Middle East Crisis: Lower Third Experiments

By Brian 

Fox News Channel and CNN are experimenting with new graphical treatments during the Middle East crisis coverage. The cable channels are increasingly placing logos with titles like “Mideast Turmoil” and “War Bulletin” in the corner of the screen. They’re also trying on some alternatives to the typical “Breaking News” or “Fox News Alert” banners. Generally, I think FNC’s presentation is more coherent. Click continued for a full dissection…

FNC is trying to grab the attention of viewers by animating the red bar at the top of the chyron. The bar frequently rotates between “DEVELOPING…” and “mideast TURMOIL.” Other times, the “FOX NEWS ALERT” bar flashes red and blue (“like a police car,” an e-mailer says). It’s a nice touch. Other times, the net uses a “MIDEAST ALERT.”

FNC is also using the clock format favored by The Fox Report across the net. The clock sits in the lower left of the screen, just above the FNC logo. Also, Hannity & Colmes added an H&C logo to the lower right a while back. Now On The Record has a logo too — it’s a spinning globe that rotates between “On The Record” and “mideast Turmoil.”

CNN is using some of the same elements, like a clock (sometimes on the lower left, sometimes on the lower right) and a “MIDEAST ON ALERT” tab. (At least it’s better than “BREAKING NEWS.”) Like FNC, CNN’s primetime shows are becoming fans of logos in the lower right corner of the screen. Paula Zahn Now uses a silly “TOP STORY” icon sometimes. Anderson Cooper 360 has been using the logos for months, and they’ve taken it to a new level lately, with titles like “WAR BULLETIN” AND “CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: DAY 8.”