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Home > Language Network, Grade 8 > Chapter 30 > ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: Letter to the Editor—Virtual News
 
   
Return to book index Chapter 30 : Critical Thinking Skills
ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: Letter to the Editor—Virtual News

ANALYZING AND PRODUCING MEDIA: Letter to the Editor—Virtual News

Net News
The Internet is changing the face of news as we know it. Once upon a time, people depended on newspapers, radio, and television to find out what was going on in the world. Now, however, you can visit the official Web site for most news stations, newspapers, and magazines, and access up-to-the-minute news online. Many Web sites for national news stations, such as CBS, NBC, and FOX, allow you to watch daily news reports right on your computer.

A Virtual Reporter
Other advances have also been made. In April 2000, Press Association Limited, the national news agency of Britain and Ireland, started a Web site that features Ananova, the world's first virtual news anchor. By clicking on the site listed below, you can watch video of Ananova reporting on the latest-breaking news.

Ananova is very different from human news anchors. She's 28 years old, and she has short, green hair. If you want, she can deliver news that's been personalized just for you. That's like turning on the TV and having a news anchor report only the stories that interest you and leaving out the rest!

Is it just code?
Of course, real people and computer technology are what make Ananova possible. Real-life journalists investigate and write the stories that Ananova reports. Thanks to computer technology, these written reports are transformed into Ananova's spoken words. Computerized emotion tags help change Ananova's voice and facial expressions to reflect the mood of different stories. For example, if Ananova is reporting on a serious story, she will have a serious tone and expression. On the other hand, if she is reporting on something funny or amusing, she might smile or laugh.

Ananova has created quite a stir in the news world. People, especially real-life journalists, are wondering: What will this do to the future of news? Will viewers get their news from a computer? What does that mean for the jobs of human news anchors?

Visit Ananova's site to help you form your own opinion about this issue. What do you think about the concept of getting news from a virtual anchor? What are some possible problems with this? You may also wish to browse the network news sites below to find online video of news delivered by human anchors.

Write your opinion of virtual news in a letter to the editor. In your letter, you may wish to compare the reports delivered by Ananova to those given by real-life reporters. Which do you prefer? You may also try to answer the following questions: What is the future of news? What other changes do you think people might see within the next 10 years? Consider submitting your letter to the editor to the Language Network Writing Center