The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism: Just Wires and by Steven Barnett

By Steven Barnett

This booklet lines the historical past of tv journalism in Britain from its austere roots within the BBC's post-war monopoly to the present-day plethora of 24 hour channels and megastar presenters. It asks why a medium whose thirst for photographs, personalities and drama make it, a few think, intrinsically fallacious for severe journalism may still stay within the web age the main influential purveyor of news.


Barnett compares the 2 very varied trajectories of tv journalism in Britain and the USA arguing that from the outset a rigorous statutory and regulatory framework rooted in a trust in regards to the democratic price of the medium created and sustained a tradition of great, liable, actual and interrogative journalism in British tv. The book's overarching thesis is that, regardless of a really assorted set of old, regulatory and institutional practices, there's a very actual probability that Britain is now heading down a similar highway as the US. for that reason, Britsh public lifestyles should be diminished.

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It explores the growth and significance of 24-hour news channels, the role and continuing relevance of impartiality requirements, and whether the statutory and regulatory provisions which have sustained television can withstand the emergence of online and new media technologies. In July 2011, Britain’s national press was engulfed in an extraordinary crisis about criminal and immoral activities within the country’s highest selling newspaper, the News of the World, which reverberated around the world, threatened the whole of Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire, and raised fundamental questions about standards and ethics in print journalism.

Wyndham Goldie’s view was that ‘neither Tahu Hole nor any of his staff had the faintest idea of how to present news in visual terms’ and that they actually despised the television medium. 38 The BBC surely had to maintain its reputation for authoritative ‘hard’ news, but should the values of the television variant be subordinated to the entertainment needs of the medium, or should it maintain the highest journalistic standards even at the expense of the programme’s intrinsic attraction? BBC journalism after the 14-day rule To some extent, proper coverage of ‘hard’ politics was severely constrained anyway by a rule that forbade the BBC from making reference to any issue that was to be discussed in Parliament over the following fortnight.

Television was not an obvious medium for ‘doing’ news, and drama was television’s main preoccupation at the beginning. Plays could draw on a raft of experienced producers from the theatre and cinema, and a single production in a single studio could fill an hour’s TV with a minimum of fuss and expense. The transfer of journalism from print required different skills, and indeed a different concept of journalism from the partisan and opinionated approach of most newspapers. Most importantly of all, the need for pictures might compromise the authority of the institution.

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