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Dear PBS Newshour: Remove unnecessary onscreen text!

Here’s a message I sent via email (and Twitter)  to the PBS Newshour:

Dear PBS Newshour:

I have been watching your news show for more than 25 years. It is a fantastic source of news and commentary.

Recently you changed the look of your show. Nothing wrong with that.

However, on today’s program (July 29) I noticed that you have a chyron on the bottom left of the screen which rotates nonstop during the entire program. It shows two things: #pbsnews (the twitter hashtag) and pbsnews.org/newshour (the URL).

In theory I don’t have a problem with the display of either thing. But it is extremely distracting — so much that I cannot concentrate on anything else.

Actually you already have the newshour logo above these things, so either thing is actually unnecessary.

Also, do you you really worry that people don’t know the URL? You don’t even need to show that!

From your viewpoint, you may wish to publicize these things, but a lot can be said for keeping the screen clear of unnecessary information. Generally I have always appreciated the visuals for your stories and how un-glitzy your presentation is. Now with those rotating chyrons, though I am afraid I cannot look at the TV screen for any more than a minute before I want to throw a sneaker at it.

Let me stress that I don’t have a problem with captions or even the logo itself. But the URL and hashtag add nothing to the presentation.

Perhaps my reaction is atypical. I don’t know.

Here are some solutions:

  1. Show these things during the first minute of the story and then hide them after that.
  2. Lengthen the rotation time. Currently you seem to rotating every 10 seconds between the hashtag, the URL and nothing. It would help to put everything on a 30 second rotation instead of a 10 second rotation.

Please consider my feedback when you plan the visuals for the Newshour. Thanks.

Robert

P.S. Thanks for beefing up your climate change coverage. About 2 years ago it was fairly skimpy and you really didn’t choose good guests. Now it’s much better.

P.S.S.  I greatly enjoy the regular features (Art Beat, Paul Solman, Mark Shields, Education coverage, Ask the Headhunter). The Website rocks!

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