I have viewed many editions of BBC Look North, which is broadcast from Hull weeknights at 6.30pm. It features news from the East Riding and Hull on the north bank of the Humber, and south of the Humber, caters for an audience that stretches from Barton, Grimsby and Scunthorpe, as far south as the Wash, and North Norfolk.
The main presenter of the programme is Peter Levy, who has presented Look North, since the programme split it’s content between Leeds and Hull, late in 2002.
In my opinion, the programme takes the format of being topical with serious news, but also caters for the lighter aspects with a feeling of being comfortable and welcoming the audience, without being patronising and condescending.
After the main news has handed over to the regions, there is a welcome from Peter, who briefly explains what is to come in the next 30 minutes, with little pieces of VT from contributors, which can include members of the public, other journalists in the Look North team, and also a little weather soundbite from the meteorologist.
Once these items have been shown, the main titles roll, which attempt to include all main areas of the region by way of images, and names of the larger towns and cities across the area.
The presenter will then explain the main story of the evening, with a VT in the background, which can include pictures, and infographics. The presenter will either introduce a piece of pre-recorded VT, or hand over to a presenter in a relevant area for the story. If the programme uses VT, then it generally plays until the journalist signs off with their name, programme name, and location. If it is a live link, then the on-site journalist will do a piece to camera, either as a front on shot, with a relevant backdrop, for example, a company that is in the news, or a general location shot, if the news story is about a town/village.
After the VT/Outdoor piece has concluded, the main presenter will continue with their piece to camera, and on occasion, may then bring in another guest for response or comment.
I have noticed many different ways in which the presenter and journalists can approach a story.
A programme can be made up of one or more of the following.
- Main presenter – Seated behind a desk – Front on to camera – Slightly offset on screen.
- Main presenter – Seated behind a desk to one side with screen over left shoulder.
- Main presenter – Stood in front of a large screen, to introduce infographics
- Main presenter – Slightly relaxed, one arm on desk, engaging audience (Social Media etc)
- Main presenter – Slightly relaxed, wider screen shot, (Reading emails, tweets)
- Correspondent – Stood in front of large screen
- Live O/B – Split screen with presenter on left and correspondent on right.
- Live O/B or Pre-recorded V/T- Correspondent in front of location relevant to story – Screen position left/right or centre.
- Live O/B or Pre-recorded V/T- Piece to camera with interviewee(s)
- Pre-recorded V/T – Talking whilst walking towards the camera.
- Pre-recorded V/T – Video of events, combined with interviews and/or correspondent piece to camera.
Different camera angles can be used, for example a close up shot of an interviewee is relevant to a story featuring emotion. Whereas a wide angle shot, can demonstrate how busy or quiet an area can be. If children are in shot, such as a story about schools/education, then depending on permissions or the type of story, faces may have to be obscured.
By using a wide variety of the shots highlighted above, makes for a more intimate programme, rather than older news bulletins that talked at the audience, rather than engaging with them.