Saturday 27 December 2014

Why Hugh Sykes no longer likes 'Newsnight'

Here's a Twitter discussion you may have missed. In it a veteran BBC reporter reveals his feelings about Ian Katz's new-look 'Newsnight':


  1. Very amusing indeed. Poor old Hugh, lost interest and control of his apostrophes.

    Although his line about Newsnight turning into a seminar was excellent. Sums up the whole Russel Brand level of broadcasting quite nicely. Speaking of which, I don't know if you caught the recent HIGNFY, when Kirsty Wark was on, Craig. Somebody (I think it was Hislop) made a remark about Brand being on Newnsight all the time, and she replied, sotto voce and through gritted teeth, "Not when I'm on."

    I also liked Julian Bray's tweet about blaming budget cuts for the problems. They certainly blamed budget cuts and lack of resources for both Savile and McAlpine, and Paxman definitely cited that being as much of a problem as "biddable types" ruining the journalistic atmosphere.

    Katz was brought in to make a clear change in direction, and he's obviously done it. I got the impression that the BBC bosses had given up trying to regain the respect of the audience they've lost over the last couple of years. Sykes seems to have noticed that Katz assumes a rather different audience is watching, but can't understand why or how. I wonder if they're attracting enough yoof and One Show viewers to replace the Sykeses who have abandoned the show.

    1. It made me laugh too, and that's very funny from Kirsty Wark.

      Julian Bray certainly sneaked in a telling point - though Hugh didn't take the bait (and probably didn't even register it).

      Curiously enough, this morning's 'Today' - as guest-edited by Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl - was uncannily like Ian Katz's 'Newsnight', even down to the appearance by Caitlin Moran. The interest in personal identity issues, social media controversies, soft social issues, trivia, Kate Bush - is exactly the sort of thing 'Newsnight' likes to pepper its programmes with now.

      I'm sure you're right about what the BBC are up to with 'Newsnight', audience-wise. They're after the kind of audience Tracey Thorn was trying to reach here. I doubt they'll get them though.

    2. You know, I don't necessarily have a problem with either show deciding to target a replacement audience. Eventually it's going to happen one way or another. But they are dumbing it down and shifting further leftward on a number of levels and it shows either a lack of respect for that audience (not at all uncommon at the BBC, I'll admit), or that the producers themselves are of far lower intellectual quality and think they're doing it right.


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