See part 1 here
But wait, the influence of the BBC is expanding into the print media. Many local newspapers are owned by a very large media company called Newsquest which owns lots of regional and weekly newspapers, employs about 5000 people and is itself owned by a very powerful multinational.
Why, you may ask yourself, is the BBC expanding into a media that is dying, with local newspapers struggling to maintain circulation figures a shadow of even 10 years ago? Not that it bothers the BBC you understand, as since 2018 they have funded to the tune of £8 million a year, the local democracy reporters scheme. Part of the Local News Partnership between the BBC and the News Media Association, since its launch in 2017 it has recruited journalists nationwide who are deployed in local and regional newsrooms – known as their “host publisher” – reporting to editors of local papers, while their salaries (a minimum of £22,000 or £24,000 in London) are paid for by the BBC, which is now, wait for it – asking private sector companies to cough up as well. Good luck with that one!
Numbers of L.D. reporters could grow after an expansion of the scheme was recommended by the Cairncross Review into the future of ‘high-quality journalism’ in the digital age. Our local newspaper carries stories by our ‘local democracy reporter’ on such riveting issues as a cycle race; the closure of a Scampton RAF airfield, home to the famous 617 Bomber Squadron was reported by another. All good stuff of course, young talent is to be supported and encouraged, but since when did the taxpayer support private commercial concerns that are failing in the digital age, and I fail to see why a cycle race needs the input of a local democracy reporter.
Maybe this quote explains why the BBC is involved:
James Cain, based at Reach’s Teesside Gazette was reported as saying he believed the scheme is a “good use of the BBC’s money” because it helps people understand what and who they are voting for on a local level.
That’s it in a nutshell then. You people out there that actually don’t buy newspapers in enough quantities because they are not what you want, need us, who do know what you want, to help you understand how to vote at election time. You couldn’t make it up.
Watching the media twist and turn and scrabble around is like watching the dinosaurs of the retail sector slowly – or in some cases quickly – die, they know that the market is changing and don’t have a clue what to do about it. Just who buys newspapers apart from those with a lifetime habit? Newsagents have almost all gone from the scene, class divisions between the tabloid red tops and the broadsheets have disappeared, the only difference now is the length of sentences and – if you are very lucky – better grammar, most resemble the weekly magazines of yesterday, with endless articles on supposed celebrities, footballers and their wives and partners. Harry (the one formally known as Prince) has filled pages and pages of print with the latest royal saga, which at least has taken the heat off Uncle Andrew for the moment.
On daytime TV presenters fall out with their co-presenters in a quest, it seems, to out-shock the shock jocks of years gone by, presumably to regain the Jeremy Kyle show audience which I understand has now found an outlet on ‘social media’ where some ‘influencers’ have hundreds of thousands of followers. Some group-think developing there then. Can’t have the proles thinking and talking for themselves, can we, and all free supposedly, all done without a ‘charter’, a license fee or a mission to educate and inform and entertain. Are you listening BBC? It seems not, why should it when you have £3.75 billion to spend on your message and that of the government when it suits? How long before more regulation is called for and where will it emanate from? I give you three guesses …
Travelling around the country and listening to what ordinary people are saying about the media in general, let alone the BBC, you hear what correspondents and reporters are missing, mainly because so certain are they that their views prevail everywhere they continue on in their lazy and often incompetent way, talking to their own echo chamber, ignoring in their arrogance and complacency what viewers and readers are saying. Something so basic that one wonders what these journalists actually learn on their media courses.
A cub reporter on an old-style local weekly paper (when we still had them) could have told them. You who wrote obits, reported court cases, reviewed the local hostelries and without fail attended football matches and other sport events. Eventually you may have become court reporters or crime reporters, sub-editors and editors, often the bane of local councillors and police chiefs. All this without being a democracy reporter subsided by the taxpayer – and guess what, they could actually tell readers the local and national feeling on any particular topic better than any ‘focus group’, ‘poll’ or ‘survey’. Most could spell too and do research, and didn’t report the total drivel that politically-correct leaders spout today when interviewed by a TV reporter, which has so often been clearly scripted for them by some public relations minion as to be totally unrecognisable as a ‘meaningful’ or ‘appropriate’ statement or even something that bears any resemblance to the English language as spoken by ordinary people.
Now that social media is coming of age, how does the fourth estate respond? Click-bait headlines, shock, horror, reporting often inaccurate and as transparent as their hysterical claims that any news not reported by them is ‘fake news’, anything that does not meet their political viewpoint is right wing, fascist or just not fair.
Boris or one of his advisers seems to have woken up to the fact that the media is behind the curve. Certainly his address to the nation speech made by his own team and uploaded to the internet seems to have ruffled a few feathers, as do his various decisions on who speaks or what can be said to the broadcast media. ‘It’s just not fair’ screams the media. We are your font of knowledge, our left wing multi-cultural globalist views are what you should believe, we are important people and the government must answer to us. Not really guys. We have an established way of holding the government to account; we just did, have you not noticed? Guess what, all over the world the times are changing and the media – supposedly at the cutting edge of driving news events and opinion – is just not getting it.