Channel 4 traffics in Skype

As has been noted in this space a time or ninety, traditional media outlets beset by revenue shortfalls have been aggressively cutting costs -- and not all of these efforts have been invisible to news consumers. An example, and a likely harbinger of the future, turned up earlier today during Channel 4's strong morning news program. A Lynn Carey report about traffic conditions on this unsettled Monday was accompanied by footage transmitted via Skype, a product that allows users, be they individuals or companies, to communicate for free by phone or video.

Skype's technology is impressive and cost-effective, and more and more TV operations -- including Oprah -- are making it a regular part of their presentations. But it doesn't work in every situation. The Channel 4 traffic shot, as seen through the windshield of a car, was fuzzy and indistinct, the moisture-splashed glass and sweeping wiper blades reducing the world beyond to a surrealistic blend of lights and colors -- sort of like one of those montages from '60s-era teensploitation flicks meant to convey the effects of LSD. Talk about a bad trip.

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