Perhaps to prove that they aren’t overpaid, pretty talking heads, network TV anchors are unshackling themselves from their studio sets and venturing out to do some video blogging.
Before last night’s Democratic debate got underway, Brian Williams gave web audiences a little taste of the evening to come, taking viewers on a quick tour of the debate set (who knew it was shot in a basketball stadium?), and showing some of what it takes to put on a presidential debate (Secret Service sweep, anyone?).
But Williams is still a little behind the times. Katie Couric launched her own channel on YouTube earlier this month, featuring a mix of polished in-studio segments, behind-the-scenes peeks and on-the-fly interviews.
Rather than feeling like a cheap gimmick the network suits are using to get-hip-with-the-kids, removing the slick veneer of nightly newscasts actually makes both anchors more real. Williams, by cracking a few jokes while guiding us around the debate floor, proved that his “Saturday Night Live” stint was no fluke. According to an NBC spokesperson, you can expect more vlogs from him in the future, and if last night’s was any indication, that’s a good idea.
But the web format really suits Couric. She actually looks better with less makeup. As a TV anchor, it feels like she’s always trying to prove she belongs there. Freed from the script and the set, she’s able to just be herself, which is what made her popular in the first place.
Neither one of these news stars is going to give up the limelight to vlog, but adding more spots like these will bring another dimension to their on-screen personas, make them more likable — and probably increase their ratings.