One camera, big picture

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 20, 2012 1:14:50 PM PST
We often have rather lively discussions about the definition of "good television." In an age of "caught on camera," and with surveillance videos just about everywhere, our sense of what surprises us continues to chance.

And the bar continues to rise. Or, depending on how you view it, maybe that bar continues to drop.

Regardless, we are often consumed with camera shots and great pictures, when the truth is that "good television" is anything that captures our attention, and imagination.

On the surface, the funeral service of Whitney Houston on Saturday figured to not be good television. One camera. That's all that was allowed in the Good Hope Baptist Church in Newark, and it was in the far rear of the church. Not exactly how a full production of the service would be handled, with cameras everywhere, getting audience reaction and lots of close-ups.

But the service transcended what we've come to think of as "good television."

It was more than that. Much more. It was riveting. There certainly were many people who didn't watch a lick of the service - which ran from about noon to 3:45 p.m. Not exactly a quickie.

But there were just as certainly lots of people who did watch it. I turned it on - and it became one of those rare events for my household. We left the TV on till the end.

Maybe it was because sorrow was on display. So was raw emotion, and a glimpse inside a cultural and religious event that is rarely televised, except in snippets.

We got to see the service in its full, non-snippet form. Maybe our focus on pictures and great video is sometimes overblown. Whitney Houston's funeral proved that all it takes is emotion - even from one camera angle - to make people stop and watch and drink it all in.

I'm just sayin'.

Now to tonight's 11 p.m. newscast.

Our Phil Lipof takes a look at the way many people are now trying to re-navigate around Manhattan, after the recent toll hikes and with the economy still wobbling. Money's tight, so rather than pay tolls, some commuters are trying to find short cuts around them.

Does it work? And to save $10 how much extra time does it take? My father used to do the calculation of how much money in gas it would take to drive to get a better price on some item. It was a smart equation - because it took into account how much he'd spend on things that normally wouldn't come to mind, like gas. Or his time. That's worth something as well, right?

Anyway, Phil has an eye-opening story, at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports, including yesterday's big win by the Jeremy Lin-led Knicks over the World Champion Mavericks.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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