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Jade Goody's death

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 17:15 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

While millions of you have followed our coverage of the death of reality TV star Jade Goody, some of you have contacted us to question the appropriateness of our carrying the story.

Jade GoodyJade Goody became a phenomenon, both in terms of the interest she inspired in the public and in the effect that her sad death had on awareness of cervical cancer. To make a legitimate news judgement about our coverage, we applied the same criteria as we usually use: should we report this, and if so, how? Knowing that there was a possibility that Jade would die soon, we talked about whether this was a story we would lead on in the absence of other significant news.

Obviously, this kind of discussion is academic until the event actually happens; the circumstances were that the early part of Sunday was relatively quiet - when, later, Ken Clarke made his comments on inheritance tax, many parts of the BBC News output then led on that story.

We know that from the statistics that we have on a minute-by-minute basis from the news website that many more people visited than normally would on a Sunday - and the Jade Goody story was overwhelmingly the most popular story.

We also know that Jade was a very divisive figure and that by no means all of you were interested in the story: the reaction from 5 live's listeners, for example, has been very different to that of the Radio 1 audience. This highlights one of the challenges of producing news through a range of services for all of the UK population. While some of you have told us that you didn't like Jade Goody, or didn't want to hear news about her, we have to bear in mind those licence fee payers who have a strong level of interest and who expected us to provide measured coverage of her death.

Peter Horrocks is head of BBC Newsroom.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Unfortunately watching BBC news is becoming more and more like watching a tv edition of The Daily Mirror or The Sun, and the excessive coverage given to Jade Goody only strengthens this view.
    When there is so much going on in the world that is newsworthy we are subjected to hours devoted to Essex Girl 'celebrities' and other british non-events while stations like Al-Jazeera and Euronews wipe the floor with the BBC.

  • Comment number 2.

    To be honest, I don't think you need to explain - when a celebrity dies, they are often the top story until something bigger happens in the day. Same with Natasha Richardson, same with Jade, same with the next famous name to die. Jade's case is hardly unusual, other than the fact that she was divisive - so are a lot of famous people who die, though. People just seem to want to have a whinge when yourselves and other news oprganisations have done nothing unusual.

  • Comment number 3.


    I thought the BBC and the services (and) related entities provided a fair service to the family of Ms. Jade Goody, in the aspect of death of her....

    I am sending my heartfelt condolences and prayers out to the family and friends of Ms. Goody....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 4.

    I personally felt that the coverage of her death, tragic as it was, overwhelmed the coverage of Natasha Richardson's death, which in my view was far more tragic and sudden, in a time when Jade's death was expected. That being said, though, the print media are much more guilty over this matter than the BBC and other visual/online media.

  • Comment number 5.

    You really lost the plot on this one. Stop celebrating ignorance and start questionning those who are abusing power - expense fiddling MPs, tax avoiding corporations, hypocritical ministers. Let OK, Hello and Sky deal with the frivolities of life and get back to being a public service broadcaster that serves the public by addressing issues that matter.

  • Comment number 6.

    Popularity shouldn't be the measure of whether or not the BBC carries a story. Newsworthiness should be.

    Woman dies of cancer. Sad, but an everyday event, and not newsworthy.

    The argument that "the profile of this condition has been elevated" is a red herring: next to nothing of the coverage has been about THAT.

    D grade - must do better.

  • Comment number 7.

    The story was certainly newsworthy, but one could argue that the only reason that it became newsworthy is because Jade knew how to 'play' the news outlets and create a media circus. At what point should a reputable news source decide that it's actually in the industry's interest NOT to fan the flames of mediocrity?

  • Comment number 8.

    "We also know that Jade was a very divisive figure..."

    Jade may have been "divisive", but that is also true of many other figures with a public profile. I can think of politicians and certain prominent thinkers who are extremely divisive (and sometimes bigoted), and whose divisiveness has far more serious consequences for our society than the utterances of a rather garrulous young woman, who, by the way, only did us the service of revealing openly certain attitudes which are prevalent in this country.

    And there is another thing about Jade... although she may have said some very unsavoury things (in my view, probably more the result of immaturity than racism), she actually showed some remorse for her bad attitudes.

    It's one thing to be "divisive", brash, loud-mouthed and remorseful, it's quite another to be "divisive", mealy-mouthed, unctuously self-righteous, deceitful and utterly unrepentant in the face of irrefutable evidence. Jade fell into the first category; many other supposedly "more worthy" public figures fall into the second category.

  • Comment number 9.

    My personal view is 'publish and be damned..' - there is huge interest from the public, although the 'public interest' is harder to define.

    Again, from a personal viewpoint I'm disappointed that the public appetite is for more coverage of Jade Goody's life than that of Natasha Richardson.

    But I have to accept that the former was a British celebrity, living in Britain, who had tried very hard to make a name for herself locally.

    Natasha Richardson had purposefully avoided only doing 'big-budget' films to focus on the theatre and films with a more limited audience - generally preferring art to commerce. She also chose to become an American citizen.

    So I will understand if you also devote a lot of coverage to her funeral and issues surrounding her illness, but after that I think respecting her family's privacy will also be important - I think the BBC should lead by example on that front.

  • Comment number 10.

