Friday, December 11, 2009

The BBC Trust has been under sustained attack this year. The latest to join the onslaught was former BBC Director-general, Greg Dyke. In the Royal Television Society's Christmas Lecture on Wednesday, Greg called for the BBC Trust to be abolished with regulation handed to either Ofcom or a new public service broadcasting watchdog.

The BBC quotes a spokesperson for the Corporation as saying the Trust was "getting on with the job of making sure that the BBC delivers for licence-fee payers ... These were personal remarks made by Greg and he is entitled to his opinion."

In my submission to the Trust's consultation on children's services (see blog 16 August 2008) I said explicitly that the Trust acts in cahoots with BBC management. Since then the Ross/Brand debacle starkly exposed the Trust's failings - it came across as lumbering and ineffectual. If the Trust had chosen to carefully and dispassionately analyse Mark Thompson's overall performance as Director-general they would have found ample grounds (see previous blog) for a no confidence vote.

The Trust's past subservience to BBC management has cost a great deal of public goodwill, and left the Trust in peril of its very existence.

There have been loads of interesting and sometimes surprising items on Newsround this week, including a presspack report on shotguns, and Ricky reporting about an anti-pink campaign. The week kicked off with an environmental story.

Monday's programme began with a report on the climate change summit in Denmark. Newsround is not sending a reporter to Copenhagen to cover the Summit, because apparently they are concerned about their carbon footprint. Leah said that if she had travelled by plane from London to the Danish capital, the journey would have created double the amount of carbon dioxide which she normally produces in a whole week. On Wednesday Leah took a look at how much CO2 is produced making one day's worth of Newsround programmes.

Considering all the interest in CO2 emissions, it was very disappointing that nothing at all was said regarding the environmental consequences of travelling into space when Hayley reported on Tuesday about Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo.

Also on Tuesday's 5pm programme we saw Ricky reporting about a campaign against the colour pink -

Sonali: Now we're talking colour. I am totally loving pink at the moment, but some people are annoyed that toy shops are selling too much pink stuff for girls. What's wrong with that? Well Ricky's been looking into this for us.

Ricky: Grace loves a bit of pink. Most of her toys, clothes and even bedroom are completely covered in the stuff.

Grace: This is my favourite blanket, because it's warm and cosy and it's Hannah Montana.

Ricky's report also included Abi Moore from Pinkstinks. Abi believes that a lot of toys for girls are old fashioned - all kitchens and cooking and princesses and fairies.

On Wednesday Leah read out one message from the published feedback -

Leah: Yesterday we told you how some people are angry with toy shops who sell loads of girls clothes and toys, pink. They reckon it will make all children grow up thinking pink is a colour only for girls, and their Pinkstinks campaign is being backed by an MP. Well we got loads of emails from you on this, and Sophie told us 'I don't think pink stinks' and she also points out that it isn't just girls that like pink, boys do too. So thanks for getting in touch on that online.

Monday's programme covered the Go Go Hamster safety controversy, which is just as well considering the amount of positive publicity Newsround had given the toys as its first news item on 10 November 2009 at 5pm. The manufacturers say that the toys pass UK safety tests.

Shotguns are somewhat more dangerous than Go Go Hamsters. But nevertheless using them for sport was the subject of a presspack report by 12 year old Victoria, who has been using them since the age of nine.

No comments: