Monday 15 July 2013

“What makes a story?”

At the end of the previous post I raised the question of what would be leading the Today programme this morning. Would it be the latest scandal to hit the NHS (and the Labour Party)? Well, we'll know in a few minutes time...

In advance of Today, a look at the stories featured on non-BBC news sites shows the NHS story to be still important for papers like the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, though it's the deaths of two military personnel in Wales during training on the hottest day of the year though which is the major story that all news site share. 

The BBC News website's top two stories are utterly unique to itself though:

A cap on the total amount of benefits that people aged 16 to 64 can receive begins rolling out across England, Scotland and Wales.

A third of Britain is effectively off-limits to lower-income working families because private rents are unaffordable, a new report claims. 
That new report, when you click onto the story, turns out to be by the Resolution Foundation - a think tank that should be clearly labelled as 'left-leaning' by the BBC (but usually isn't).

No other news site (whether it be Sky, ITV, the Guardian, the Indie or the Telegraph) places any emphasis on these stories whatsoever.

Given the way the BBC usually operates, these two stories are very likely to dominate the Today programme, Breakfast, the News Channel and Radio 4's other current affairs staples. Expect to see and hear a lot about the fears of 'vulnerable' benefits claimants, plus to find the BBC's Mark Easton and various Resolution Foundation spokespeople popping up all over the place.

Update 6.00am: Well, Today is leading with benefit cuts, and the news bulletin tied it in with the issue of high rent, thus combining both of the two lead stories on the website. (Interesting timing from the Labour-friendly Resolution Foundation then). Breakfast has a report on now featuring someone from the Resolution Foundation. Here we go!!

Update 6.00pm: Twelve hours later and watching BBC One's News at Six, their chosen lead story was the benefit cap and, yes, their chosen second story was the Resolution Foundation report, featuring Mark Easton. The BBC is nothing if not dogged on days like this.

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