In Place of the Soap Opera – Consultation is an excellent way to focus on the real issues
Media coverage of recent events has hardly broken new ground, but it may have reminded readers and viewers how focused we have all become on personalities. True, there is discussion of serious issues – though finding it is a challenge in the red-tops – but both the broadcast media and print journalists appear to be most interested in the implications for individuals. When will the Minister resign? is a far more popular news story than What part of the process broke down and why?
The problem is not confined to National Government. Local Newspapers can be really vicious in their treatment of local political leaders. Even the specialist trade press can reduce matters of technical substance to speculation about who’s up or who’s down, who’s in or who’s out of favour in Executive Agencies, Quangos or Committees.
All this is presumably in the cause of adding human interest to a story, as everyone knows that this is the way to build or retain an audience. Students at our Schools of Journalism are presumably taught how important it is to add “colour” to each piece, and that we are all interested more in other people than in abstract concepts or boring jargon.