Yes so this is caused by a few unfortunate happenings. Essentially the engine that the graphic has been played out doesn't have the right font installed on it. That wouldn't matter usually (because VizRT loads font in it's own special way) but unfortunately a setting in the graphic is also incorrect. The two issues fall between design and technical competencies, and so these things happen!
And when I say right font, I mean right version of the font. Reith is still being updated with new characters and some fixes too and periodically there's an update.
For VizRT to handle right to left languages and languages that do special things with characters we have to use a setting which looks on the PC's Font folder for the right typeface to get that functionality. That setting is on by default globally, in case an Arabic or Persian programme needs to come from any studio at short notice. But it can be switched off on a scene-by-scene basis.
So here, the graphic is probably looking for a font in it's Font folder that it can't find - because it's got a slightly older version of the font installed. When it can't find the right thing we get that gobbledy-gook. Not helpful!
The fix here, would be to change the setting in the scene or to update the fonts installed on the myriad of machines. Why wasn't that done already? Well...human error and the usual issues you get in all work places.
Also, this scene might be a special case that hasn't been used in a while. Journalists have a habit of picking things they are used to, irrespective of how old it is. This may have been built before the global font setting was applied. Of course, there's a lot of people not doing their usual shifts etc too. On average this doesn't happen a lot, but we get peaks when the font is updated and then these cases which slip through the net.
I think there's also a point to be made about issues with automated systems too though. Maintaining the systems, with the correct fonts and settings is boring, repetitive work that I think lends itself to things getting missed. This isn't industry or BBC specific at all. It most likely happens in your job. And we're not talking about 20 or so templates. There are hundreds, made at different points, serving three 24 hour news channels. And there's plenty of machines to update too.
In my mind, this wouldn't have gone on air if graphics operators we're still a thing, previewing in the gallery. When I was operating, I always made sure I saw graphics before they went out on air,
on the machine they were being played out on
. Automated systems make this harder to do. The theory is that all machines are equal, but in reality that is difficult to maintain. Dosxuk is right (and this is what makes these issues harder to spot), it may have appeared correctly on the preview engine if the same font issue is happening there too and then only fallen over when it was taken live.
Thanks for the insight.
It's great when we get insiders who are happy to explain these sorts of things.