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Posted on August 21st, 2012, by

Traditionally, documentary reportages were extremely popular and widely spread on television. However, in recent years their effectiveness has been questioned, because the development of new technologies increased the opportunities for the communication between journalists and the audience, to the extent that today, the audience can communicate live with journalists. In such a way, the audience gets an opportunity not simply watch the documentary reportage, but the modern audience can practically participate in the reportage. At any rate, the larger involvement of the audience in the reportage is considered to be consistently more prospective than conventional documentary reportage

Actually, there are a lot of reasons which explain the necessity of the necessity to change traditional documentary reportage, but it is important to understand that the traditional documentary reportage is quite limited and, what is more, it raises the problem of the objectivity of the news coverage by journalists. In this respect, it is possible to analyze the situation concerning one of the most widely spread broadcasting companies the BBC. It is a very respectable company but it also could not be absolutely objective. Moreover, specialists state that the BBC is quite subjective in some questions that is proved by recent researches (Wiggings, 2007). These researches revealed the fact that in the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the company’s reporters tend to pro-Palestinian position that, without any doubt, do not permit to receive objective and real, in broader sense of this word, information about the conflict, its roots and probable solution (O’Neil, 1997). It becomes particularly obvious when we compare the reports about actions of coalition troops in Iraq and Israeli army, which, actually, deal with similar problems, that make think about a sort of discrimination of Israel from the part of the BBC.

By the way, many experts consider the highlighting of Iraqi war by some British and American mass media as partial and not objective.

Nowadays, it is evident that TV and other mass media may be a very convenient mean of propaganda or at least promotion of certain ideas and views. The latter should be avoided by all means if we want to sustain a democratic society. Consequently, reporters or presenters should strive for impartiality if we want to develop as a highly democratic society. That is why, it is necessary to analyze some conceptual ideas about what should be done to provide the audience for effective presentation of information and TV programs, in order to make the communication of reporters and journalists with the audience more effective.

Firstly, it is necessary to lay emphasis on the fact that all programs or reports of different genres must represent as wide range of ideas and opinions as possible. In other words, impartiality must become the basis of any broadcasting company or any other mass media regardless the problems it deals with because, practically always, there are at least two views on one and the same problem or event and all of them must be presented by reporters. That is why it would be better if reporters or presenters did not express their own opinion on current affairs whether international or national.

Then, factual programs may concern any problem and they can choose any subject to explore. Moreover, they may present arguments of one side but only on the condition that it will remain fair and impartial that could be provided by non-discriminating or misleading of opposing views and opinions. Anyway, any program must tend to the presentation of all views either in this very program or in some link programs what the audience must be informed about. The same may be said about series of programs that must be either accompanied by a follow-up discussion program or it must be well planned and present a wide spectrum of views and opinions through out the series.

As for the news programs, their impartiality is of paramount importance because they inform people and the way they do this will often define the public opinion about different events and affairs in the society and the world. Consequently, any personal views of presenters should be absolutely forbidden, particularly on all controversial moments of public affairs. They must just present information and fact as they are without any emotional and subjective impacts. Also we should not forget about all other programs and reports for which the demand of impartiality remains sustained.

However, it is obvious that such changes cannot ensure the absolute objectivity of the position of journalists. It proves beyond a doubt that as long as the reportage remains a one-sided communication, it will be difficult to achieve a high degree of objectivity of the coverage of the new issues or other issues covered in documentary reportages. In this respect, the use of modern telecommunication systems allows to change considerably the traditional documentary reportage to the extent that it evolves dramatically from the one-sided coverage of certain material by a reporter to a two-sided communication of the reporter and the audience. In actuality, modern telecommunication systems allow effective interactive communication of the audience and reporters. This is why live programs grow more and more popular today and gradually they can replace documentary reportage.

The advantages of such programs are obvious, especially compared to documentary reportage. First of all, such interactive programs allow the audience to share their opinion with journalists as well as specialists that may be involved in programs. In such a way, the audience have a possibility to participate in the discussion that represents a radical transformation of the audience from a passive recipient of information and messages sent by reporters into the active participant in the process of communication. Secondly, the interaction of reporters and the audience and the involvement of the audience in the communication increases consistently the objectivity of the reportage and the coverage of discussed issue at large. It proves beyond a doubt that the involvement of the audience enlarges the range of opinions in regard to the specific problem discussed in the program, because viewers can challenge the position of reporters, for instance. In such a way, in the process of two-sided communication, it is possible to achieve a truly public discussion, while traditional documentary reportages, even if reporters attempt to be objective, risk to transform into a tool of propaganda. In addition, it is necessary to understand that the involvement of the audience increases the interests of people to television and, what is more important, it changes the quality and the role of television in the modern society. In fact, television can change from mass media that imposes its messages and ideas on the audience into an extremely effective means of mass communication.

Thus in conclusion, it should be said that the role of documentary reportage decreases and, in the future it can become consistently more unpopular then it is now. Nevertheless, it sis important to remember that, in spite of these changes, the role of a reporter cannot be underestimated. In fact, the notion of a good reporter, TV program or company, as well as newspaper, will always associate with impartiality. Certainly, it can be done only if mass media are independent from any political or financial power. Otherwise, it will be impossible to realize the main democratic principles of freedom of speech that, in its turn, will make mass media a mean for achieving aims of different political or financial groups. Thus, impartiality must be the cornerstone of the ideology of all sorts of mass media companies as well as it should be a moral norm of any reporter who is a really self-respecting professional whose aim is to give people objective presentation not only of current affairs but also of any event, idea or viewpoint that appears in the world regardless national, religious, or any other aspects, and his personal opinion. But, at the same time, it does not necessarily mean that he has not got the right to express his personal views. He may do it if it does not contradict to the principles of impartiality and objectivity and if it permits the audience to form its own viewpoint on the problem. However, it is important to understand that the personal opinion of a reporter deprives the audience of the possibility to participate in the communication, while modern and prospective telecommunication system allow the audience to become participants of communication and to discuss burning issues with reporters, specialists and viewers.

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