I have a problem with ‘news’. It’s simple. Most of it isn’t.
Most mornings especially, the so-called ‘news’ consists of a headline announcing what’s expected to happen later, another item about what they think someone is going to say and, perhaps, a third piece about something that happened twenty years ago.
As it happens, something interesting DID happen on this day not twenty years ago but in 1922 – the news itself. Or rather, the first broadcast of it by the BBC. It was intoned by one Arthur Burrows, pictured here looking very dapper (but you’ll notice NOT wearing the DJ of myth).
Anyway, I bet his bulletin wasn’t brim full of conjecture. And I bet it didn’t go on for three hours, either. In fact, back in the day, newsreaders (who were just that, not journalists) even dared to suggest that certain items shouldn’t be read out on the airwaves. I’m afraid I can’t remember which BBC announcer was sacked for daring to ask ‘does the country really need to know this?’ about an item reporting that the King had had a peaceful night’s sleep but sacked he was!
Pity. Because I think that’s what’s wrong with news reporting these days. Too many journalists with a vested interest in sucking the blood from every story and too few announcers (with such wonderful, honey-rich voices!) with the nous to know what we, the listeners, want to hear.
Bring back Richard Baker. Or Robert Dougall. Alvar Liddell…