Mike Vickers' Blog

April 22, 2011

Need to engage brain before going to press

Filed under: Journalism — derryvickers @ 10:05 am

Lesley Riddoch in an article in the Scotsman on 14 March considered that too much undigested news was flying around the media space.  I agreed and wrote the following –

“One picture is worth a thousand words”.  No it isn’t –you can take the ‘Big picture’ in 1 sec – it takes at least 30 mins  to write a thousand words that make any form of sense.  It can take a poet  weeks to write 500 words.

Lesley Riddoch states that the BBC TV is now ‘primarily an entertainment medium’ and she is right, but that’s because it feels it needs to compete with commercial television which has to be for entertainment because it needs its sponsors.  If Chris Patten changes this, that’s all to the good .

Not that the Scotsman is much better – on Monday it had 8 pages on the Japan disaster of which 5 pages are pure pictures.  There is a little real analysis on a possible nuclear melt down but it’s the pictures that come to the fore.

We live in a world where the instant image counts for everything.  Lesley hopes for analysis and I would strongly agree but it’s not going to come from Television unless we resurrect Lord Reith.  If we want more, then a better hope is the Radio.  The best analysis I hear on Radio is ‘From our own correspondent’ and this is almost ‘a sideways look’, and in retrospect.  ‘A Point of View’ is good too.  A very good programme is Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’ but then we have to wait at least 100 years to get this depth of analysis.   But I digress.  Lesley praises Twitting but this is just another instant snap shot with no possibility of ‘analysis’.  I commend to readers an article by Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian, another columnist – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/22/internet-learn-to-turn-off?INTCMP=SRCH in which he decries Twitter as ‘damaging our ability to concentrate for sustained periods’.  Ultimately if we want ‘analysis’ we need an article at least of 6 pages.  Time Magazine does some good articles with a reasonable degree of objectivity.

And by the way all the moving Big Pictures on TV and in the papers have pushed back the fighters against Gadaffi into the middle pages of Monday’s Scotsman but to be true with some degree of analysis.”

OK – times have changed and Gadaffi is back on the Front  but for how long and has there yet been an in-depth study of the causes and possible outcomes of the war?

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