    It is very sad that Jade Goody died so young from a very destructive form of cancer. This young woman's public face was a product of the media from the start and so it is hard for some people to see the justification for the prominence given to her as compared to the many thousands of others who are in equally or more difficult circumstances and receive no exposure at all.

    The BBC should not engage in tabloid style journalism - period. This isn't about the popularity of your website; this is about your professionalism in meeting the needs of all your audience. You are not on air to sell yourselves to an audience - you are on air to meet the needs of every single person who funds you. That means you must be selective in what you show and how long you devote to what you show.

    I have lost count of the number of interesting but terminated interviews you have on your news programmes because you have a schedule to keep to. And yet, for this young woman, you felt able to change your scheduling. That was, IMO, an unprofessional decision in keeping with your rapidly declining standards.

    This isn't about Jade Goody - it is about how you fail to honour your responsibilities to your bigger audience because you are incapable of being our National, public funded, broadcaster. Stand apart from your commercial opponents or become one of them and give us back our license fees. You cannot have it both ways.

  • Comment number 11.

    Same old story: you do something a bit rubbish... people complain.... you explain why you were right all along. Come on BBC, what about a bit of humility?

  • Comment number 12.

    I thought coverage was appropriate, no complaints here.

  • Comment number 13.

    I've no objection to the covering of the news though I would question wether the BBC needs to have it as a leading story - unlike the other news agencies you dont have the commercial advertising requirements that might force such a story up the pecking order elsewhere. As a result I'd have thought you could and should take a more measured approach to the value of certain stories such as this.

    If the rest of the networks and web sites want to lead with it to get eyeballs on the screen let them do so, but at least provide the rest of us with one news outlet where this sort of celebrity news takes a back seat to other more important issues.

    Regardless of that, do we really need Have Your Say turned into mini condolence books each time a 'celebrity' dies?

    Its hardly a subject for 'debate' or opinions, and each time one is opened anyone attempting to question the need for them is derided as being disrespectful to whichever celebrity is the subject of that particular one.

    At very least you could provide us with a HYS where we can debate wether they're appropriate subject for HYS or not.

  • Comment number 14.

    Unfortunately your coverage was very one sided. Jade was a divisise figure but this has been mentioned in passing or not at all in the broadcasts I have seen. Be careful with your "millions" comments. 100 flowers at the grave so far most from camera chasers.

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm sorry but the coverage of Jade Goody was really over the top.

    Not only by the BBC but by every other TV and radio channel. Not only that but after seeing it the first time and not wanting to see it again I switched over and every other channel seemed to be covering the same story all at the same time.

    Sunday was Mother's day which is a nice family day out and the last thing anyone needede was a day full of death every time they wanted to hear the news.

    Perhaps the next time we can have a short announcement and the voyeurs can watch the rest by pressing the red button.

    The economy might be depressing but not as much as the incessant funerals and memorials we have been subjected too lately. In full too.
    Perhaps there should be another channel for those who like to watch such things.

  • Comment number 16.

    I turned over to BBC News on Sunday morning at 10am - this was the lead story and the coverage continued for several minutes. The fact that she had died was not unexpected so I don't see why so many minutes should be devoted to the story. Compare the coverage in the newspapers today, The Telegraph gave 1/2 page, while The Mirror gave over the front page, several following pages, and an 8 page centre set. BBC News behaved like a red top in the coverage yesterday - there are plenty of media outlets that can produce this output, why does the BBC think it has to get down there with them?

  • Comment number 17.

    What annoyed me most was having to hear this in Australia on the BBC World Service as lead story. It has no public interest overseas except for confirming the decline of the BBC as a reputable broadcaster. How embarrassing that the Foreign Office is funding the BBC World Service to cover a reality star. How does this promote the UKs "world view"? I find NPR and Deutsche Welle much more informative now and it is sad to see the way the BBC is headed.

  • Comment number 18.

    Quite frankly I'm sick of hearing that celeb X has X disease, terminal or otherwise.

    The focus is never on the ordinary persons with the same disease and when said ordinary people die of said diseases nobody bats an eyelid.

    And all too often "celebs" like Ms Goody are only publicising their lives because they cannot get anywhere near the amount of money they do by working in a supermarket on a till, which lets face it, would be where Ms Goody would have been working had Endemol not selected her for Big Brother.

    As much as a death is sad I don't feel any sorrow or sympathy for the family of Ms Goody, they have made a tidy profit from her when she was alive and I'm sure they will carry on doing so for a while yet.

    Nor do I respect Ms Goody for how she went about her life before or since Big Brother. It is just a shame that the "general public" and media are dumb enough to keep buying into the worship of vaccuous "celebs" who don't contribute to society in the least.

    The BBC should also be ashamed of endorsing such a person and her family by continually running stories about her.

  • Comment number 19.


    To the revisement of my comments # 3.... I thought coverage was appropriate, no complaints here.

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 20.

    I felt the BBC coverage was ok, although I personally didn't want to hear about it, for the BBC to ignore it would be foolish - people were interested, and it was led by the tabloids

    it was a legitimate story in that sense

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Most of the complaints were probably from the chattering classes who probably don't appreciate that millions of people are interested in Jade.

  • Comment number 23.

    Somewhat disingenuous.

    JG was a good time filler for rolling news. That's why the story rolled. Imv.

  • Comment number 24.


