Many many years back at the inception of TV News, the presenters wore DJs and bow ties. They they became less formal and around the mid 90s - one of TV News' mini revolutions (except there was no revolt) - surveys amongst viewers indicated they preferred their reporters to be, how shall we say, a little less stuffy.
Some networks dropped the tie, and adopted the open collar. The suit and tie still stayed on in the studio. We viewers like guests dropping int our living rooms to be smartly turned out.
I watched the news today. No, rather differently. Some time back I was asked to be one of the reviewers for one of the networks examining its news.
So I put myslf in that position.. and my immediate thoughts watching one of the channels was how clean eveything looked.
I think there are parrallels here with war or cop movies, perhaps film making, period.
The early films were highly polished, with clean lines, and awesome cinematography. You could get hit by a grenade or give chase to that bank rober but still that brill cream slick of hair remained intact.
Then audiences rebelled. They just stopped watching. Homicide Life on the Street, and NYPD showed a more grittier, verite, sense of what happens when someone fires off a 22. or cops have a bad beat.
Could adiences do the same with news? That broadcast from the floods, Heathrow Airport's twenty-people-deep, angst-ridden departure hall, that morning raid with the police, all messy affairs, but newsmakers are taught to look their smartest.
So could audiences turn off?
My take, no not in their droves. It's a question of legacy. We watch the dominant news sources because they come with the sstandard bouquet of channels, and so long as they present a universal unified on-screen language, we probbaly have little to make any comparative judgement.
Homicide, 24, Millennium,The Shield, Lost showed an alternative face of drama in a sea of convention until then we'd thought was the norm.
But the next TV revolution is not far off. How soon till we get to 10mbs?