Sunday, 24 July 2011

BBC news values - missing in action

There have been a large number of major, horrifying news stories in recent days.  The Norwegian atrocity is the obvious centrepiece, given the extent to which the unravelling of the new Right's agenda across Europe could be facilitated as a consequence - the links with the British far right, and the contiguity of the views expressed by the UK mass media are perhaps worthy of further thought.

However, the BBC News channel on television is guilty of dubious editorial judgement.  To spend the best part of thirty minutes with dubious face-to-face interviews of people for whom the interviewer's questions were at best asinine and at worst callous, then twenty minutes on Amy Winehouse "still dead" shock-and-awe with the same visuals repeated time after time and half-witted "showbiz journalist" commentary is doing a disservice to the huge number of other key issues squeezed into around thirty seconds before the sport:
  • the apparent mass killings in a Stockport hospital;
  • the ongoing famine in Africa;
  • the potential economic meltdown caused by the American political classes reaching an impasse;
  • the consequences of European attempts to stabilise the common currency zone;
  • new revelations about the extent of media corruption; and
  • not to mention, the performance of the England cricket team.
Whilst "earthquake" journalism works when there's an ongoing news story (such as Murdoch before the Select Committee) what is needed is for concise summaries as well as editorialising to a "human interest" level.  Understanding the motivation of a serial political terrorist is much more important than "we're still stunned" or "how awful was it for you"?

Time to exhume Lord Reith, perhaps.

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