A sad good bye to C4 lunchtime news

From my post on the Wolfstar blog.


It was announced yesterday that Channel 4 lunchtime news and More4 news would be coming off the air at the end of this year. I don’t think too many people are going to mourn More4 News (the last remnant of any attempt to fulfil the channel’s ‘intelligent programming’ remit), but I’ll certainly be sad to see the back of the lunchtime news.

Apparently Channel 4 News was set up to cover the second Gulf war but it lived on and certainly became a staple part of my news diet as a student. It was a refreshing change from the bland impartiality of BBC News and the comic book news of ITV, so I’ll be sad to see it go.

On a larger scale the disappearance of a news programme coupled with this week’s revelations about the Observer’s apparently imminent closure are the worst omens we’ve seen yet for traditional media.4 news

I’m not one of those social media people who scream about ‘the man’ being beaten down by citizen journalism. Every person has their own slim area of expertise where no journalist, no matter how good their research, can come near. Mine is Quentin Tarantino films; if someone writes an article about feminism in Pulp Fiction I’ve got plenty to add to the conversation that Krishnan Guru-Murphy probably doesn’t. If you’re writing an article about feminism in the work of Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg though you’ll have to go somewhere else for the Spielberg bit, my little corner of knowledge isn’t that big, and the same goes for every blogger on the planet, no one is that knowledgeable on everything. If you use the blogosphere for all your news and critique you’ll find pockets of knowledge like this for every angle of every story you find; it doesn’t work. And this is why we need mainstream media.

Television news and newspapers provide a high, if not perfect, level of expertise on every issue of the day. The only blog I can think of which provides that level of coverage online is Huffpo, the British blogosphere isn’t nearly that mature yet. The closest we have is Guido who strikes me as more of a gossip monger than reliable news source. If you do get all your news and comment from blogs, chances are that you’re going to the same ones every day and they’re the ones you tend to agree with; no one is challenging your view to any great extent, that leads to you become more militant in your views and can lead to some very scary politics. Mainstream news contains comment, columns, and reports from a range of sources meaning that on some level your ideas are challenged.

So, long story short; quick, everyone, start watching the News at 10 and BBC News 24, and buy three newspapers a day (not the Express) and listen to Radio 4 before it all disappears.


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