BBC News continues downhill
Posted by Polonius on 21 September, 2006
BBC News’s Web site is currently leading on the story of yesterday’s car crash involving Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond.
Let me say at the outset that I have no doubt this has been a terrible experience for Mr Hammond and his family. I am pleased to hear that his condition is improving and wish him and his family, friends and colleagues all the best for the future. But is this really the biggest news story of the day? It was the lead story on BBC1’s Breakfast Time this morning and featured prominently on Today on Radio 4.
Choosing and ranking the day’s news stories obviously involves weighing up a number of factors. If most of the readers/viewers/listeners are in the UK, then they are likely to be more interested in events close to home than, say, a military coup in Thailand. A story involving a familiar face (even if it’s only from TV), will attract even more interest. I can even understand that colleagues at the BBC, who may know Mr Hammond personally, may allow their personal feelings to influence their judgement as to the significance of the story.
But I’m conscious that too many stories about BBC programmes feature in the BBC News. I can’t be the only person who has noticed the preposterous number of “news” stories about Doctor Who over the past year or two. And I can’t be the only person who suspects the prominence given to this story is partly down to a particularly cynical attempt to plug Top Gear.