    I don't think that anyone, who have been complaining about the media coverage, is saying that the media (not just the BBC, as you say) should have ignored Ms Goody's death, just that it wasn't headline news and certainly didn't warrant top story ranking that much of the media gave it, nor the style of the coverage - much of which has been orchestrated by her publicist (on the promise of access to other celebs?..) to her exposure rather than as a platform to debate the issues around cancer screening and treatment etc.

    I really do wish the BBC would make editorial decisions on Reithian rather than populist values. The BBC should, 'due to the special way it's funded', be providing what the commercial media industry can't provide, it should not be trying to imitate the commercial media industry...

  • Comment number 25.


    Yes you're probably correct, it's not as though there was anything else occurring in the world last weekend, there had been no meeting of EU political leaders, Obama hadn't announced further US policy changes, there hadn't been a (bloodless) coup in Madagascar etc. - yes, there really wasn't any other news that could have filled the many pages of newsprint or scripts - a good fill story to pad a quite weekend out, my ar...

  • Comment number 26.

    I increasingly take it as a cue to turn off the news as nothing important is happening in the world.

  • Comment number 27.

    Have you seen how many moderated comments there are in have your say on this issue? It's over 1 in 4 rejected and the 'discussion' itself is only people saying how great they think Jade was. So much for BBC impartiality.

    I went to a funeral yesturday for a colleague who commited suicide due to personal problems but contributed so much to the school as he took a class of students with learning difficulties and taught them brick laying etc.

    Where is his story on the BBC?

    You ask what legacy Jade left? Her legacy is that you don't need to work hard at life or educate yourself all you need to do is go on reality TV show as much ignorance as possible and you will be rewarded with fame and fortune.

    A sad indictment of British society. The Jade story is a non story and should never of been aired. Shame on you BBC.

  • Comment number 28.


    Jade Goody's death was the lead story on the Radio 4's 0900 news on Sunday morning. I would seriously question this editorial decision. Most of Radio 4's audience do not read the tabloids or celebrity magazines, nor do they watch Big Brother or other similar programmes. Such people are not interested in people such as Ms Goody, and they expect Radio 4 to report serious news, not celebrity froth. The BBC now has several different channels targeted at audiences who are clearly very interested in tabloid celebrities, such as Radio 1 and BBC 3. Ms Goody’s death was presumably prominently reported and discussed on these channels, and rightly so.But not on Radio 4. This is not what its audience is interested in or cares about.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am sickened by the desperation of the media/people in this country to jump onto the vicarious grief bandwagon.

    Just when you thought the world was running out of stupid, entertainment "news" jumps in to save the day.

  • Comment number 30.

    rad6380 - what are you talking about? You can't compare Jade Goody and Natasha Richardson. One had talent and one was a media prostitute. In case you don't know, Natasha had talent.

    The sad fact is that in the BBC and the rest of the media reporting this story they are giving the public what they want. Unfortunately, it is evidence of the mentalities and intelligence of the modern population when someone like Jade Goody, with no intellect ot talent, from dubious background, a consort of criminals, is elevated to lofty celebrity status.

    Without the OK readers of this world, Jade Goody would be what she really was and should have been all along - a nobody.

  • Comment number 31.


    [ re BBC Radio 4 at 09:00hrs reporting Ms Goody's death as it's lead ]

    Yes I heard it to, just before hitting the off button! As for your comment about who listens to R4, I'm sorry to say that it seems that the BBC (especially in that time-slot on Sundays) is trying to attract the very people you suggest will not be listening...

  • Comment number 32.

    A National Day of Mourning would be appropriate?

  • Comment number 33.

    Report it. But do not distort it. Ms Goody's death did not deserve top billing, nor an article (or more) seemingly every day for the fortnight before. Nor did it require billing on the international version of the BBC web site or on BBC World news coverage (except perhaps in India!).

    Perhaps you need an Obituaries section?

  • Comment number 34.


    "Perhaps you [the BBC] need an Obituaries section?"

    Great idea! It's actually noticeable by it's absence now you mention it, most if not all quality newspaper (at least) have such a page, why can't the BBC have such a section?

  • Comment number 35.

    8 wrote:

    'And there is another thing about Jade... although she may have said some very unsavoury things (in my view, probably more the result of immaturity than racism), she actually showed some remorse for her bad attitudes.'

    Being a cynic I would put this down more to the fact that she was advised by her money people that it was best to show contrition if she wanted the money to keep rolling in and regain popularity with the masses. Anyone can say sorry if it suits them to do so.

  • Comment number 36.


    If you claim that this entire circus was primarily moved by the cancer awareness then I would like to see BBC raising awareness to other cancers and covering the lives of people who are in hospital or in the community battling the disease as well.

    Jade had no choice other than fighting and in fact it is well know that if she had been careful with herself and done her smear tests and treat the cancer cells before they turned into cancer, she would probably still be here today.

    I lost my father to cancer, he was 49 and had acute leukaemia. He died in a month without a choice and left me and a 13 year old boy. I understand you wouldn’t care about us because you don’t know us but as us there are plenty of other children, young adults, mothers and fathers who also lost a loved one and no one ever cared to report it or raise the subject.

