Friday, 25 July 2008

By-election, what by-election?

I was driving and listening to Radio London this morning and was - I was going to write "shocked" or "surprised", but in reality I am neither - unsurprised to hear that last night's by-election result had completely dropped off of the news bulletins. It's not a London story and we had already covered it pre 09:00 might be the excuse proffered. So let's look at the running order of the 10:00 news bulletin:
1. Oyster card problems on London's transport system - a good, current, breaking news local, story
2. UK economy grew by 0.2% in second quarter of the year - a good, current, breaking news, national story
3. Barack Obama is flying to France and then the US following his speech in Berlin - an international story with an upcoming London angle - the first story deemed worthy of an outside broadcast piece
4. The GP practices petition - a national story with local implications, but no real urgency to it
5. The Qantas plan's emergency landing - The plane had left the UK from London so I suppose it had some local news value
6. The furore over Enfield council's closure of a sports ground - a local story but worthy of two outside broadcast pieces?
Then the news moved onto Sport and Weather.

So in the whole news bulletin, not a word about the Glasgow East by-election. A by-election where the party that is in government in Westminster lost its 25th safest seat in the country. A result that leaves larger questions hanging over Gordon Brown's future as Prime Minister. Not a word about the result? Do the BBC in London not have a duty to inform London of major national political stories? Who decided not to cover the story in the news bulletins? I think we can all guess at the reasons.

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