I used to love What The Papers Say when I was growing up. Today, I’m happy to catch the press panel on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, or even Emily Maitlis saying “let’s whizz through tomorrow’s papers” on Newsnight.
Now that we have rolling news and can access any story any time, it seems quaint that broadcast programmes still run slots reviewing the papers, or that journalists even talk about tomorrow’s headlines. But they do – and shows still hinge around them.
The papers review slot in BBC Worklife comes right in the middle of the running order, with business interviews and international reports on either side.
Last Wednesday, I was invited in to choose the stories. Here’s the recorded programme (available for 21 days – the papers slot is 12’30 minutes in).
Worklife goes on air at 0830. I got up at 5am to read through the news websites and pick out a couple of tech or media related pieces. It’s a business show, so no straight politics. And obviously they want to talk about something fresh and interesting.
That meant wading through all the pre-election coverage , and weeding out repetitive content (seems there’s always a report somewhere in the world that finds social media causes eating disorders/ depression/ anxiety).
Short but sweet
A car came at 7am to take me to new Broadcasting House. I had a short time in the Green Room then it was into the studio to chat to presenters Sally Bundock and James Reynolds. Luckily, the studio is small, so it feels strangely cosy.
We discussed stories on Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepping down from running Alphabet, and the Twitter storm caused by the British Journalism Awards’ all-male political reporting shortlist.
It was a lively discussion but over in 5 minutes! I was home by 9.30.
I wonder how long these slots are going to continue? It can’t be that long before “headlines” become simply “trending” or “gone viral”.
Newspaper circulations have been falling year on year since the early 2000s. I’m sure there’ll always be a place in the future for a nicely produced print-out, but unimaginable for us today in terms of its design and functionality. Possibly more Daily Prophet than Daily Mail.
Research carried out by Revealing Reality last week (and published in the Guardian) showed that less and less of us are consuming our news through mainstream sources.
We spend 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on average on our mobile phones. And increasingly, our news comes from friends or associates sharing content through social media apps. Yes, Facebook ads are a problem, but so, increasingly, are user-generated memes and conspiracy theories. We look for entertainment over news and share links without clicking on them.
Whose news is it anyway?
Andrew Keen was right. The monkeys with typewriters are taking over. In this new world, the power of a single headline to unite people is fading. Our news consumption is already fragmented and silo’ed. I imagine at some point we’ll all be walking round in our very own virtual realities, projected by chips in our brains or some kind of headset.
So, these newspaper review slots? Let’s enjoy them while they last!