    Then BBC, you wonder why some of us are sick of Jade’s story.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not newsworthy, especially to a BBC World News viewer. If you're after popularity, as you suggest, then you shouldn't pretend to be a news organisation. Decide which business you are in and stick to just that please.

  • Comment number 38.

    I watch BBC to keep my family and myself in touch with key trends in UK culture. To wit, Jade Goody.
    For news I prefer France 24 and my local Polish TV stations.
    For propaganda I watch Russia Today.
    But to become infuriated I watch Andrew Marr!

  • Comment number 39.

    Lord O' Mighty! Once again the Human race never fails to let itself down!!!

    Half the people on this 'comments' page seem to have totally miss-understood the reason the media have reported so heavily on Jades illness and, sadly, passing.

    The 1st reason is, obvioulsy, whether you loved her or loathed her Jo Public found her interesting in one way or another. The girl form South London who, despite what you may think, made something of herself. A great rags to riches story. And she did it by playing the media at their own game (as I've mentioned on a previous blog).

    The other reason is Jade used this manipulation to the last by allowing the media to follow her until she was too weak to continue, thus making a small fortune to secure her families future AND (may I hasten to add) make millions on young women realise how important it is to have regular screenings in the hope that at least one person can avoid the same pain and suffering the Jade and her family went through. Hands up those who WOULD NOT do the same given the chance?!

    The final reason is (for you ignorant fools) she was 27 and in the public eye! If it had been (God forbid) someone of the same age, with 2 young children but they had come from (for arguments sake) the Royal Family then most of the negative comments on this blog would not exist!
    Another case of the ignorant minority with their upper middle class views looking down at the minnows!

    I've never really had an opinion on Jade. I wouldn't say I was a fan but on the other hand I didn't find her offensive nor harmful. Her silly comment that was much publicised as being racist was a flipant remark which was clearly twisted to sell papers. She publicly apologised and re-built her bridges. More than most of us can do on a day to day basis.

    Why can't people just keep their own opinions to themselves in times like this and just say "what a sad story. Such a young girl...." - No. Instead they have to pass negative comments on someone who tried to better themselves but didn't quite cut the mustard or make the grade for certain sectors within this so called human race! Or do you just write this garbage in the hope that some publisher will think "Wow! There's a future star!" so that you in turn can grab your 5 minutes of fame?! Only difference being is that there are few and far between Jade Goody's in this world and those who make negative remarks about a dying young mother, wife, daughter and friend are not one of them! So be proud of your comments. Look down at the Jade's of this world. Go about your business and may you be happy. But I sincerely hope, nay pray, that you, one day, do not find yourself or those who are close to you in a similar position and that if you did, others around do not find it as easy to pass negative comments.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was amazed to hear a discussion item on the 'Today' programme on Monday morning with Jade Goody as the subject. If I had been able to get proper reception on another station on sometimes listen to that would have been it for 'Today' that day.

    I certainly hope she does not get a mention on 'Last Word'. More worthy people will have died this week.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm always a little concerned if (even part) validation for a story is the number of people who've read it on the website. Does this lady's story sell millions of newspapers and magazines? Undoubtedly. There is a public interest. But that doesn't mean that BBC News has to follow those values. I daresay that if BBC News offered a "soap" category it would be very popular. That wouldn't make it appropriate.

    Clearly this was a story worthy of coverage, but that coverage should have been more limited.

    Indeed overall, I think the "most read" box on the news page is a waste anyway. Inevitably many of the stories are more of the "...and finally" type. As another commenter has said, you're not required to drive page impressions and associated advertising as other newspaper sites now find themselves, driving downwards to a lowest common denominator.

  • Comment number 42.


    "But I sincerely hope, nay pray, that you, one day, do not find yourself or those who are close to you in a similar position and that if you did, others around do not find it as easy to pass negative comments."

    I suspect that some of the comments regarding this issue are from people who have been in such a position... There are many sad stories, how many other 20 year olds (or older, but still some child's mother or father) also died in the last week or so.

    The point that people are making is a simple one that you don't seem to have grasped, this was NOT news - that is not to say that it should not have been reported - just that it was not headline news, it should not have been the lead story on the main BBC TV or radio news channels or programmes, there were other far more important news stories around, had this been one of the other Big Brother contestants I suspect that there would have been no more than a couple of lines give over to report it. It's very sad that so many people (and I include news editors here) are to ignorant to understand how they have been exploited on the pretext of cancer awareness.

  • Comment number 43.

    OK then, for those who feel that the BBC should be spending their licence payers money and reporting on why another MP has bought a 3rd Jag' or not paying Council tax on his or hers 2nd home in Chelsea (something that won't change nor can we do anything about)....

    Let's put it in a different context.

    If the coverage of Jade Goody saves just one life from a similar fate, would it then still be deemed over exposed or, indeed, a waste of the BBC's time?

    No! I think would be the general answer. So, as stated above. If you think that those with genuine human emotions would rather listen to the BBC waffle on about kilo's vs inches in the hope it may save a life then you do indeed have a brain the size of an ameba and a heart with the chemical make up as that of a diamond! Also, as a human being, other than emotion and empathy you also have the luxury of choice. This allows you to either turn the TV off or over and also the option of what you choose to read. I suggest you excercise this priviledge before making heartless statments such as why the BBC are 'wasting their time' on Jade Goody coverage.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    3Dots (number 40)- please quantify you're statment "more worthy people" without using the words money, power or social status.

