IT is just in last week's edition that ZNBC received some considerable accolades for the close-to-excellent workmanship behind the live transmission of the opening of the 3rd session of the 11th National Assembly by President Michael Sata.
It was indeed a good effort worth commendation and if anything worth sustaining by the outside broadcasting crew of the national broadcaster.
However, despite the good works exhibited at this national event which was away from the ZNBC studios, the below par syndrome seems to have seriously continued creeping into the studio-based broadcasting of ZNBC.
If anything, studio-based programmes are supposed to be less challenging compared to the mammoth tasks aligned to outside broadcasting.
This comes in the wake of the weekend's news broadcasting by Chilufya Mwelwa and Mary Magambo. The two ladies were exposed to considerable embarrassment at the hands of directors and camera men on duty that particular day.
Unlike the smooth and professional transition exhibited during the opening of the National Assembly, where directors really proved ZNBC is not lacking in anyway, a mediocre kind of workmanship resurfaced when the two said casters were reading the news.
Could this be a matter of pure laxity by the directors of the news and the camera operators on duty?
For instance, there was a moment on the sports segment when Febby Sakala was supposed to be in the main casting frame reading sports item headlines but the director had wrongly switched the camera to Mary Magambo instead of Febby.
Mary had to be professional by repeating the transition.
This platform would in this vein stand to defend the two casters, Mary and Chilufya, as it was purely not their fault that the cameramen and the director on duty failed to correctly switch to the casters who this platform stands firmly to defend.
As if that was not enough, the issue of the teleprompter seems to still be a great challenge for the national broadcaster as the said ladies would be seen switching from hard copy to a teleprompter.
To be honest, Chilufya is excellent when it comes to casting from the teleprompter.
Now still on the news, this platform would like to commend ZNBC and ZANIS for the newly introduced ZANIS news. This is good for the national broadcaster though some ZANIS reporters are simply too raw.
The pronunciations of words by some reporters whose names we will withhold for now seem to be a serious issue that ZANIS needs to address. Otherwise it is a good initiative!
Alluding to the superlative transmission, ZNBC's corporate affairs manager, Masuzyo Ndhlovu shed light on the broadcasting undercurrents of the day:
"Hi Sam, Commenting on our coverage of the official opening of the third session of the 11th National Assembly by Republican President Michael Sata, I would like to firstly say thank you for the commendation of our live coverage.
These are some of the great wonders that will come out of our refurbished Outside Broadcasting facility.
The production was well managed by our Special Projects Unit led by Melesiana Chibwe.
Chisenga Mumba and Loisa Mbatha-Kakoma also added colour to the production as they played the back ground roles as Executive Producer and Producer respectively with Faith Kandaba and Franklin Tembo Jr making live commentaries while Matala Nkhoma directed the entire coverage.
The production was well planned as the setting was the Parliament building and its environs, the guard of honour mounted by the 2nd Battalion of the Zambia Army as a squadron of fighter jets from ZAF roared past in their usual formation overhead.
The fly-past as is usually called was an outside event punctuated by a cultural panorama and music from the military brass band as part of the entertainment package.
Opulence was as electrifying as it was energising and the crew certainly had to maintain the event's flow so that there were no gaps and viewers at home followed each performance of the event timely.
Inside the building, we positioned our cameras in such a way that one camera was stationary for the Head of State as he delivered the speech and the other cameras were for the flamboyantly dressed Members of Parliament as cutaways.(Showing them from time to time).
This now calls for production discipline and proper planning for live events for us to deliver to the expectation of our viewers."
Indeed, it was a well-planed transmission but a question will still bounce back to you as to why such an excellent planning seems to be a major issue when it comes to the prime time news broadcasting as alluded to in preceding paragraphs of today's column . We would not ask more than this.
Now, another interesting mail came with a preference of anonymity of the author. It says:
" Hai Sam
Hope you are fine. I Just want to air my sadness and concern on the lack of research by our so-called sports presenters.
I was left wondering as to whether one Jason Dube from ZNBC does his research before going on air.
Without taking anything from his improved broadcast, I was left wondering as to how he can ask a Konkola Mine Police defender on his team's chances of winning the league when the team is fourth from bottom in the relegation zone!
Not only in the relegation zone but also 20 points off leaders, Zesco United.
Therefore, I would urge the comrade to do thorough research and save fans from fighting in bars because of such misinformation given on television as many people take what is said on TV as gospel truth.
Concerned fan and ardent TV review follower".
Thanks a lot, I believe the message is loud and clear to my brother Jason Dube who in my own opinion has a great potential of becoming one of the best sports presenter if he avoids such impractical lapses as observed by our anonymous contributor.
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