Thursday, May 15, 2008

LowTech Graphics in HighTechLand

My current stay in Japan was due to a family matter and I was definitely NOT looking forward to it, but strangely, so far, so good. Sometimes I look forward to these visits and am disappointed. Other times, I dread it and am pleasantly surprised. I've learned not to expect anything.

I'm enjoying a more international news coverage in both the print and TV media. The difference is especially pronounced on TV where we get unglamorous but reasonably intelligent reports. Right now, there's a lot about the Shichuan Earthquake, however, unlike American news shows that tend to focus on One Big Story All The Time, there's more variety here. The graphics are still a little retro, but at least there's content.

I remember how we used to laugh at the low-tech visual aids on Japanese new shows. Instead of some snazzy graphic, the anchors would hold up a board with charts and bullet points. Once, after some airline accident, there was an analyst who actually used a toy plane to show how the airplane went down. We don't want our news people to look like stars. In the past, they'd even be verging on frumpy, though today, the producers tend to go for "attractive but serious-looking." And it's a nice contrast to the sheer goofiness of the rest of the programming.

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