The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Debate 12C. Have 24-Hour news services enhanced or damaged public understanding?

General Question without a Vote

Please let me have your answers by Friday following which I will add them to my website and circulate summaries of your feedback next Wednesday.




1-2. All the doom and gloom is utterly depressing. Should eliminate the word could and focus on facts.

3. Don’t think it’s the 24 hour news causing confusion but mixed messages from Government. Most people I have spoken to have limited their news-viewing.

4.24 hour news services have enhanced peoples’ understanding.

News changes quickly and the ability to access the latest news at any time allows people to focus when they have time, rather than worrying about accessing a specific programme at a fixed time.

5. Enhanced (Generally Speaking)

I tend to watch BBC news!

The 24-Hour/Rolling news service means that you can hear a news summary during the day in between the main news summaries.

Also if there is breaking news, you can go to the 24-Hour news service to get more details. The internet also gives you up to date news, of course.

Potential Damage during the Coronavirus Outbreak

TV coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has had constant news coverage/saturation.

So much so that you have had to pick and choose when and when not to listen!

There are three areas where there has been risk of damage:

- there is evidence that channels are filling space, with e.g. the BBC Newscaster interviewing another BBC journalist, with the risk of partiality/bias with the broadcaster controlling the message.

- the newscaster can give their own spin/over-reaction/under-reaction to the news

- The BBC appeared to settle on the same way (extremely irritating) to cover coronavirus announcements

- a BBC jounalist says what the anticipated announcement will be
- then we have the official announcement
- then we have the same or another BBC journalist picking the announcement apart to the extent that the value of the announcement is shredded and it becomes the BBC's announcement

As I have said above, you don't have to watch/listen and you can switch on just before the announcement and switch off immediately after the announcement, which I do!

I thought that the coverage of the Dominic Cummings interview was excellent though. Here you had former aides giving their views.

6. Yes, absolutely! 24 hour news has enhanced public understanding.

7. I believe we have been bombarded with too much information and

now the media have moved into criticism mode

so many people will not listen.

8. 24 hour news is for obsessives and is guilty of saturation /overkill.
This concentration on just one subject distorts our reality

9. I only watch news 6 pm on BBC1 or 7 pm on Channel 4 and Newsnight so no difference really.

10. In my opinion there has been too much news which has become so repetitive that one tends to “switch” off either mentally or actually!

It is necessary to know what is happening but not constantly

11. It’s made people depressed and it’s too pessimistic - the news just goes on about it 24/7

Review of Week

For those who do access 24 hour news services, probably all was fine until coronavirus coverage started up.

Since then we have had saturation of news on a single topic, much of it repetitive.

Understandably we have wanted to find a way to avoid being overwhelmed by the news. Many people have switched off.

This is unfortunate, because it was important that the public got the right message, which has become increasingly detailed.

Colin Bower
29 May 2020

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