I wouldn’t like to criticise newsreaders too harshly. I imagine their job is pretty difficult, particularly on the rolling news channels where there must be a lot to keep on top of. Lots of people seem to bemoan the fact that newsreaders supposedly have an easy job because it consists merely of “reading the autocue”. As if that would be easy. Have they not seen recent series of ‘Have I Got News For You’? (Well, I haven’t, because it’s shit, but that’s not the point.)
But the news channels have recently become pretty unwatchable in the evening. Whenever I tune into News 24’s hyped-up star lineup of Emily Maitlis and Ben Brown it seems awfully uncomfortable. There seem to be awkward pauses, stilted banter and duff links all over the shop. Last week I saw Ben Brown interrupt himself when he was reading the autocue: “– as my colleage just has a sneeze there…” I’m sure Emily Maitlis was delighted that he pointed it out!
I don’t doubt that Ben Brown has had enough of getting shot at in warzones, but he never looks quite at home when he’s sitting at the desk. He always has an expression on his face like a sullen schoolboy, still in the huff having just returned from standing in the corner. I bet his shirt isn’t tucked in underneath the desk.
At the same time on the other side, though, it’s so much worse. Sky News’ James uhhh Rubin is really errr quite uhhh wooden a-a-nd uhhh… hesitant. But I guess you should expect some of that as he’s not had much experience as a television presenter (makes him an odd person for Sky News to employ as a prime time news presenter though). Mind you, he certainly seems to know his stuff.
Rubin never seems startled — he never looks like a ‘rabbit caught in the headlights’ as some newsreaders do from time to time. Instead, he just stares. And stares and stares and stares. I think he’s actually trying to solve a Magic Eye puzzle.