TVU: Trend or Sign of Broadcast Times


TVU back pack live truck


Take the TVU!

Before I head out on any broadcast piece, my managers are always yelling this from the assignment desk.  If you are not familiar with what a TVU is you should be.  A TVU is a portable, wireless electronic news tool that allows you to broadcast from almost anywhere.  In other words, it is a live truck shrunken down into a back pack that you can carry to remote areas.

There is no doubt a TVU makes you more mobile.  You can go places where you can’t pull cable.  Here is proof:

Last October, I stumbled upon breaking news with my photographer.  A 50-plus car pileup on I-75 south near Sarasota.  We jumped out, left our car and headed toward the heart of the accident.  And, if you watch the video, you will see what ensued.  We were live in the middle of the pileup and could walk viewers through the scene.  Every other station that showed up was a mile away doing stagnant live shots from the shoulder of the road.  Instead, we were walking, talking, showing and conducting live interviews.  In the end, our coverage ended up winning us a National Headliner Award.


Below is another example.  Typically, crews are left going live outside the airport … you usually have enough cable to get you close to the drop off area or arrival pickups.  The TVU allowed me to retrace the man’s last steps in  the airport.


There is no doubt TVU technology is in its infancy but its potential is astronomical.  That being said, there are kinks that need to be worked out before we can say bye to live trucks.  If you have ever worked on TVU, you know that your signal is dependent on wi-fi and cell towers.  Sometimes in rural areas, maintaining a strong signal is impossible–and there goes your live shot.
Not to mention there is a 4-5 second delay.  That means your producer must be on their feet and cue you early…then wait til your package is nearing its end and again cue you.  Trust me when I say it can throw you off to work this way.

But, these are all minor issues.  I believe the TVU is like the first form of a computer….fast forward a decade or two and now computers can fit in your back pocket.  Without a doubt, TVU is here to stay and will only improve over time.

Jacqueline Ingles is a multimedia journalist for WFTS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tampa, Florida. She specializes in crime and courts in Pinellas County. She writes, shoots, edits, and fronts her own work while doing also doing all of her own web work. Prior to WFTS, Jacqueline worked for almost three years at KXAN in Austin, Texas, as a one-woman-band MPJ. While in Texas, she covered the devastating drought and wildfires. Jacqueline’s work appeared numerous times on CNN during her time in Austin. Jacqueline also worked at WCTV’s Valdosta, Georgia, bureau and at MTV News as a political correspondent during President Barack Obama’s campaign. A native of Chicago, Jacqueline received a masters in broadcast journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She also graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University-Chicago. She held two internships at WBBM and WLS in Chicago. Her print journalism work been published in the Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Syndicate, Beep!, and the New Mexico Free Press.


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