As a young boy all our important news came over the wireless. Listening in during the war on one of those large, round, brown, bakelite radios to the steady, clear RP delivery from the BBC was de rigeur.
The BBC and particularly their world service were unparalleled. And while I did not appreciate it at that time I was also gaining the use and pronunciation of new words.
That continued when television arrived. Entertainment and the ‘swinging sixties’ wrought changes that over the years resulted in the generally poor delivery and content that we receive today.
Pronunciation is often faulty, words and even whole sentences are swallowed by the presenter particularly at the end of a report or comment.
The news content is never reliable to the extent that if the BBC does not like something it does not feature in their news programme. This is particularly noticeable now on what is supposed to be their flagship channel, News24.
Who or what is Victoria Derbyshire? Is she the news? No. Instead of news we get a mixture of documentary and some sort of current affairs/general discussion. This means no news. There may be very important news breaking but News24 is not providing it.
This is the latest manifestation of how the BBC cannot make up its mind about what to do with news.
When News24 started I imagined that we would be getting a whole new approach with a constant feed of all the new news coming in. The BBC has been very determined to let us know that ithas reporters stationed around the globe in all the important places so that wherever news breaks there is a BBC man or woman on the spot and able to give us up to the minute reports.
Sadly the BBC is often beaten to it by other broadcasters.There arose a feeling that News24 did not quite know what it should be doing. This became clear when those Chilean miners awaited a rescue. Reports about their plight were relayed as normal with other news until the day when the possibility of rescue using that remarkable tube arose.
From that moment on News24 became a live feed regardless of actual progress. Even after the first two or three miners had been brought up safely we had to watch while nothing was happening.
Then there was the excrutiating period when Tim Willcox (sent there because he can converse in Spanish) had spoken to anyone and everyone there yet London insisted he carry on speaking to them again instead of returning to the newsroom and other news.
Of course that Chilean mining disaster was news, but it was not (then) a documentary. The hours dragged by until we could guage the time span between one miner stepping out of that tube until the next one arrived. Make the tea; eat dinner; read a book – when looking at the screen again it all looked exactly the same.
Surely an editor or manager could see that there were gaps that could usefully be filled with other news. Once we knew the miners were being rescued all we needed to know then was when all had been safely brought to the surface.
Then there is the constant repeating of what has already been said. Only this week I watched part of a debate in the House only to have the presenter repeat all that the MP had said over the comments of the next MP.
There have been other examples I will not record now. Of greater import is what news we are offered today. I never wanted to seek news elsewhere but I find I am forced now to do so in order to see all the other news out there. So I have very reluctantly found it necessary to seek news on sites such as Sky (ugh!), Aljazzera, Russia Today, CNN as well as intermittent news on our other channels.
It seems the BBC wants all of us to get our news online. If so then what is News24 going to be for?
Online is useful but not everyone can get it and it does not give us all the news. It is easy to miss one small comment behind which may be a lot of interesting news.
We are paying for the BBC yet we are not allowed any input. Despite the disasters within the BBC they carry on doing exactly as they wish.
Is it not time we started to protest?
by Peter Bray
Please do let us know your views on the issues raised in this posting. Ed.