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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In the news

The Western Mail tells us that a new report has identified that the BBC’s network news programmes are failing to cover events in Wales:

The corporation set up an inquiry last year following allegations that Wales – and the other devolved UK administrations – were poorly served by its UK network operation, such as flagship news bulletins fronted by Fiona Bruce.

But with a full draft of the review expected to be taken to the editorial standards committee shortly, it is understood to have found the BBC is not providing sufficient coverage of UK events outside England.

I met the authors of this report on behalf of the Assembly Commission when they were taking evidence for it and made it very clear that there is huge dissatisfaction at the lack of understanding of the devolution process by the BBC and other news agencies. I have lost count of the number of times that English-only initiatives are reported as applying to Wales as well. I have now taken to formally complaining whenever I come across an instance of this.

I think that there is a case to argue that such errors are not born out of ignorance or lack of training but just sheer laziness on the part of the journalists concerned.
Hee! Hee! I can't resist. Once you start leaving comments somewhere - you just can't stop! :-)

I guess it comes down to how you define "to cover events in Wales". Does this mean Wales "as a whole" or just the Principality as "viewed through the Welsh nationalist" agenda? In many ways BBC (Wales), The Western Mail and ITV (Wales), shoot themselves (what a good idea) because they do not provide output that appeals enough to viewers in Wales, let alone beyond Wales. For example, with the greatest respect, I don't think people in The Home Counties are going to be interested in coalition building on Gwynedd Council. It may excite those failed national journalists who can only find work in the local Welsh media, but does it have wider resonance. Ummm. That's a big no, I think.

Perhaps if BBC (Wales), The Western Mail and ITV (Wales) improved their performance and raised their game - all their top "quality" news stories would then be selected for national coverage. Ha! Ha! Ha! Well, one can hope. Remember, most local journalists work locally for a reason - not one they are likely to boast about.

Whenever I am in Wales I also watch the English news for this reason - Welsh news is just so dire and gives the impression of being overly "agenda" laden. Who is interested in how many councils Plaid Cymru controls? Wow! Who is interested when the Welsh Assembly is given "more amazing powers" just to act within United Kingdom laws. Amazing! Who is interested in the poll that says there has been a 1% increase in the number of people who want to walk to work backwards? Yippee!

Anyway, I clearly exaggerate here (I think) but you all get my snow drift. The Welsh media needs to become much more representative of our modern Wales, more diverse and open, whilst also ditching the agendas that some journalists here clearly have. At the moment it is all monotone, one tone, one agenda - rather like too many of the politicians in Wales. In many ways it is like listening to a stuck record - one stuck in the nationalist heydays of the late 1960s. I've always called it "the snooze news" - excellent for a tea time nap or doing something else near tea time that rhymes with nap.

Rather than complain about the sea (the national media), local journalists and politicians (the boats) should just give us ALL a good reason for getting on board their little ships - by sharpening up their act. Mind you, from my experience of "Welsh" media, it would do itself a big favour if it just cut the Welsh egos, that seeming willingness to create and shape the news (rather than just report it), and also the tedious "Wales versus England" point scoring that does goes on. I bet we have had none of those point scoring games whilst crawling to the English Beeb bosses in London.

Rather than expecting special treatment from a soft touch, taxpayer funded joke (that is called the BBC), why not go to a national private sector media provider (like ITV or Sky)? Why not make all your demands for coverage there? Are you afraid of the reply? I'm sure they'll be entertained by all your Welsh news and the fun and the games of the "I can name only three" Welsh politicians - but "sadly they are all dead". If you are lucky enough they might notice you and then supply you with the actual revolver - to do that decent thing.
Hey, Peter, I've just been e-mailed the running order for today's Wales News Tonight.

Top Story: Planning permission granted for new shed in Aberdare.

Second Story: Fury at top Welsh council as councillors discover their debating chamber might have been designed by an Englishman.

Third Story: Row erupts as Prince William drives past Welsh people as he enters Wales in a car.

Join us tonight between six and seven for more. :-)
Oh, sorry, I almost forgot to mention.

Don't forget to join us tonight as we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Brecon Windsurfing Club, LIVE from Trecco Bay. Not only that but our own Welsh weather presenter will be there, Irritating Getin, and he'll be on hand to judge Trecco Bay Silly Shorts Day.

Don't forget to join us. :-)
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