The frustrating habit of televised press conferences.

Personally, I find televised press conferences extremely frustrating.

Have you noticed that the networks put a mic on the person being interviewed but neglect to have a multidirectional mic to pic up whatever question the interviewee is being asked.

ESPN is broadcasting at this very moment a press conference style interview of Joe Mauer, the Major League Baseball AL MVP. You can hear Joe speak, but you can’t hear the questions from the press crews. I see this in the political area and entertainment world also. Very frustrating.

There is very little you can do to pick up good audio for audience questions. Reporters are simply not going to wait for a mic runner to get to them before asking a question, you can’t give each one a mic, they’re not going to queue up behind standing mics, no single mic is going to pick up broadcast-standard quality audio for an entire room of reporters, nor would a human-controlled shotgun or parabolic mic.

The best solution is hanging choir mics (a group of tiny little mics hanging from the ceiling), but that is something generally built into a room. The production conference room I ran had a section in front of the stage with mics built into the conference tables. Even when they weren’t pumping feedback into the room they were a bitch to isolate a voice on the fly.
All the other solutions I can think of require a load of money, time, or space to use, and just not always available on short notice.

Sometimes you do hear the reporter’s voice in the middle of their question when someone gets a mic in range.

One more thought on edit: It’s only recently that press conferences were viewed regularly by the general public. They are only now shifting away from catering to print media.

In the case of presidential press conferences, it’s the White House staff who handles all the arrangements. The TV networks mic their own corespondents, but the poor print reporters in the back get the leftovers.


At school, my class is recorded so that online students can experience the lecture. I’m not 100% sure of the equipment involved, but I know there’s these large, plastic, rectangle shields hung from the ceiling that catch all the sound in the room. From what I hear, they work pretty well. I wonder why press conferences don’t use something like that to pick up sound. Mabe they don’t want to pick up every murmur?

Moving thread from IMHO to MPSIMS.

The number of peole who will show up is not known in advance. And often, the hosts do not want the public to hear those questions they don’t want to answer. So there is unlikely ever to be a time when you routinely hear everything at a press conference.

Having been to WAAAAAY too many press conferences I must point out there is an awful lot of background noises; people talking, moving, bumping, exchanging tapes in cameras, print photogs with their digital cameras making REALLY LOUD ARTIFICIAL >CLICK< >CLICK< sounds as they take pictures because they can’t stand the idea of not making noise and screwing it up for us video jocks!

Whoops - pet peeve here.