All entries for Friday 30 June 2006

June 30, 2006

24hr News – Why not on the radio?

BBC News 24 and Sky News are both pretty popular. They don't get massive ratings, but that's because people tend to watch them for very brief periods at a time.

But why isn't there an equivalent offering on radio? The situation is even worse during the World Cup, when the closest available option (BBC 5Live) broadcasts almost constantly about Lampard's strike rate (or more recently) who's going to beat Federer.

Someone I spoke to bemoaned the fact that there's barely any news–at–length beyond 7pm at night, when most newsrooms have long gone home. Yes, there's hourly bulletins on many stations, but 5Live invariably goes to a football game (even outside the World Cup).

So with 24hr news so popular now, why can't we get something similar on radio? Why is sport so much more prevalent.

How not to be John Humphreys

Jon Snow's giving a perfect demonstration of how to defeat your interviewee without resorting to Humphreys–style incredulation. The interview went something like this:

Jon Snow: How does blowing up a Palestinian power station help you get back the Israeli soldier?
Israeli spokesman: (Answers a different question)
Jon Snow: It's a simple question - what's to be gained from blowing up the power station?
Israeli spokesman: Well it's easier for us to capture him if there's darkness.
Jon Snow: Surely it's easier to smuggle someone around if there's darkness?
Israeli spokesman: Er… umm… (Answers a different question again)


Besides which destroying a power station (Gaza's only power source) which will take six months to rebuild (not that the Palestininans can afford it) is perhaps going to cause considerable damage to the Palestinian people (no power = no clean water) when one soldier's life (paid to potentially sacrifice his life) is at stake.

Also today, there's been a bit of a debate over whether the BBC should say the solider was 'captured' or 'kidnapped'. Personally if it's a soldier, then it's sort of an 'act of war', so capture sounds appropriate. I prefer kidnapping to be used solely in relation to civilians, as using it in relation to soldiers would slightly diminish the power of the word. But then it's a bit of a non–debate – I don't care which is used and am sure the same term would be used if it was a British, American or an Israeli soldier.

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