We live in the media age. We have permanent access to rolling news, something happens in Australia at 1:00, it could be being reported in the UK by 1:05.
I think we have a responsibility to keep up with the ongoing events in the world, as so many of them affect us either directly or indirectly.
I am possibly one of the most opinionated people I know.
And as such I have decided to create a platform for those opinions.
Yesterday Sky News reporter Kay Burley sparked complaints after
revealing live to a volunteer in the search for missing five-year-old April
Jones that this was now a murder enquiry and then asking her how she felt.
Previous to this, Burley had said a few days before that Sky
had a development which viewers would be excited about, before going on to
interview the estranged son of a man currently being questioned on suspicion of
April Jones’ murder.
Kay Burley’s tactlessness is already well documented, from
incidents such as her interview with Peter Andre, where she queried how he
would feel if Katie Price’s new husband might want to adopt his children, to an
interview she conducted with the wife of Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright, in
which she asked, “do you think that if you’d had a better sex life, he wouldn’t
have done it?”
Journalists are generally not known for their tact or
sensitivity, although it would appear that Kay Burley has a particular skill
for asking the most tactless and insensitive questions imaginable at the most
However, I can’t also help wondering whether the public’s
desire for rolling reporting of news events fuels the need for the Kay Burleys of
When a serious crime happens, Sky News are there, reporting
every detail as it happens, when it happens, regardless of whether it has been
verified as being true or not.Truth and
speculation are intermingled and after watching about twenty minutes of a
broadcast it can be impossible to know which are the actual facts of the case
and what is speculation handed to reporters by members of the public, many of
whom are often seeking their five minutes of fame.
And where there is Sky news there are the millions of viewers
who watch it, taking in every detail and speculating about it all amongst their
close friends and family.
Whether we like it or not news has now become the new
entertainment.It’s almost like reality TV,
except the participants are real people who didn’t actually apply to be there.
Yesterday hundreds of complaints were apparently made to Sky
News and Ofcom by outraged viewers, and #sackKayBurley was trending on twitter.But today I don’t imagine those viewers will
have switched news channels to the BBC in their outrage.Some will, some won’t, and some new viewers
will even go over to Sky to go and have a look to see what it’s all about.
Broadcasters should have a responsibility to broadcast
actual news in a sensitive way while at the same time still being informative.However we as a society also surely have a
responsibility to remember that the news is actually someone else’s life, which
we have been given an insight into purely because of the factors that have
brought them into the news in the first place, and not entertainment fodder
created by the broadcasters for our own edification.