(News)round

I recently read a webpage that talked about events from 1994. I was surprised at how much I remembered — I was only 8.

The BBC Editors blog asks, what do you remember from the news from when you were nine? Use Wikipedia to take a look. I’m using 20th March 199519th March 1996. Here’s what I remember:

  • Oklahoma bombing
  • French nuclear tests
  • O.J. Simpson trial
  • Brent Spar oil rig disposal debate
  • John Major resigning then unresigning
  • The huge success of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
  • US government offices closing
  • Rosemary West being found guilty
  • Deep Blue beating Garry Kasparov
  • Dunblane massacre

I am quite surprised by the number of major events that completely passed me by, others that I never learned about until years later (e.g. Nick Leeson), while there are other stories that I remember so vivdly. I’m amazed that some of these happened when I was nine. I thought I was about 14 when Rosemary West was found guilty.

I was definitely a bit of a news junkie by the time I was nine though. I always came home for lunch from school, and I always watched the news because it was the only interesting thing on.

This brings us on to the whole cause of this news nostalgia. Newsround is now aimed at a younger audience: 9 years old and under. Cue the inevitable accusations of dumbing down, despite the fact that Newsround has always been a “dumb” news programme because it’s aimed at children, which are mostly pretty stupid people.

But what is the use in a dumbed down news programme, whether it’s the ITV Lunchtime News or Newsround? I hated Newsround when I was a child; I never watched it. The reason is simple. When I wasn’t interested in the news I didn’t want to watch Newsround. When I became interested in the news, I wanted to watch the news, not some patronising children’s TV presenter giving me news-lite or some boring story about a panda taking a shit.

This is the same reason why the DCMS’s big idea of getting BBC Three to do yoof news (which I mentioned in my previous post) completely flopped. I actually quite liked BBC Three’s news programme because it was sometimes quite amusing, and it was generally quite a good programme. But I didn’t watch it because of the news it gave me. I liked BBC Three news for what it was, but I didn’t kid myself on that I was watching the news. Deep inside I knew that if I actually wanted to watch the news I would have been watching Channel 4 News or News 24.

This is such a simple idea, but broadcasters don’t seem to grasp it. If you want the news — whether you’re 9, 20 or 50 — you are going to watch the actual news, not the news pretending to be something else, or something else pretending to be the news, or some kind of pseudo-news aimed at a particular demographic.

Via Currybet.

4 comments

  1. Does anyone actually watch Five? I’ve got the button on my remote controle, but never really understood its purpose, apart for getting to channel 15 (what’s that anyway) or 25 (er… see previous comment).

    You’re right, Freeview is not really all that exciting (how many shopping channels and dire game TV stations does one need?) but the good thing about it is only a few dozens of spaces are wasted on these… as opposed to Sky where we run into thousands… For some reasons, I probably watch BBC1 and BBC2 more than any other channels combined. That is, when I bother watching TV at all…

  2. […] Chris, following Doctorvee’s lead, blogs about stuff he remembers happening around the time he was nine, and invites others to do the same. This hasn’t – to the best of my knowledge – yet acquired meme status, and I don’t intend to turn it into one if I can help it. There’s enough of them out there. […]

  3. […] As Chris Applegate says, this was absolutely screaming out to be a meme. Jawbox has done it aswell. But I refrained from calling it a meme in my post because I didn’t want to be responsible for starting one. Looks like I’m getting the blame for it anyway. Uhh, it was his fault! No, his! […]