Friday, February 25, 2005

News Values

I was watching Tony Blair's monthly press conference today on BBC News 24 when they cut away to cover a statement about the Pope. This told us little that was new or dramatic, just that he was breathing unaided and had eaten breakfast. Then there were questions following the statement. Then a reporter standing outside the hospital. Then interminable commentary from guest Pope experts in the studio.
I switched to both Sky News and ITV News Channel and they were doing the same. By the time they returned to Blair's press conference it was almost over.
Yesterday BBC News 24 got so excited about the Pope going into hospital that they even put a caption over the poor weather forecaster.

If the Pope has died that merits a newsflash. If the Pope has been assassinated or has ascended into heaven on a cloud in front of the television cameras more extended coverage would be acceptable. But Pope is still alive and has eaten some breakfast?
More important than Blair being questioned by the media and making an announcement about an increase in the minimum wage?
Oh, for fuck's sake.


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