    Is a known 27 year mother of 2 who sadly passed away from Cancer not "worthy" of news headlines then?

    Boilerplated - Whether or not it was news headlines or not is a matter of opinion (we all pay taxes and licence fees). As I stated, by giving it a headline slot whose to say whether or not it saved a life!

  • Comment number 46.


    You last paragraph exposes your weak argument...

    Report cancer awareness by all means, don't report on every twist and turn of some third rate celeb (known for all the wrong reasons) who happens to be suffering from cancer. By all means mention the celeb whilst reporting on cancer awareness, don't mention cancer awareness whilst reporting on the life and times of a celeb.

    In other words, the focus of the reporting was around the wrong way.

  • Comment number 47.

    It just goes to show how low the BBC has sunk, if I wanted to know about z list nobodies (which I don't) I would buy hello magazine or the sun and read about them there, or watch sky news.
    Fair enough report the story but blanket coverage and broadcasting news of her passing to the other side of the world is quite frankly ridiculous.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.


    [ re "more worthy people" ]

    How many column inches were given over to Natasha Richardson compared to that of Jade Goody, or pick any of the recent people mentioned in the Obituaries section of the Telegraph or where ever newspaper, people who actually knew which country East Anglia is in - remind us again just what Ms Jade Goody actually did in her life...

    [ re headline status ]

    Please see by earlier comment at #46, reporting on cancer awareness would probably save more lives than wrapping mention of the subject up in a report about some third-rate celeb as less people will be switching off (literally and metaphorically speaking)!

  • Comment number 51.

    I am distraught such a talented woman has been taken from us. She gave pleasure to millions. Jade was a true star.
    I can not wait to see the film of her wonderful life.

  • Comment number 52.

    As I write, this:

    is the most popular news story on the bbc website. according to the same reasoning given in the blog to the goody coverage I have to ask, WHY isnt this being promoted more by the bbc? why isnt the boy in question having his lifestory and his legacy to the history of art being given its own article in the arts entertainments section? Really bbc, after your peerless coverage of the tragic Goody case, this is shabby journalism.

  • Comment number 53.

    My son died age 34 after three years fighting cancer he was my hero. I have an idea what Jade goody suffered.

    I believe she embarrassed herself and let the media intrude on these horrible private moments for two reasons.

    First she felt desperate about providing a future for her son's which was all she could do once she realised that she probably had no future. She must have gone through torture worrying about their future. I think people should realise that what she did must have taken not just courage but the kind of grit I am not sure I would have.

    The second reason she wanted to raise awareness, and she did, she probably saved many young lives.

    All I can say is we should all be grateful for the fact that she has and will save many more lives. If this takes watching a person being treated then so be it.

    This may also make the government realise what terminal cancer patients go through financially and emotionally and give them more help.

    She hopefully found peace with her God and comfort from the fact that her children were baptised, God bless her, I believe her motives were the best.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ post #32 - I'm sorry, are you serious?!

    How about a national day of mourning for the people who suffer from cancer of all forms in silence and don't prostitute themselves to the media in order to make a quick buck and don't consort with the minor criminal elements of the society in this country.

    Furthermore I find it extremely obscene that people in this country are more interested in such a non-entity as Ms Goody to the extent that the media wish to feed us the tripe they do.

    We have people out in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting a war they arguably should not be fighting, many of which die every day, they only get a short 5 minute segment if they get any coverage at all!

    This country needs to get it's priorities right and stop worshipping people who do not contribute at all to society and have no reason whatsoever for being "famous" and stop allowing themselves to have their intelligence drained at birth!

  • Comment number 55.

    Reading some of the above comments I am disgusted that so few people can see the good this young woman has done with her life and her death. Comments like "a more worthy person" and "the death of other celebrities are more newsworthy", just make me want to state that we should all remember that not only has a young mother of two children died, but that she also has done her own wee bit to change the world for the better. More young women are going for smear tests and not just one or two, probably thousands.

    It also makes me want to remind you that we are all equally worthy and you do not have the right to decide someone is more worthy than another. in short we are all Jock Tamson's bairns. We all go to the toilet which is a great leveler is it not even if one person may have a gold plated seat.

    Would any of the above posters have the courage to do what she did. I wonder if any of the above perfect people have gone to the website provided and donated their organs for transplant which would save just a very few lives. Have we had a person who is having a transplant giving us a step by step of the torture these people go through, no, would you, no. Then don't criticize a person with the courage to do so until you can speak of these situations yourself.

    No matter the person if they go through cancer or any other life limiting disease with that kind of courage they are heroes.

  • Comment number 56.


    [ re the quoted URL ]

    Looks like an April fools joke that got out a wee bit early to me! Looks very 'Photoshopy' to me, but yes your point stands, just because something is popular isn't the same as saying that it's news-worthy.

  • Comment number 57.


    As I do not watch Big Brother (or any other so called reality TV) the first I heard about Jade Goody was during the racism row. At the time Big Brother was being talked about (endlessly) on BBC "breakfast" shows; I complained that there were many examples where the BBC had gone OTT with this vacuous commentary (not just related to Jade Goody) and I received a response saying that the BBC agreed.

