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Sunday 13 December 2009


I have noticed recently, what is for me anyway, a disturbing trend.

I have always liked to try & keep up with the latest happenings in the world of news & current affairs. But, that is becoming increasingly difficult. It appears that all anyone wants to concentrate on & talk about these days, are trivial stories & celebrity/entertainment gossip.

My usual way of getting my daily dose of news is via the BBC.
That may be via their website. My home page is actually the BBC news site & also by watching the BBC news bulletins.
I am an avid viewer of their 6 'o' clock bulletin for example, during the week anyway (by the way, does anyone, apart from me, call them bulletins any more?)

The BBC has always been held in high regard for their news reporting & rightly so.
But, what i have noticed over recent months, is an increasing emphasis on & drift towards the trivial.
For example, on one 6 'o' clock bulletin last week, there were "news" items on Tiger Woods mother in law being taken to hospital & the upcoming X-Factor Final. Now, for me at least, that is not what i call news.

I saw another great example, just today, on the BBC news website. Admittedly it was under the Entertainment section. But the main headline was "Millions to watch X-Factor Final"
Now to me that is not news, but more information, or even just plain promotion. The same kind of reporting has been used to "promote" BBC reality TV shows, especially Strictly Come Dancing.

"News" is usually defined as "a report of a recent event"., or something very similar.
Now i do realise that telling the public of an upcoming event can be newsworthy.
For example, the recent coverage of, what was then, the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.
But, even then, the reporting is more conjecture & guesswork, than real hard factual news.

This whole problem is part of a general dumbing down of news.
We are all presumed to be gagging for more & more celebrity gossip & trivial news items. Whilst this may be true for a part of the population, the rest of us want to hear what is really happening in the world at large. That is becoming increasingly harder to do.
There are plenty of TV shows & magazines that report & even specialise in the reporting of celebrity gossip & the best if luck to them i say. At least if i buy one of those magazines, or watch one of those TV programs, i know what to expect.
But, i don't wish to be subjected to that kind of reporting whilst watching, what is supposed to be a serious TV news bulletin.

Another problem, i believe, is the emergence of 24 hour TV news channels.
These 24 hour news channels obviously need something to report & talk about, to fill their shows. So, they've found that the celebrity angle is a good one to go down.
There is always some celebrity who is doing something that might be considered newsworthy by someone.
It is also cheap programming. They can just cut & paste something from one of the celebrity gossip magazines that are so prevelant. Or even from the tabloid press, who also seem to revel in that kind of "news".

Whilst i concede that my views may well be in the minority & that i might also be accused of being old fashioned. I do feel that this issue is having a wider effect.
Children are growing up without being exposed to what i would call "real" news.
Those world events & stories that i grew up seeing on the TV news bulletins, are just not reported so widely nowadays. The result of this is that those children & a great many adults too, are not learning about the world as i did.
Ask a child today to find Iraq, or Afghanistan on a map & i doubt that they could do it.

Whether we like it , or not, world events affect us all & events during the past decade have illustrated that to great effect.
Celebrity & entertainment events will never have that same impact.

We would do well to remember that in the future.


  1. I read something very disturbing today, that more people voted on the X-Factor final than the last General Election, AND paid Simon Cowell for the privelige! Maybe it's time to turn our politicians into reality TV contestants, at leats more people would get involved.

  2. I'd not heard that statistic, but i can well believe it. Although it's a little frightening, it just shows that politics needs a shake up, especially amongst the young.
    Simon Cowell for PM? (don't worry, i'm joking!)