You knew it had to happen, right? A local TV news station has gone “100% iPhone.” The station in question is based in Switzerland. Over the summer, Léman Bleu outfitted each of its reporters with an iPhone 6 kit to shoot their stories and to use for live shots.
News director Laurent Keller says Léman Bleu actually isn’t the first station to convert to iPhones; a Scandinavian outlet apparently has done it too. And he’s candid about the reasons why. “It’s a search for lightness and responsiveness, but also a way to reduce the costs of producing a newscast,” Keller told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.
What about quality? Keller says iPhone video is different but not necessarily inferior to what a standard TV camera produces. “It’s up to us to reinvent the grammar of the image, to learn to shoot differently,” he said. The technology allows the station to go live at any time from anywhere, either on the air or on social media. That’s important to a small regional channel that broadcasts only a few hours a day.
Could it happen here? Something like it has already been tried at the Fox station in Charlotte, where reporters were equipped with iPads. But the “experimental” newscast they were asked to produce was scrapped this summer. “Plagued by technical problems and relying on journalists with little experience, it had an amateurish quality,” Mark Washburn wrote in the Charlotte Observer. “Viewers turned away.”
The Swiss station may not be too worried about ratings. Unlike U.S. TV outlets, Léman Bleu doesn’t have much local competition so Keller says it can afford to innovate and take risks.
Thanks to Geoff Roth, managing editor at KRIV, Houston, for tipping me off to this story via Robb Montgomery.