    I heard about her cervical cancer last summer on an Internet bulletin board. I am sad that this young woman died. I have a perfect right to question the BBC coverage of her story during the past months if I feel it is an abuse of their responsibility. That responsibility may rest on many questions that neither you nor I can answer. Has Jade Goody's death done anything to reduce or stem the increase in cervical cancer? That remains in the lap of the gods, rather than being linked to a woman who will soon be forgotten by those who have made her an icon. Has Jade Goody demonstrated that (as you put it) someone can make the switch from rags to riches? Well since that has been done by many people of questionable virtue I am not sure it actually matters one little bit. Is Jade Goody a good role model? That I would suggest depends on what role you aspire to. We could argue forever about her so called celebrity status.

    Whilst I do not appreciate the media circus, nor the vacuous coverage of the last few months of her life, I will remember her smiling face as it appears at the top of this blog. That is not because she shows courage or bravery in the photo, it is simply because she is smiling.

    I hope very much that she found peace with herself.

  • Comment number 58.

    Its very sad that Jade has died at such a young age and I feel so sorry for her two boys
    Why does it take three weeks after her death for her to be buried
    To gain even more media hype no doubt
    Friend of mine died on Sunday and his funeral is Thursday coming
    Its said that if her hubby gets imprisoned then he wont be able to attend her funeral; so isnt that the best reason for having it sooner rather than later
    Let the poor woman rest in peace

  • Comment number 59.


    You keep talking about all the "good this young woman has done with her life and her death", so come on just what did she do that was so unique...

  • Comment number 60.

    Clearly this is an emotive story and as with many such stories, people delete, distort and generalise the actual content!

    However sad Jade's story is and however she got to be in a position where she could sell her story is irrelevant to this thread...

    The BBC should not have,in my opinion (as a license payer) given so much weight to a story that was and will still be covered for quite some time...

    The BBC as I understand it to be is unique, diverse and more importantly global.... As was pointed out quite rightly, there were a few "other" things going on too that day...

    Stick to the topic and if you feel that Jade's story was not over exposed then I'm sorry, a lot of us do not agree and wish the BBC woudl do something about it.....

  • Comment number 61.


    We are complaining about editorial choices, not making a personal attack on Ms. Goody. See if you can work out the difference.

    Oh, and see if you can make your incredibly simple point in less than 500 words - seems like you are the one looking for attention.

  • Comment number 62.

    As our public service broadcaster, paid for by the public, your job is to report the news. I cannot see that just because the tabloid newspapers and second rate TV stations that make so called "reality tv celebrities" report on these people that it is the job of the BBC to join in.

    You really need to up your game. You need to spend more time and money on serious matters, like health, and when it comes to entertainment cover talented people who actually made a difference, like Natasha Richardson.

  • Comment number 63.

    jade hasn been realy strong for a woman, she excersised lots of courage i admired her. take of her sons.

  • Comment number 64.

    If I hear another story about Jack Tweedy going out with his pals or promising to mend his ways I think I might do something I'll later regret. The stunt wth the ladies frilly undies I thought was beyond the pale. It is all the hangers on such as her thuggish, feckless partner and Max Clifford that really disgust me. What dubious ploys will they now use to keep themselves in the public eye now that the circus wagon they were riding on has stopped rolling.

  • Comment number 65.


    So have a lot of women, Anita Roddick for example. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think what you (and others) are actually grappling to say is that you identified with Ms Goody - no shame in that, but it doesn't make her unique and it's just doesn't make her death newsworthy beyond a basic mention of the fact, and certainly not as a leading story.

  • Comment number 66.

    I really cannot understand how some people consider this a "non story". How many comments would the BBC receive if it did not report it ? For reasons good, bad and indifferent , Jade Goody was news worthy. I am often critical of the BBC for the way it reports some items of news ( political ) but to not report them at all is too ridiculous for words.

  • Comment number 67.


    I really cannot understand how some people consider this a "non story".

    No one has said that it was a non story, just that it didn't warrant it's placing in the running order or the fact that it was reported on the BBC external services.

    As for being newsworthy, sorry I disagree to some extent, there are many people who have died, who did far more with their lives than Jade Goody did who never get a mention never mind be headline/lead story news.

  • Comment number 68.

    Someone compared the response to Ms Goody's coverage to say if it had been a member of royalty. Let's assume it was Prince William, then it does become a major headline. This is not snobbery but a matter of simple fact. It would also carry significance to the whole world.
    Raising cancer awareness is a good thing - but is not a precursor to news.

  • Comment number 69.

    @33 R4 has a very good obituaries programme, rather hidden away at 4pm on Friday afternoons: Last Word. But I agree the website could do with an equivalent.

  • Comment number 70.

    We are currently fighting wars in two countries and have been doing so for longer than the Second World War lasted. Yet most of us have no idea what is actually happening out there - how many can even point to Helmand on a map? Instead, our news bulletins are filled with celebrity-driven nonsense, which keeps us in the dark.

    I would therefore rather see the time and journalistic effort of our public service broadcaster spent on finding out and conveying what is happening out there, rather than wasted on "analysis" of the passing of a minor celebrity. We are at war and deserve to know what is happening and why; service personnel are dying out there and every one of them has led a far more remarkable life than Jade Goody. The war should be the top news story every day, until it ends. That would be real journalism.

