In TV news you need to be extra careful when identifying people – especially in crime and court stories. And you need to be aware of how the viewers perspective is often ‘reversed’ from a reader’s or presenter’s perspective.
This post is inspired by seeing a news report where a person accused of murder was identified as simply : “seen on the right”.
In my opinion, rather than saying ‘on the right’, it’s better to say something like ‘seen on the right of screen’ or to use some other ‘description’ – like ‘seen in the black jacket’ or the ‘yellow jacket’.
People familiar with the theatre and stage know there is stage right and audience right – and they are opposite.
In speaking presentations, I often see speakers describe right or left and the speaker is talking from their perspective – rather than the audience perspective.
It’s better to give more details – e.g. on MY right or on YOUR right.
Maybe I am extra cautious, but I think it’s good to get into the habit of being cautious when identifying people – especially in crime or court stories.
From my experience in media in the US, I learned that pumping out news is often in a rush and mistakes happen. Lots of defamation cases actually happen in the updates as well as the main bulletins. So many expensive payouts were due to the wrong person being identified in a story – sometimes due to the vision not matching the VO – voice over from the reader/presenter.
When I advise newsrooms, I encourage presenters and reporters and producers to:
1. be aware of the difference between presenter right and audience right
2. take extra care when identifying people in court and crime stories