RTÉ unveils €25,000 television news ‘redecoration’

‘More contemporary’ graphics and standing sports presenters part of refreshed bulletins


RTÉ will tonight unveil a new design on its main news bulletins, with the team behind the changes describing the look as "warmer", "more contemporary" and "less abstract".

Billed as "a redecoration rather than a renovation" by presenter Bryan Dobson and "a refresh rather than a complete revamp" by executive producer John O'Regan, tonight's Six-One will see the debut of a new opening credits sequence, "subtle" lighting changes and more colourful graphics and backdrops.

The refresh, which cost RTÉ about €25,000, also includes a reworking of composer Ronan Hardiman’s title music, which will become a little less thunderous and more upbeat. The bad news for sports presenters is that they will be standing up during midweek bulletins, not just on weekends.

And one formality has been dispensed with altogether.

The Six-One bulletin will no longer feature a booming voice-over man declaring "it's Six-One, RTÉ News with . . ." as the camera pans the studio.

“The ‘voice of God’, as we call it, is going,” said Hilary McGouran, managing editor of RTÉ television news. Dobson was pleased not to be going anywhere.

“When I hear we’re getting a new look, the first thing I want to know is will I still be sitting in the seat when the new look is done, or will I be new-looked out of it,” he said.

The credits sequence shows a white-hued spinning globe that focuses on regions of the world such as Australia and North America before settling on Ireland and Britain, which are pictured in blue.

"The thinking was that we have had abstract graphics for the past several years, and it was timely to return to more literal imagery of Ireland and the world," said O'Regan, who worked on the project with production designer Marcella Power and outside experts.

The two main bulletin backdrops used in RTÉ's Studio 3 are provided by a specialist company called Barco, which installed its digital "wall" during a complete rebuilding of the studio five years ago.

A blurry “newsroom” backdrop sticks to the recent blue-and-white theme, but also adds red and purple into the colour mix.

“I should point out it’s not the real newsroom, so you can’t see anybody doing anything they shouldn’t,” said Dobson.

“This is how we would like the newsroom to look, rather than how it actually looks,” said O’Regan. Since 2009, a “skyline” backdrop has been used on the late evening bulletins, with a brighter sky for summer months and darker sky for winter.

These have been refreshed so that there is more depth and colour in the images.

Presenter Eileen Dunne gave her approval to the changes. "I love it – 2009 was a big move forward for us, because that was when we got a proper set. Before that, it was just a desk on the floor."

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics