I was a News Trainee at the BBC when I first read Hodgson's book. One of my most vivid memories is crouching behind Moira Stuart's desk in the TV Centre studio, frantically pressing a cue button as she read my evening news script about the Indian cricket team's arrival home after winning the World Cup. It was only a 30-second or so snippet of random shots of firecrackers and airport crowds, but the raw footage didn't arrive by satellite until a few minutes before the bulletin went on-air. I stayed upstairs in the newsroom, writing my deathless prose while a colleague sat a couple of floors downstairs in the editing suites, watching the pictures come in and talking me through them over the phone so that I could work out where to put words and where to leave pauses. I never actually saw the footage until the bulletin went out. Crazy. And draining too. It all went well in the end, but I began to realize TV was never going to be my idea of interesting work.
For all the minicams and the other technological advances of the past decade, reporting on television in the 1980s is still a little like what one wit called it in the early days: writing with a five-ton pencil.