  • Comment number 71.

    TO BE HONEST.....i think what she done was very brave and also very clever not olnly did she open up and gave room for people to slate her whilst she was going through such a tough time....imagin if it was you knowing must be the hardest part!....but jade also made a huge ammount of money to make sure her children who she has to leave behind have the best they can she is still provideing the up most for then even when she is not here and that the boys can treasure forever along with memory and tributes that jade made possible in the public eye.

    at the end of the day that family needed our support and the majority of the british nation gave that....she is in no more pain and i just hope that the public eye and tabloids dont put those boys through anymore pain than they need to.

  • Comment number 72.

    The beeb should be a standard against which our other broadcasters and media can be judged, free from the advertiser driven ratings game the others find themselves in.

    If you can't or wont deliver that then why are we paying for your continued existance? Go take your chances in that commercial market and give us back our money.

    After all if you walk like a commercial broadcaster and talk like a commercial broadcaster..

    As for those who continue to argue that the Jade Goody coverage "helped her raise money to provide for her sons future" I wouldn't have thought the beebs coverage raised one brass hapenny. Her cash was from OK or Hello and interviews paid for by the commercial networks, so if anything the coverage on the beeb would have eaten into that revenue - providing those wanting to indulge themselves in some second-hand mourning the chance to do so without paying for the tacky tribute magazines etc.

  • Comment number 73.

    I thought the coverage on BBC News 24 on Sunday was apt. Jade has obviously been at the forefront of news coverage for the last few months and her tragic death was obviously the top story for that morning.

    I was also in favour of the way the BBC ran through Jade's life in the limelight, not putting her on a pedestal as "St Jade" but showing the bad side of her as well as the loving mother and dying reality TV star.

    News is news, whether it is about the death of a celebrity or a dodgy politician and all should be reported.

  • Comment number 74.


    Certainly agree with the sentiment of your comment if not the detail.

  • Comment number 75.

    Very sad that anyone dies of cancer at such a young age but please leave extensive coverage of this type of 'event' to websites such as The Sun.

    Yes it is news and should be mentioned, but not taking up a quarter of the front page of the BBC website.

    And her death was listed under 'entertainment' by the way.

  • Comment number 76.


    Very well said, especially your last paragraph. As it is, most people didn't need Ms Goody to raise their awareness of cancer, what she actually did was to divert attention from cancer awareness - after all we are talking here about Ms Goody awareness and the media and not having a wider debate on cancer/treatment etc. - it is only amongst those who live in the Reality/celeb' bubble who seemingly need such awareness pointing out, on the other hand if they were not living in that media industry induced bubble...

  • Comment number 77.


    Sorry but I've already been pointed out (#25) that there was far more important things occurring in the world, it was most certainly NOT the obvious top story for that morning. I do wish people would open their eyes to what is happening in the world, and quite often being done in their name...

  • Comment number 78.

    To all those out there who think reports of her death were greatly exaggerated - what a sanctimonuous lot you are! It's about a young mother dying young in fact dying at any age particularly from cancer!

  • Comment number 79.

    I rarely respond to people's stupidity as I have better things to do, but when I read in the Daily Mail the comment of one person 'let OK,Hello and Sky deal with the frivolities of life...' on the BBC coverage of her illness and tragic death, I hope that person never experiences the horror of what Jane Goody endured with grace and dignity, in public at least.

  • Comment number 80.

    Two things we might take from the rise and fall of Jade: one, that everyone is worth something; no-one is worthless. Two, that when the man said a sure way to get rich is by making a fool of yourself in public, he was right. The media have decently implied the first, but do far too little to help us ponder the second.

  • Comment number 81.


    I couldn't agree with you more that there are so much more important things going on around the worls, however I believe that many of these complaints are down to the reason for this young lady's fame.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Goody fan, however I feel that if it had been the death of a more intellectual or credible celebrity, there wouldn't be this much debate on the amount of reporting.

  • Comment number 82.


    Some people really do need a reality check, anyone would think that Ms Goody's death was unique, it wasn't, thousands die each week - many from the same cancers - are you really suggesting that the media should report one and all (never mind doing so as their lead story)!

    When Elvis Presley or John Lennon died (for example) and got the Headline news status they had actually done something in their lives, it's sanctimonious twaddle to suggest that Jade Goody was on such a level, the only people who believe that are those so besotted with her that they can't see the bigger picture and those who feed of such people.

  • Comment number 83.


    Well my father died of brain cancer, OK so his best years were long past but he was still my father (so I have experienced and nursed such horrors, as you describe them), but I for one agree with those who have said that - beyond reporting the basic facts - such detailed and in-depth coverage of Jade Goody should have been left to magazines such as OK or Hello or the daily rag-tops.

  • Comment number 84.

    To # 82
    I don't need a reality check I live in the real world nor am I besotted particularly as I'm in remission but maybe have unconfirmed secondaries. I just have compassion and I actually feel sorry for people like you who are clearly besotted with themselves and have no compassion or feeling for your fellow "man"! You will feel differently if it ever happens to you as the saying goes when you walk in my shoes then you can comment.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am really disgusted at readings some of the Blogs on here in ref to jade goody.
    She may of not been that popular when she was alive, considering her upbringing, she was an ordinary person as like me and you and tryed to make a life for herself, who would blame her thru the media.
    Why was she the topic of the news on sunday?

    no-one as even highlighted the fact, that she made a lot of people aware of the importance of cervical screening and this in turn will hopefully show that we need to lower the age of when screening starts.
    Jade has made an impact on getting more women coming forward for screening, as opposed to, me for one being frightened about the subject

    Shame on you people.....sheer ignorance!!!!!

