I read something today that made me sad and worried at the same time. There is apparently some discussion taking place that could see the BBC News Channel moved to purely an online output. This is at a time when the BBC is under pressure to reduce costs and review the service it provides.
It would be a dark day if the only way to access BBC news is through the Internet. The fact that you can access updates about events around the world through your television is something I believe is incredibly important. Of course the world is moving on and people access TV content through computers and access websites through their televisions. The reason I am bothered about this is that there is a generation who don’t understand about how news is gathered, shared and how to evaluate it.
In recent weeks I have been able to talk to young people considering careers in journalism, public relations and the media. They have shocked me by how unaware they are but also that they don’t seem interesting in questioning things. I remember (not that many years ago) when I was a teenager I would want to know how the news is gathered, what makes a good story, why do we hear about some things but not others, how can I trust what I see, hear and read in the news. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be something that potential communicators are considering.
For me news has to be at the centre of life. It has to be something discussed with friends, it has to be in the conversations with work colleagues and it should be in the centre of our homes – inside the television. It is my hope that if we can introduce news channels into our daily lives then we will be informed but also take a critical interest in what is being covered. I am concerned that communications may struggle to evolve and develop if the next generation are not able or willing to question.
We all need to encourage people to take notice of the events around them, to be interested in what is happening and above all to keep discussion about news within our front rooms.