Suggestion for VD's debate
Junk News is the UK news media letting us down ? Ratings versus the True Picture
I came across the story of last weeks listeners suggestion about the role of science by accident, pity I missed it. Now the question of Junk Science has been reported it's about time we talked about Junk News. Coincidentally there are now more Media Studies graduates than physics graduates. Travelling around the world I have come to realise that UK people have a strange picture of the world
I used to like the in depth and expert opinions and considered reporting which seem to have been replaced by more immediacy. This is very relevant for me cos I am one of the people who recently stopped listening to Five Live due to a decline in standards. I think there is a problem with editors going for Ratings versus the True Picture and it's important to all your listeners.
The media can be said to have 2 roles : to give a true picture with what's going on in the world and to get ratings or sell copies. Travelling around the world I have come to realise that UK people have a strange picture of the world. UK kids have more knowledge of David Beckham's new haircut than of real situation in African wars where millions are dying.
And do they have a true picture of things happening at home ? When the office of statistics releases figures showing that many people die falling down when changing a lightbulb, or tripping over their doorstep the media just laughs about them. But that is the real world.
We hear about the 2 children who die each year from paedophiles and not the 200 EACH DAY who die from other things. On this planet 300,000 people dies each day 200,000 prematurely, 100 million have dies in wars since WW2 and 5 major wars are happening at any one time. We hear about deaths Iraq, but 8 million die in Congo war unnnoticed.
In Iran 20,000 people die each year in road accidents A Muslim comedian was asking the other day where all the Muslim stop the war protesters were when Saddam Hussein was waged war against 4 out of the 5 bordering countries. 1.5 million people dies in the Iran/Iraq war. But it all to easy to understand a blogger when he assumes that the west has killed many Muslims, when in fact many many MAGNITUDES more Muslims are killed by other Muslims .. usually their own than governments. I guess editors think some things are too difficult to tackle "let's move onto another celebrity story.
"Prince Charles has 7 boiled eggs lined up in the morning" ..oops Now we hear that Prince Charles doesn't have 7 boiled eggs lined up in the morning !
This shows the other agenda in modern newrooms the rush for immediacy .. FIVE LIVE. with the emphasis on the live. "Rolling news rocks" :
It's all to easy to go fo the cheap techniques of "Boy in a Well". I bet most of the public don't know what "Boy in a Well" is. Going live to press conferences, then constant speculation for hours and days. I would prefer FIVE CONSIDERED where reporters take the time for all the facts to emerge and check the perspective before they report. Programmes like Radio 4's From our own correspondant or Five Live Report where the interviews are recorded and edited to the essential facts are much better than the battling live interviews. I guess of course it's much cheaper to be live instead of having 2 hours edited down to 15 minutes, but does that repect the listeners time.
What is it about all this celebrity tittle tattle. "The public demand it Put Princess Diana on the front of a newspaper and they will sell more copies". But I would argue that there is a huge mass of people who don't buy newspapers any more at all cos they are sick of the tittle tattle. Can we not have the radio or TV equivalent of Hello Magazine instead of all mixing up the trivia with REAL NEWS.
I can't stand the news programmes banging on and on about something especially when the editors agenda seems so out of perspective like the Princess Diana's Death hysteria and last weeks is Tony Blair going to resign story. Look at the internet and you will see that most people were saying SHUT UP stop banging on about this non story
- Sensationalism e.g. climate change stories will report that drastic catastrophe stories, but not the possibility that very little might change.
Should journalists resist the temptation to sensationalise and give more time into explaining complex issues instead of just "banging on".
Doing real research takes time and money, but it seems all to often editors are resorting to creating news, with tehniques like the Agressive interviewing techniques like Today's John Humphrys, often successfully getting the interviewee to say something they didn't want to say. Is this acceptable ?
- Bad news is reported more than good news. Do we end up with an overpessimistic view of the world. I am constantly surprised like things like : when I went to the hospital and they saw me straight away. As the Health Service is supposed to be in crisis isn't it ?
Normally the media seems to be up it's own arse. Instead each news programme or newspaper making up it's own agenda and going to find the stories, it seems their first step is to look at the other media to see what they are saying. As a result the choice of headlines seem to all be the same. Also there is the issue of being so London- centric. Look what happens when one of the media's own is involved a blond newsreaders death receives blanket coverage for weeks, a Top Gear presenter accident receives hordes of attention while the 50 other serious accidents that day are ignored
Are the editor saying "Let's not tackle that issue it's too difficult" or "No we haven't got time to cover a complicated story like that" So instead they run with Junk news... Chris Tarrant is divorcing his wife.
This superficiality in the media fueling the blame game instead of giving us the depth that will help us find solutions. e.g. It's easy to get Stop the war protestors to shout at Tony Blair., but actually, but it doesn't get them anywhere nearer their goal. Depth would help them find things like a face saving way for Blair to pull the the troops out himself.
Suggestions for interviewees
- The Today Programmes John John Humphrys or Stephen Nolan to talk about "does agressive interviewing" do any good
- a Tabloid journalist to answer ask them about doorstopping and whether the public really like celebrity stories
- Some from the Independent to ask them about their new alternative agenda.
- Blog expert - about people moving to other media, You-tube, making your own radio etc
- Some Movie person - ask them whether people grow up with a distorted view of love..when every film shows the lead finding a compatible woman and true love in 20 minutes
- heaven forbid get in a psychyolgist to answer the question "are people being brainwashed"
Ask them if they are morally letting us down by not giving us a true picture
English people so stupid. Don't seem problems in depth
Junk news... Chris Tarrant is divorcing his wife.