Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Going Underground

Tube strike, what tube strike? Congratulations on national BBC TV news last night for hardly mentioning the tube strike, big boo's to BBC Online who had it as a second lead.  Yesterday there was a tube strike in London and it had an impact on commuters and tourists traveling through or into London but as an interesting national story it didn't, as the hacks in Fleet Street I used work with would say; 'have legs' which by the way were the very thing I used to get to Euston from Liverpool Street yesterday.

When you work in a radio or TV newsroom and something personally happens to you it can be easy to use your own influence on the event.  I hold my hands up in guilt, in years past if I got stuck on a train through delays I would not only call up my radio stations travel centre and get them to bump the news of my train delay up but I have also been known to call my chums on 'other' stations to really give the rail company a good kicking.  Was it editorially justified? No it was not.

So how do you decide whether you should run with a story like a tube strike? The first question to ask is how universal is the story? How many of your listeners or viewers are affected by it?  Heavy snow is a great universal story for local radio and TV but again a flake of snow in London gets national coverage whilst 2 foot of the stuff 'up north' doesn't bear a mention.  The answer to that of course is where do the Editors of BBC and ITV national news live?

So just how many Londoner's were inconvenienced yesterday? And how interested were they to hear or watch wall-to-wall coverage?

Finally on ITV News London last night a plucky reporter was standing 'live' on London Bridge trying to ask passers by about what they thought.  They just pushed past her intent on getting on with their lives as usual.  I wonder if someone in the gallery was thinking - perhaps this isn't such an interesting story after all?  (Pic above Bob Crowe RMT Union Leader)

1 comment:

james said...

Hmm. On average there are three million journeys. The tube strike materially affected more people than anything else in the news that day.

There are 7 million people in London. That's more than the entire population of Scotland. Yet Scotland has its own version of BBC1 and BBC2, doesn't have ITV at all (it has STV instead), and has Scottish versions of all the major newspapers. Odd, isn't it?