Over the last two days there have been incredible pictures coming from Japan with the tsunami and devastation from the earthquake. Really incredible pictures. But could you see them? Or were there just too many graphics (banners are what they are called in TV jargon) on the screen? A lot of what is done on TV newscasts is nothing but an irritation to viewers-- and I am speaking now as a viewer, and not being a TV reporter and producer. The TV news producers put things on TV because they can. They have "storm watch" and "market crisis" and "crisis watch" with more faces in more squares than the "Brady Bunch."

TV newscasts change pictures, and split screens, and carry multiple videos on one screen because they can. I was watching a car chase on one station the other night that split the TV screen in two so that they could show the "live chase" as well as "earlier chase scenes" and the result was I couldn't see either one of the pictures clearly on my TV.

Your TV newscast can now have two or three videos at one time on the screen along with graphics and a running crawl (text) with more news on the bottom of the screen plus another graphic showing time and temperature in one corner, and the station ID in another corner, and a headline for an upcoming story in another corner, and a big red banner across the screen that say "Breaking News." All of this at one time -- and it looks like news for those with attention deficit disorder.

No wonder so many of us go to the Internet for our news -- where news is easy to watch. We can pick our text and pick our video and see it clearly. With TV newscasts, we literally have to look through a forest of graphics to see a tree -- which is the video we really want to see.