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October 05, 2006

A bit of a rant about Auntie

Writing about web page

The above BBC article suggests that people use technology but don’t understand the terms. Fine; but why present it in such an odd way? Use of terms like geekspeak and baffles are strangely pejorative. There has been a trend recently on the BBC website to try and present interesting articles in an exciting way that often misrepresents the fundamental character of what they are reporting on. It’s all a little bit too much like the filter that the tabloids put news stories through.

Take the article above. Something new is invented/developed then it needs a name! To be honest most of the names created – like RSS or podcasting or bluetooth – are very user friendly compared to truly technical terms like IEEE802.15.1. The core story, to be fair, is pretty interesting but the journalistic wrapper text seems to be creating a sense of outrage whilst searching for someone to rally against.

I like broadsheet newspapers because they at least make an effort to draw a line between reporting the news and editorial opinion. They don’t always succeed but at least they try (strangely enough, IMO the most partisan popular papers, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph are most succesful at this). Part of the fun of tabloids is that they just take a partisan position on everything and actually muck in. Given the BBC’s unique position, I just want them to report the news and then let their commentators take the offiensive one way or another. I don’t need to be told how to think by the context in which an article is presented.

It’s harder on electronic media to do this because pure news is given a much more prominent place than the op-ed columns (which tend to be blogs). If I want news I know where to look on the BBC website – if I want opinion it tends to be more hit and miss as links are moved around or only advertised when they deal with a major subject. I know next to nothing about jounalism (hey – see my blog entries! :-) ) but I guess every journalist wants to write ‘think’ pieces, however, in the old days didn’t they just have to report before they were allowed to give opinion? Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.

I know this seems like an over reaction to a minor thing but it ties into some other thoughts I’ve been having about how politics is presented by the media (particularly the BBC). I want to let these idea rattle around my head a bit more before writing about them properly.

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