fact being transmitted, of the interviewed subjects and the journalism team – reporters, commentators (Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4).

The anchors move around the studio, from one space to another (Figures 1, 3, 4 and 5) and most of these movements happen without interruption of the news presentation. It should be noted that, as observed, the movements involve simultaneous skills of walking, going up and down the steps of the different levels of the studio (sometimes wearing high heel shoes), standing up and sitting down, transporting and controlling equipment and hosting the show, all at the same time, on air, live.

In regard to non-verbal behavior, there was presence of facial and body expressions, head movements and illustrative and regulatory gestures, giving emphasis and complementing the text being aired. It was seen that there were few situations where the anchors’ hands were free (Figure 2). Most times, they hold objects such as pens, script paper (Figure 1) and electronic equipment (Figures 4 and 5) which they also manipulate and control. It was observed that hand gestures are restrained to the left hand, every time that the anchor, being right-handed, uses his right hand to hold, manipulate and control equipment (Figures 4 and 5).

DISCUSSION

Currently, anchors have new sets, support and accommodation furniture, resources, equipment and technology and experience interactive processes that are not foreseen in the traditional newscast model, or in the Speech-Language Pathology literature regarding television newscasts ( 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 , 12 ) .

With the removal of the traditional news desk and the creation of sets with several integrated spaces, the anchors are led to vary their posture, remain standing up during long periods of time, to alternate between standing up and sitting down, in addition to moving through different environments throughout the set. In order to walk and sit on the chairs, the anchor needs to be prepared to move lightly, with grace and harmony, without taking the audience’s focus from the news that should be the center of attention of the show.

With the changes in framing and planes, the anchor’s entire body is visible, thus with an expressive potential. Now, the anchor also needs to worry about the movement and position of his legs and feet. If, on one hand, this represents a positive aspect regarding the quality of communication, on the other, the Speech-Language Pathologist’s responsibilities are intensified in their work with television journalists, as there are new issues on which to focus attention that had not been contemplated or foreseen by Speech-Language and Hearing sciences literature references regarding television journalists ( 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 , 28 , 29 ) .

In regard to manual gestures, the non-verbal behavior of the anchors occurs as to emphasize and complement the text of the news ( 1 , 4 , 5 , 12 ) . However, there are new needs and demands for hand usage that add to those already existing: holding, manipulating, controlling and transporting equipment on air that impact expressiveness, restricting, limiting and even harming hand gestures. Sometimes, the need to manipulate the equipment is predominant in detriment of the use of hand gestures. The Speech-Language Pathologist must consider this new reality and pay attention to these demands and needs, and be open to incorporate the use of these elements and equipment in the contexts of the education, accompaniment and care of television journalists, so that expressiveness is approached in a way that is integrated and adapted to the professionals’ needs.

The interactive processes are also a sign of change, considering that in the situation of a traditional television newscast, the anchor’s relationship was restricted, basically, to the news being transmitted and to the text (projected on the teleprompter, on the camera) ( 1 , 3 , 5 , 6 ) . However, it was observed in the present study that the interactive processes that currently occur are diverse and may be direct, mediated and/or virtual, with a tendency toward interactive and informal communication ( 12 ) . These new interactive processes absorb the attention of the anchor, who needs greater dynamic of movements and positions, such as turning the head and looking in different directions, contemplating and meeting the demands that come from the relationships with the new partners and subjects of the interactive processes occurring (reporters, interviewed subjects, commentators in the studio or images on screens and big-screens) and the actions that occur alongside the resources, equipment and scene elements (concrete and/or virtual).

Nowadays, expressiveness needs to be thought of considering interactivity and the complex dynamics of the new interactive processes that integrate more agile, dynamics, natural and spontaneous processes that are much more prone to the occurrence of mishaps and improvisation. Thus, Speech, Language and Hearing sciences practice should favor alternating postures and the diversity of body movements in the expressive action.

The implementation of new technologies has transformed journalists’ universes and has changed the dynamics of anchors, generating a new field for research oriented by the perspective of search for an understanding of the relationships between health, work and quality of life of journalists ( 7 - 11 , 28 ) .

Thus, the work of Speech-Language Pathologists with the expressiveness of newscast anchors should be broadened. There is a real need for Speech-Language Pathologists to intervene considering the journalist’s/anchor’s entire body, under a dynamics that simultaneously involves speech, gesture, head movements, posture and position changes and movement, as well as the ways of walking and/or standing up/sitting down and the actions of holding, transporting and manipulating equipment.

Speech, Language and Hearing sciences should advance in its reflections about its actions in the education, accompaniment and care for the anchors of journalistic shows.

New challenges are presented and other studies are needed in order to subsidize the necessary advances in the interfaces between Speech, Language and Hearing sciences and Journalism.

CONCLUSION

Speech, Language and Hearing sciences practice with television journalists focusing on health promotion and expressiveness should involve the entire body of the journalist/anchor and be articulated with the current dynamics and characteristics of the work conditions and interactive and communicative processes of these professionals.

New challenges are posed and further studies are required in order to better subsidize the necessary advances in the interfaces between Speech, Language and Hearing sciences and Journalism.

The innovative elements in the context of television journalism interfere in expressiveness and must be considered by the field of Speech, Language and Hearing sciences. This study enables Speech-Language Pathologists to shed a different look on the issue of the expressiveness of television newscast anchors and shows the need for further studies in this field, linked to the new tendencies in journalism.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ) that, through its PIBIC program, has financed the Scientific Initiation study entitled “Changes in television journalism and the expressiveness demands of the anchors” (Process Consepe/UNIMEP 11011), from which this paper is derived.

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Study conducted at the School of Speech-Language, Pathology and Audiology, Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba – UNIMEP, Piracicaba (SP), Brazil, with grant conceded by PIBIC/CNPQ.

Received: April 24, 2013; Accepted: January 13, 2014

Correspondence address : Regina Zanella Penteado. Av. 41, 209/62, Cidade Jardim, Rio Claro (SP), Brazil, CEP: 13501-190. E-mail: rzpenteado@unimep.br

Conflict of interests: No

Author’s contribution: ECS main researcher, literature survey, data collection and analysis, writing of the paper; RZP advisor and researcher, study devising, time-table construction, data analysis, writing correction, paper submission, approval of the final version.

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