Friday, April 03, 2009

Building snowmen to get on the news

Charlie Brooker's Newswipe was good this week, covering User Generated Content, or UGC to the media-savvy among you (or those with a penchant for acroynms). We heard a lot about UGC on our course in Cardiff - see - and so it was interesting to see what Brooker would make of it, especially with his ability to hit the target of his scorn repeatedly - X-factor for example.

It was interesting to hear his view that it's been since the death of Diana that the news has become far more interested in what we think and feel about particular issues despite the fact, as Brooker pointed out, it's not really news. The snow in Februray of this year gave him the perfect ammunition for this - showing the endless pictures of snow and snowman that the BBC showed throughout the coverage, despite the fact it's not really news at all. His clip of Jeremy Paxman's withering contempt for this practice was fantastic.

The rise of UGC is undoubtedly a good thing when it's used correctly and can add to the story - images of floods, fires, plane crashes, and so forth all can give a news story added value and an impact; Twitter has, as I have said, already shifted this up to another level. However, it is important that this isn't the story, it must be an adjunct to the story. Once the story has been covered, discussed, looked at and the days have rolled on it should, unless somehow continually relevant, be dropped / pushed down the schedules. Even if there are more people's opinions that can be gathered / pictures coming in it doesn't mean it should stay in the news agenda.

There's only so many snowmen you can look at.

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