BBC defends news coverage of Jade Goody’s death
The BBC has received 70 official complaints while website users tell the Corporation to leave frivolities to OK! and Sky TV
It finally happened - someone dared to say that perhaps the news media overdid the coverage of Jade Goody's death. Not just someone - but a string of complainants who have picked on the BBC for its "frivolous" and "over the top" coverage of a death that was not, after all, unexpected.
More than 70 official complaints have been received, as well as numerous angry postings on the BBC News website. "You really lost the plot on this one," wrote one viewer. "Let OK!, Hello! and Sky deal with the frivolities of life and get back to being a public service broadcaster that serves the public by addressing the issues that matter."
There was particular objection to her death early on Sunday being given the top spot on the news bulletin in The Andrew Marr Show, the Sunday morning coffee and croissants programme that is known for its coverage of Westminster politics and world affairs.
‘We have to bear in mind those licence fee payers who are interested’
Today, the corporation's news chief, Peter Horrocks, went on the defensive. He said Jade Goody was a "phenonemon" whose death had provoked tremendous grief. The increased traffic to the BBC website on Sunday was a measure of public interest, he claimed.
But he had to admit that the reaction of Radio 5 Live's listeners, for example, had been very different to that of the Radio 1 audience. "While some of you have told us that you didn't like Jade Goody," he said, "or didn't want to hear news about her, we have to bear in mind those licence fee payers who have a strong level of interest and who expected us to provide measured coverage of her death."
His words are unlikely to placate the viewer from Doncaster who left this message on the BBC website: "This woman [Goody] made a mockery of all that is good in this country. However sad her death may be, it is not worth that much time. How many decent people die every day and how many minutes does the BBC give them?"
There were further objections that the reality TV star's death was given undue prominence on the World Service, which, like the Marr show is also seen as a bastion of serious news. Horrocks is due to leave his current job as head of the BBC's multimedia news room to become director of the World Service next month: listeners will be hoping that he has time to readjust his news values. ·
Comments are now closed on this article