Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How About A Little News Before Your Pop Idol?

EVEN THE BBC NEWS is having trouble retaining an audience these days. And to solve the riddle of declining viewership, the chairman of the BBC Trust is mandating changes to appease those who are too impatient to watch the full news programs. A 90-second news update will precede primetime programming in Great Britain.

"BBC news and current affairs must be made more accessible to 'low-approving' viewers," The Times of London wrote, paraphrasing the chairman.

It seems that Britain has the same issues as America, where 27 percent of the population under 30 gets NO NEWS AT ALL.

The most interesting thing about the Times article, in my opinion, is the end where they list the purposes of the BBC:

• To sustain citizenship and civil society
• Promote education and learning
• Stimulate creativity and cultural excellence
• Represent the UK, its nations, regions and communities
• Bring the UK to the world and the world to the UK
• Demonstrate the benefit of new communications technologies

It sounds so noble and altruistic. Do you think journalism in the United States lives up to such standards?

Is presenting 90-second news before regular programming "dumbing down" the news or is it a way of forcing the public to be educated?

1 comment:

Maggie Ricco said...

I think the 90 second bits will be beneficial - at least citizens will get some news rather than none. This is how I feel about the Metro. It's available for free all over SEPTA stations, the stories are brief, there are lots of pictures, and funny little blurbs to liven up the more serious stuff (like bear learns to rollerskate in China!). I often went on to read more thorough versions of articles printed in the Metro, so with the BBC, maybe the 90-second segments will entice viewers to get more news.

The stuff about "new communications technologies" is going to have to be for another time, but it's very pleasing to see this mentioned as a purpose of the BBC. The news (and a million other industries) must take new and different forms in this time when there is instant information gratification. Whew!