Name: Tikum Mbah Azonga
Research topic: Television news and the construction of reality: fact or fiction?
The television set is more and more becoming a reality in the homes of Cameroonians. Those who have access to it rely on it for news of what is going on around them. However, they also use it for entertainment and education, generally. There is some advantage that television enjoys over radio and the print media in the sense that with radio, one only “hears” and with the print media one only “sees” (reads), with television, does both hearing and viewing.
This paper takes an incisive look at the mechanism of television news by actually examining the “package” that the televiewer watches when in front of the screen. The package includes images – live and moving images – and sound (the spoke word, music and artificial sound effects). The paper analyses and explains the complex and disparate process that involves television news gathering and broadcast, to form one homogeneous “flow” that the televiewer now sits back and watches as if the product was strung together in that linear manner from the very beginning. Key questions that are tackled include: What is television news if not just an extension of cinema – that is, a combination of filmic language and cinematographic techniques? Is television news fact or fiction, especially considering the fact that the “news” that is watched as if it was unfolding at the moment of watching actually happened some time ago and was now simply re-enacted and made to look real? How exactly is the message in television news transmitted to the televiewer and how does the viewer perceive, receive and interpret it?
The aim of the paper is to demystify television news and explain it such that the televiewer, notably the adult one can understand better what he is watching. He or she will also be in a position to use the tools of film analysis such as punctuation, characterization, time, space and narrative to consolidate that understanding.