Wednesday, 29 April 2009

#War 028- BBC's dumbed-down 'Six O'Clock News'

John Simpson joins attack on BBC's dumbed-down 'Six O'Clock News'
By Louise Jury Media Correspondent
Friday, 29 March 2002

The BBC's Six O'Clock News programme is coming under increasing fire from some of its most senior staff over its "tabloid" selection and presentation of stories.
The BBC's Six O'Clock News programme is coming under increasing fire from some of its most senior staff over its "tabloid" selection and presentation of stories.
John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor, added his voice yesterday to what has become a chorus of disapproval over the populist bulletins said to reflect the bright and breezy style of the BBC1 controller, Lorraine Heggessey. He told BBC news chiefs at an internal seminar that he saw "little point" in approaching the show's editors for funding to cover foreign stories because of a lack of interest.
His comments follow criticisms from the senior presenter Kate Adie and the former BBC correspondent Martin Bell, and persistent discontent from established BBC staff.
Ms Adie told a recent conference that the 6pm bulletin was becoming "increasingly tabloid. Health scares, education crises ... it's far more tabloid than it used to be".
Mr Bell complained: "BBC1's Six O'Clock News seems as if it has inherited the values as well as the audience of [the soap] Neighbours, which so seamlessly precedes it."
The programme has undergone a shake-up since the general election with the appointment of a new editor, Jay Hunt, who is regarded by critics as anti-intellectual and showbusiness-driven.
Insiders admit that internal dissatisfaction with the programme stems partly from her style of management, which has seen long-serving producers sidelined and promotions for favoured correspondents, such as Richard Bilton, the environment reporter, or the recently appointed entertainment correspondent, Robert Nisbet.
A BBC news source said: "They're not interested in international news, they're interested in silly consumery and showbusiness stories. They don't want anything complicated, so there's discontent from established correspondents."
However, Mark Damazer, the BBC's assistant director of news, insisted that Ms Hunt had done a terrific job. "She has taken the BBC news into territory that is important and interesting and valuable with real verve and panache," he said.
The style of Six O'Clock News took into account that people watching were often distracted by such things as children and tea-time, and the show had been adapted accordingly, Mr Damazer said.
"We don't want to make it unbearably facile, but we need clarity in story-telling," he said. "It is not that we've abdicated from foreign news on the Six or anywhere else – there's a lot of it around and a great deal of it is imaginative."
He defended a trend towards standing specialists in front of a video wall where they offered statistics and film snippets, saying it made good analysis easier. The technique was first used by BBC2's Newsnight, where no one had queried it, he said.
The BBC had sometimes been "sniffy" about showbusiness stories that it should have covered, he said. "When Kurt Cobain departed this planet, nobody in the news television room did it. We wouldn't make that mistake now."

No comments:

Post a Comment