Friday, March 25, marks the 100th episode of News Stream.
This may not be an achievement even remotely close to Larry King’s 25 years on air... But it’s an important milestone for us, and one I can’t believe we’ve reached.
Kristie Lu Stout & I began officially planning for what was to become News Stream about 13 months ago. But the ideas behind the show really go back to July 20th, 2009, our first show together. I remember that day because it was the 40th anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the Moon. And we decided to illustrate just how far the Moon is from the Earth with a basketball, a tennis ball, and about 7 metres of space in between:
Our thinking was: How do you communicate something like, ‘The Moon is 382,500km away from the Earth”? That is an unfathomably large number. It’s difficult to conceive of something that size. So we looked for a way to break it down into something that was easier to understand. And it turns out that, not to be clichéd, but seeing is believing. As a species, we think in visual terms. Showing you something is an easy way to help you understand something.
That’s something that we like to think we’ve brought with us to News Stream, from demonstrating the scale of the flooding in Queensland to talking tech bubbles in Mandarin, we believe the best way to help you gain a deeper understanding of a story is to find a way to show it to you.
Our obsession with visuals goes deeper than that, though. Even though we are a TV show, we pride ourselves on limiting the amount of video we show (relatively speaking, of course). We believe that showing older pictures over a new story may distract from any updated developments; your eyes are saying “that’s old” while your ears are picking up something new.
There is also the power of a still image, and sometimes a great image can capture the scene better than any video can. That’s why I’m extremely proud of the News Stream set. With two standard LCDs and a big touchscreen, it allows us to showcase great still images and give News Stream a distinctive look. (It's also big enough to fill the screen with dancers.)
The News Stream set was created in one weekend by our excellent technical team in Hong Kong, built into a corner of the existing set. It speaks to the other element that to me makes this show unique: This is a show designed, produced, written and presented out of China. Hong Kong, China; but China nonetheless. No other daily news show on our network can claim that. We do strive to produce a balanced show without a slant for news from any particular region, but much like our passion for technology stories, it would be wrong to ignore that part of our DNA.
Looking back at all the work it’s taken to get to this point, it’s hard to believe we’ve had 100 shows already. Our target from the start was to produce a smart hour of news that uses technology to give you a deeper understanding of the day’s stories. I think, on the whole, we’ve hit that target... but I am a bit biased. So now it’s over to you. Have we succeeded, and where would you like us to go from here?