Now that would make a headline wouldn’t it?
But it makes me laugh just how often you hear journalists say this:
“Joe Bloggs joins me live on air…” or “joining me live in the studio…”
One would hope so!
And I have to admit as a former BBC radio presenter I’m guilty of doing this myself.
It’s our obsession to be “live” on air, as it’s happening, at the scene.
As I mentioned in my last blog Choppergate – a media minefield commercial networks in particular are obsessed with live crosses to a reporter at the scene who in turn live links into a pre-packaged report.
But sometimes it’s just not possible to do the cross “live”. The connection drops out, the talent is only available at a certain time etc.
In this case the best solution is an “as live” or a “look live”.
The cross/interview/segment is recorded at the scene as though it were live. It looks and sounds exactly the same as it would had it been done live.
Some may question the use of such techniques but I actually don’t have a problem with this.
I have recorded many “as lives”. Usually because there wasn’t a clear signal at the location to do the report live.
I would record the piece as though it were live. Drive down the road and as soon as I had a clear signal I would play the report down the line – either to a producer to use as and when – or sometimes I would play it directly into the program.
The crucial point is as long as you don’t actually state that you are crossing “live” to the person.
That’s when it becomes an ethical issue.
As long as the reporter has been at the scene talking to people and reports back accurately it doesn’t matter if they are doing it live or if they recorded it five minutes ago.
They are not going to say or do anything differently.
Chances are – if you say it’s live and it isn’t – something will go wrong with the recording and your audience will immediately realise it’s not live as you had claimed.
That’s a deception and that’s when it becomes unethical.