Archive for the ‘Broadcast’ Category

Gordon Brown’s bigot gaffe

April 28, 2010

WTF was that all about? Seriously.

Sky News’ election debate and post-debate coverage was pretty good TV (but slightly painful to watch when Kay Burley was banging on about The Sun poll that said DC won). Today, Sky News’ credibility as a news organisation just nose-dived, but the worse it is, the better it is to watch.

Sensationalism will always win over more boring/factual stuff. With our tiny attention spans, the constant yellow ‘Breaking News’ banner is addictive, but when it says that ‘Gordon Brown is in someone’s house’ continuously for hours with a visual of some men in suits standing outside a house, it’s just not interesting or relevant.

I always turn to Sky News first because of the sensationalism and because it’s generally ‘first for breaking news’, but Bigotgate was really disappointing, especially after Monday when various news outlets said that we were going to finally have some proper focus on policy. The election is next week, but what do we actually know/understand about the three main parties’ policies? We know what the PWAGs are wearing and that Nick Clegg’s kids were stuck in Spain, etc.

PR spin for the Tories: GB is weak on immigration

PR spin for Labour: GB is actually a human being after all

The British public seems to like our ‘celebs’/role models to be fallible. In fact, we like to knock them down and then build them up (usually more than once) – e.g. Jade Goody, Cheryl Cole, David Beckham, even Jordan/Gordon/Katie.

It will be interesting to see the effect that Bigotgate has on the polls [and the election result in Rochdale].


The end of spin?

March 2, 2010

According to Sky News, the big three political parties and big three UK news broadcasters have finally agreed a deal on the live election debates! The first (of three) will be held in the North West, screened live on ITV. We’ll only know the dates once GB announces the election date. (Update: Independent “has learnt” that they’ll be on 15, 22 and 28 April)

Faced with a studio audience of 200 people, how will the leaders handle live TV  debates? PMQs should have given them plenty of experience, but it’s not really the same. The comms directors and press officers can prepare Brown, Cameron and Clegg as much as they want, but they can’t control what comes out of their mouths. Should be fun.

David Cameron is trying to take on a bit of the Obama election glow by ripping off the President with the ‘Vote for Change’ slogan. Dull, empty and uninspiring, especially when compared to Obama’s campaign. Then again, nothing is likely to match up to the last American election.

I had to read the Labour slogan two or three times before I (kind of) got it. ‘A future fair for all’. Is Gordon Brown inviting the nation to a big space-age fun fair? Would ‘ A fair future for all’ make more sense? Either way, it doesn’t really say anything apart from an overarching generic reference to fairness. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when the alternative is simply ‘change’. The Daily Mail points out that it was used 7 years ago, so definitely not new or fresh ––Brown-unveils-new-slogan–used-seven-years-ago.html

There’s no ‘New Labour New Britain’ equivalent this time, unless the Lib Dems surprise us with some profound wordplay.

So, with live TV debates and boring election slogans, are we seeing a clear, intentional move away from the ‘spin’ characterised by Alistair Campbell/Malcolm Tucker?

Na-na-noooo Dappy, you can’t do dat bruv!

January 15, 2010

PR #Fail of the day goes to Dappy, aka Costas Dinos Contostavlos (and therefore N-Dubz too).

I’m definitely an N-Dubz fan and always saw Dappy as the potential-ASBO one (Tulisa’s the girl one and Fazer’s the quiet one).

But I can’t understand why he would text a Radio 1 listener with abuse and death threats. You don’t need media training or an agent to tell you that you just can’t do that.

This is a real blow to N-Dubz’s reputation, especially after they helped launch Beatbullying (ironically, a campaign against cyber-bullying), which meant that Ed Balls (the Schools Secretary) got involved. His condemnation added a further news angle, so the story’s been picked up everywhere (and has been running for most of the day).

They’ve got lots of young fans so parents will be wary and they’re very unlikely to be asked to get involved with any more campaigns in the near-future (especially those aimed at children). Interesting to see the effect on their next few singles.

Then again, Kate Moss got caught taking coke and look at her now. (Plus, dubious quick PR win for the Chris Moyles show)

She said he was:

“a little boy with a silly hat”

He said she was:

“f****** chicken”

“dum f****** ****head”

[more seriously] “gonna die”

“never [going to] be left alone!!”

And then after all that:

“I sent the messages to her in the heat of the moment when I was angry, but that is no excuse.”

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November 20, 2009

I’ve been dipping in and out of the TV news coverage of the Cumbria floods all day. BBC News, Sky News (their respective websites) and local TV news bulletins have been keeping me fully up-to-date.

It’s major breaking news stories like this that reveal some of the key differences between the two news giants.

Around lunchtime, the BBC website led with the relatively positive phrase “200 people rescued” while the top breaking story on Sky News online focused on the “11 missing”.

As usual, the BBC coverage was authoritative, measured and reassuring, whilst Sky was comparatively sensational and breathless. With any breaking news story, I always turn to Sky first for the very latest updates delivered in vivid colours and dramatic phrases. I then turn to the BBC for the bigger picture and calmer analysis, constantly flicking between the two to keep it interesting.

This is probably a sign of how our attention spans are getting shorter, with the increasing use of instant, real-time technology.

Both outlets used the word “unprecedented” many times throughout the day. Sky managed to use “unprecedented”, “deluge” and “historic” within a 20 second period, whilst the BBC opted for “very extreme” and “worst in over a hundred years”.

The BBC had quite a few aerial shots (literally looking at the bigger picture), discussing the effect on businesses as well as speaking to some residents. Sky News’ Colin Brazier was talking to the ‘man-on-the-street ‘ in Cumbria, focusing much more on the human angle. There were plenty of people wanting to talk him.

Sky was marginally “First for breaking news” when it confirmed at 15:22 that the body found was PC Bill Barker, just a few seconds before the BBC interrupted an interview to make the same announcement.

And finally, Sky News’ weather presenter, Francis Wilson , sounded a bit like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons when he called it the “worst rain ever”.