Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today there was another one of those Newsround stories about how much food people can stuff down themselves - this time it was hot dogs. The report on the 2.55pm programme lasted 1 minute 30 seconds, including the lede. Ironically, unhealthy food can't be advertised during children's programmes. So an advert for hot dogs wouldn't be allowed on the commercial channels.

Former Newsround editor, Tim Levell, considered some of the issues surrounding eating competitions in his blog last year. Heinz (see blog 26 June 2008) was a sponsor of the hot dog eating competition, and the Heinz logo could be seen several times throughout the report. A Heinz press release last year said:

“Heinz Ketchup and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs go hand-in-hand and represent an American food tradition that is worth celebrating, especially on the Fourth of July,” said Dave Ciesinski, VP of Heinz Ketchup. “By sponsoring the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, we’re able to reach an international audience and celebrate the love of hot dogs with people around the world.”

The story was controversial because it publicised bad eating habits and made light of the dangers of overeating. A more appropriate news report for a British audience, and more in conformity with PSB Purposes 3 & 4 (see blog 10 April 2008), would have been the Pride event in London today. The BBC needs to prove in practice that it is committed to reflecting the diversity of the United Kingdom.

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