Speaking candidly, he said, "you know, often I just considered it a performance."
Thank you, Bernie McNamee, for your candid and telling revelation.
Reading or announcing television and radio news, whether you're 'anchoring' a newscast or reporting from a news location, every hour on the hour, is, indeed, a performance. There are actors, authoritarian voices, and drama, carefully chosen and edited to grab our attention and hold it for a few minutes.
For those who are listening or watching, no matter their age, a newscast is a neuro-psychological event. To those choosing the news events to package and deliver to listeners and viewers, newscasts reflect a Business Model, plain and simple.
'Murder, mayhem and grue' is the value proposition of the newscasters' business model, and the regrettable expression, "If it bleeds it leads" steers too many newsrooms as an in situ mission statement.
The format does captivate an audience, reflecting our very humanity that has noted psychologically-impactive events for much of our evolution over perhaps millions of years. Researchers link this characteristic to an innate survival strategy.
So we, the audience, attend to the news. And, in the next step of the model, media companies sell our 'eyeballs, ears and brains' to advertisters and companies peddling products and services between the news stories.
Today, the newscasters' business model is searing its way into the psyche of young children which, as research confirms*, is causing stress and anxiety and interrupting and impeding healthy development. Yet the newscasting business model takes no notice of this outcome, attending only to the potential to generate advertising revenue.
The business model needs an overhaul, a new format that is aligned with the tenets of the Precautionary Principle and therefore does not victimize its most innocent, inadvertent audience.
Over to you, CRTC and and Canadian Association of Broadcasters. You have a Violence Code. It's time for the newscasting business model to reflect it.
* an example of research on this subject: "a substantial proportion of the children who were only indirectly exposed via the media [to news of the 911 terrorist attacks in New York City] also developed such problems [as those children who directly witnessed it]: that is, 18.2% of them displayed clinically significant signs of PTSD, another anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder." - source: Muris, P. and Field, A.; The role of verbal threat information in the development of childhood fear.; in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review; Springer, 2010