Friday, August 31, 2007

Checking facts

Newsround on BBC1 yesterday began with a story about the "Black Pearl." Ross, 12, had visited the attraction in Torquay and realised straight away that it was a fake - a different ship altogether. Sonali said "Twelve year old Ross begged his mum to take him to see the ship, and paid £7.50 to get on board." So it seems he paid for his own and his mum's ticket, because according a local newspaper story adults are charged £5 and children £2.50 to board.

On Monday I blogged about Jeremy Paxman's lecture to the Edinburgh International Television Festival. This (YouTube video) is part of what Jeremy Paxman had to say about blogs: The problem with blogs is the same as their strength: they don't operate by conventional journalistic rules about checking facts, and they're unencumbered by any thought that there might be more than one side to a story.

So, in the interest of fairness and truth I have in most cases provided the source data for the facts here, or links to it, so anyone who wishes can check the story.

In Tuesday's blog I said: ".. However in the BBC's attempt to impose more rigid age limits on children's programmes as part of the 'Creative Future' strategy, it will inevitably lose that second option of dealing in reality - both the positive and negative sides of reality. ..."

Thinking about it, there is no reason at all why the loss of reality in programmes is inevitable in those circumstances. Fantasy has its place in programmes as well of course - but it should play second fiddle to reality.

Finally, on the subject of checking facts I misspelled 'Showcomotion' in my last blog.

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