Thursday, July 26, 2007

There was a comment on my previous blog entry. Someone asked about my 'obsession' with Newsround.

Newsround isn't the only programme discussed here. In fact ironically the comment is posted on a blog entry which concentrated on Blue Peter and Biddy Baxter. Sometimes this blog also criticises adult programmes - Jonathan Ross being an example in my blog dated 7 July 2007.

I did choose to deliberately target Newsround because it is a news programme and, as such, should be subject to the same standards of impartiality as other news programmes. Adult news programmes may, as the comment says, be unenlightened when it comes to gay issues, but they do report important lgbt-related items like the introduction of civil partnerships. In addition the main BBC News website usually helps to make up for less important lgbt stories not covered in detail on TV news.

I think that Newsround is in many ways an excellent programme. For example the day after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister most of the 'adult' news programmes were still giving wide prominence to Mr Brown and his Cabinet appointments. Newsround, however, concentrated on the flooding in Hull which was affecting people there in a very real way.

Then on 6 July 2007 Adam was reporting live from Toll Bar, warning kids about the dangers of infection from the flood water. The issue wasn't covered on other programmes at the time. And the report was very well done with Joanne, an expert from the Environment Agency, there to carry out tests and explain the dangers from flood water. Some newspapers only headline the dangers today.

The 'Creative Future' initiative, which sought to narrow the target age range of CBBC's audience (blog 16 July 2007), was a very big mistake. In the case of the flooding news, for instance, is it right that only younger kids, but not teens, should be warned about the dangers of flood water just because the BBC says they aren't part of Newsround's target audience? Isn't the water potentially a danger to kids of all ages?

The point of having a children's news programme is surely that it should be relevant to children, and the problems they face in life and in school. Many young people in Britain were, and still are, affected by flooding, and that's why the programme was right to lead with it in the early days.

ChildLine's report last year made clear that many are affected by homophobia (See blog on 3 September 2006), so why not properly report that story too? The BBC says, in its Statements of Programme Policy 2007/2008 that it has a duty to be inclusive, but it has not lived up to the promise - on Newsround and on CBBC in general. It also says it is "committed to reflecting the diversity of the UK audience." CBBC has actually become less inclusive since the 1990's, and more recently some of the thinking behind 'Creative Future' has only made things worse.

If Newsround is not the issue, then what is?

Only a few days to the start of Pride in Brighton & Hove.

The main event is the Pride Parade on Saturday 4 August 2007. This year the event will include a demo as part of the BYC campaign to Stop homophobia in Poland.

No comments: