Saturday 5 September 2020

The search for online clicks


Matthew Parris of The Times is very much 'a BBC type', so it's not surprising to find him worrying about the "threatening attitude" to the BBC now abroad. He exhorts us, however cross we might sometimes get about it, to feel love and pride in the BBC -  "a corporation that’s a model to the whole world’s media". But he also blames the BBC, claiming that their news website has put the corporation's "ancient reputation" at risk in "the search for online clicks":

Dispensing with editorial judgment in pursuit of mere traffic betrays an institution’s failure of confidence in us, its customers, whom in a less jittery age it thought it knew. Media companies lose their nerve, deferring to what the data says, wrongly, about us. Collapse in internal self-belief is as much a cause of shakiness in our institutions as an external attack.

I take his point about the BBC using 'clickbait' on its News website, but I'd question whether a "collapse in internal self-belief" is behind it. I suspect a lot of confident, misguided self-belief is actually behind it.  

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