TV, Venue

TV for the people!

Something has to change. I want you to imagine this: there is more of your product around than ever before, but it is less effective. That is what I think about Television. In the era of 24/7 news channels, there is less of what the media should be doing: holding politicians to account. Why has it become so fashionable to talk about the post-1945 era as less deferential towards public figures? You would not imagine it from watching the television today, would you? Quite simply, journalists need to be doing their job better.

My wishes for political television start with the assumption that the best way of scrutinising government figures is by increasing the length of political interviews: the longer you interview them, the more information you gather. I passionately believe that the news needs to be longer to allow for this to take place. But what else could television do differently? I notice a lot of programmes that are solely devoted to Westminster and world news are off-peak and post watershed: Question Time is on BBC 1 at 22:35 on a Thursday. How can our accountability improve when many potential viewers will be wrapped up in bed during our only informative shows?

Similarly, I would like to see far more political programming aimed specifically at young people. We are the future. Where is the Newsround aimed at University students? In the era of high tuition fees, it should be television holding politicians to account for their decisions.

Does it matter whether there is less scrutiny of politicians? The short answer is yes. Television is a crucial part of our national debate and tone is important. Populism, for lack of a better term, sucks and I think the media has played its part in allowing it to take a nasty journey. Does globalization mean power is moving away from Westminster, and moving towards the hands of multinational corporations?

Television should aim to be a format that provides balance against the Tory-supporting press. It would be almost impossible to report in a vacuum: what happens in the press can influence what is being talked about on Television. 

Television has to do better, and this is something which can only be achieved through showing our frustration with the current media climate.

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Laurence Scott

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November 2021
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