Talking heads

God bless Alan Titchmarsh, gardener, broadcaster, writer, national treasure and all-round good egg, for putting into words many of my petty gripes about the BBC (and news broadcasting in general).

‘Do we really need two newsreaders in a 30 minute broadcast?’ he asks, and surmises they are there lest the viewer gets bored. Sigh! Then there’s the belief that they need a reporter ‘on the scene’, even when reporting stories where there is ‘nothing to see’.  But here’s the best bit:

On a more serious note, there is the danger of conjecture. This is a scenario that has been exacerbated by “rolling news” – the erroneous assumption that the viewing public want to see people on screen talking about the day’s so-called “news” 24/7. First thing in the morning, early and late evening will suit most of us nicely, thank you, coupled with the morning paper over breakfast and brief bulletins on the hour on radio. Rolling news is there for one reason only – to keep those in the news department busy and to make them feel more important.

My mother’s old maxim that “a trouble shared is a trouble dragged out until bedtime” is nowhere more proved than in rolling news. And when facts are thin on the ground, someone who knew someone who knew the uncle of the victim is bound to be persuaded to give their two-pennyworth. Tell us the facts and move on, please; hearsay is best passed on over the garden fence – or by those who wear black at the Groucho Club.

Hear, hear (and a sensible woman, Bessie Titchmarsh, I might add).

I’ve said it before, it was a revelation to hear news about Fukushima from NHK Japan and Russia Today.  Facts and old-fashioned reporting, not the Beeb’s style, where they wheel out opinions at the drop of a hat as if we need others to show us what to think.

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9 Responses to Talking heads

  1. Verity Jones says:

    In the same vein:

  2. Bloke down the pub says:

    But…. what would Auntie do with all our millions if they shut down rolling news?

  3. grumpydenier says:

    I don’t watch the BBC News Channel very much as you get the same story repeated endlessly with much padding to fill the time up. Too many Hmms and Errs and paper shuffling. Change to subscription base not Licence Fee, that’s the answer,

    • Verity Jones says:

      A few years ago I was canvassed by telephone by someone doing a survey on consumer attitudes to digital BBC subscription services. The guy was almost speechless when I said the most I would pay for access to (all) BBC channels was about £2/month. He kept coming back with, “But ALL channels, not just BBC1?” “But what about BBC News?” LOL.

  4. PeterMG says:

    The good old BBC, so many annoying habits these days that it’s difficult to know where to start. We know what happens to the licence fee, juvenile news coverage, mostly inept topical documentaries that always miss the point, sometimes by light-years not just miles. A complete dumbing down of nature and science programs that can at times be intellectually insulting.

    But when it comes to the news the most annoying thing they do for me is to interview their own correspondents, rather than those involved on the spot. And if we do get a third party interview we already know it’s going to “back up” the opinion of the correspondent. This devalues the news content to the point where people most take no notice of what the BBC say, and only watch the news to get a register of what happened that day. ITV and Sky are little better, although they don’t have the same level of institutional bias of the BBC. But at the end of the day it’s not the bias that the problem, it’s what is always left out of the news that’s the interesting part.

    I refuse to have sky because I refuse to pay a penny to football. I would love sky sport so I can get live international Rugby and Cricket, but given that choice is not available without first paying for the football it’s no deal. At some point in the future when I have returned to dust I sure real choice will one day arrive. The BBC may become but a shadow of what it is today, and footballer’s salaries will return to normal as broadcasters are stopped from forcing everyone to pay for something they don’t use.

    • Verity Jones says:

      Pretty much the same chez Jones. It is so reassuring to find my family is not alone in thinking this. So many of our friends seem to have swallowed the BBC propaganda so wholeheartedly they’ve stopped thinking, and the rest like football ;-(

      • PeterMG says:

        The day after writing the above about Sky sport I see they are to lose the football. It will be interesting to see how they restructure their sports offerings.

      • Verity Jones says:

        Ah such things go right over my head. I do enjoy a good rugby match and quite like to have cricket on on the background (radio coverage is particularly evocative of sunny English summer days), but rarely seek out sport.

    • Bloke down the pub says:

      If you get BT internet you’ll be able to get their new sport channel for free.

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