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Local News: Remembering Your Last Crush Before Giving Up on Love

This was an interesting title I used for a few Instagram posts. I thought the sarcastic title would sell eyeballs. I think it did it’s job. What I mean is, what was the last time you saw a good looking newscast that you had faith in before corporate came in and ruined it? Or another chain bought them or what have you?

In this example it was KHOU in Houston nearly a decade ago. I also include the Belo group as a whole, because the overall mission of the company was to provide meaningful quality journalism. Sister station WFAA in Dallas, was one of the first stations in the country to provide enterprise (investigative) journalism. And most of the Belo stations had a tendency to follow up on stories that previously went on their air.

As I mentioned on my Instagram post, Hothaus a Dallas based graphics design firm redone the graphics packages for many of their stations. Hothaus unlike Giant Octopus, does not do much CGI but a lot animations of abstract objects.

What made this look special?
  • Elements “that you could lick it” the late Steve Jobs said about visual “eye candy” elements on Mac OS X; in this case the live bug, the little headline like “Bush 41 Released” slug; etc.
  • High stimulation. Stingers had in your face, catchy sounds, and you can go crazy with seeing the effects
  • Had a European look with the American security of character limits, and NO squeezes! Producers at the Belo stations were good enough to write enough words that could fit to the screen.
  • A lot of abstract sexiness. Some of the early Belo packages had a softer look, but in later updates, had some 45° shaped objects floating on screen (especially on the full screen and side shoulder graphics)
  • The open had a propulsive energy for KHOU (yes pun intended). Screaming local news in The Sprit of Texas where journalism is big there too.

One of the things I liked about this package (that no other fanboy would mention online) was it had a European look, you know the highlighted text, or the look CNN had in the late 00s.

But what made this package unique was it had the security of an American styled graphics package of character limits and two tiered banners on the lower third.

A screengrab of KHOU 11 News at 4 in 2013.
One of the elements of the lower third. There was no squeezing of text. Producers at the station knew how many words could fit in a banner, assuming they had no more CG operators.

A lot of abstract sexiness was also seen in the Hothaus Belo package…

One of the variants

Stingers were really sexy and had the highest sex appeal I could ever see in a graphics package. If anything that made this package rock so hard was the 3 second effects going to a live shot or to a break. A lot of this visual stimuli was snappy cutaways, and other quick in and out effects. In a lot of ways the fast paced nature of the effects made you pay attention. (A really nerdy sidenote, one of the KHOU stingers, I ripped from the Tube I have on my iPhone’s message alert. The sound has a nice high strung tone, but I would recommend it with caution.)

This lower third would tell a short story, but KHOU nixed it in a late March 2013 update, using the dual tiered lower thirds to like more decent.

The open to KHOU 11 News just had some the highest sex appeal in the entire chain. WFAA was a bit subtle, sexy but not as gutsy, and smashing in your face with visual stimuli of abstract sexiness. Again throw in Propulsion theme package and it kickeda– big time

This open I had captured before the original YouTuber, Houston TV News lost their account, but is now resurrected under Houston TV History

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