  • Comment number 86.


    I will take your apology as read considering that you (probably) posted that comment before being able to read my other message @83, I don't need to be lectured by anyone as to the affects of (terminal) cancer on the sufferer or their families.

    Don't get me wrong, I have much compassion for Ms Goody's family, especially her children, but that doesn't change the fact that her death was not headline news, her death was no more newsworthy than Wendy Richards death was - needs a mention but certainly not the leading news item on the day (correct me if I'm wrong), admittedly Wendy Richards did get a special programme.

    This blog is about editorial decision making;

    "While millions of you have followed our coverage of the
    death of reality TV star Jade Goody, some of you have contacted
    us to question the appropriateness of our carrying the story."

    [The first paragraph of this blog]

    The fact that you don't seem able to see the difference between a discussion about the media industry and their editorial decision making and a discussion about cancer care/treatment/family-life goes to show that you are the one who is getting reality mixed up, probably not helped by an apparent liberal dose of hero worship as well.

  • Comment number 87.


    "sheer ignorance!!!!!"

    You took the words out of my mouth, now scroll back to the top and actually read what is being disgussed, what the blog is actually about...

  • Comment number 88.

    With regard should it have been headline news then personally I don't think so.
    But theres a few linked questions
    Why is it that somebody with no talent, no looks to speak of and little inteligence should become so important to some people they feel the need to buy products endorsed by them, read stories about them. ??
    Is she as well liked as the papers are trying to portray ?? I know one major newspaper edits any hint of negativity towards her on there website.

    But as much as I think its wrong that she became famous and a millionaire on top, you can't really blame her for it.

  • Comment number 89.

    If Jade Goody made one person go for cancer screening, fair enough, but it also shows how fickle our society has become. She was no hero. Cancer sadly is an every day part of our lives, it is doubtful if there is a family in the UK that has not been touched by it. There are thousands' of people in the UK who suffer from this curse, yet they get on with their treatment with little or no publicity, often spending their last few days/weeks in a hospice, which receives little or no government funding. The BBC and the media's coverage was over the top not to mention nauseating at times. I am genuinely sad that a young person lost her life in the way she did, and I am sorry that a mother saw a daughter die. But these things happen in life.

  • Comment number 90.

    The BBC coverage was appropriate given the lack of other major news stories when it was leading the corporation's news output.

    I can't say I particularly had any attraction to Jade's celebrity lifestyle or feel an overwhelming sense of remorse as I didn't know her personally. However, the fact stands though that the number of enquiries being made at GPs surgeries has increased sharply because of her decision to keep the cameras rolling. This decision might have ultimately been to try and raise money for her children's future but having watched a few episodes of her documentary the courage she showed real opened my eyes to how horrible this disease is.

    Those who have watched any of the series or read her very open and frank interviews would of course then shown an interest in her fight to the bitter end as I was.

    There will always be news stories that won't be of interest to everybody but this was clearly the story people wanted to hear most about on that day. This is something people that are complaining should just learn to deal with... it can't be as bad as having cervical cancer after all can it?

  • Comment number 91.

    Anyone who complained against the article was obviously a complete fool. If you've lived in the UK 2 years or more then it is quite apparent how the media works. At least half the population has a morbid curiosity and indeed a fascination in celebrity of some kind.

    Bad news sells... anyone who doesn't know this needs their intelligence examined.

  • Comment number 92.

    ok first of all everyone that said the broadcasting of jades life was bad need to look hard at there lifes and as for saying that the death of Natasha Richardson was worse then jades death you really need to look at your life because how does a woman who knows the dangers of skiing doing it for fun and you think that is alot worse then omeone dying of cancer then your very sad everything that jade did was so her children could have a good life too all that thought jade trying ot make a better time of her life while she could trivial then you should be shammed of yourselfs and how can you call yourself a human being i hope this stays on this site and that you all take a hard look at things

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Just a few notes on this item.

    * A dying mother doing her best for her children is a basic instinct

    * Ignoring medical advice is usually dumb unless you have a second opinion.

    * Appearing on reality TV requires stupidity or a very tough skin.

    * Wanting to live life in the glare of the media is abnormal behaviour.

    * Screening increases the chance of detection but doesn't guarantee it.

    The media created the Jade Goody who died last weekend. It seems that they were prepared to milk the story for all it was worth by way of investment they had made. That is morally abhorrent.

    Perhaps BBC News, collectively, needs to consult a decent psychiatrist before accepting indefinite voluntary admission. I am sure they will find much more worthwhile stories to tell inside a long term psychiatric unit.

  • Comment number 95.

    Wall to wall coverage is all very well, but other topics are dismissed, and hundreds of thousands of irate viewers have taken a keen interest in the Daniel Hannan speech, bringing our Priminister to task for the mishandling of the economy yet there has been no mention of this on the news anywhere.

    The Jade Goody story has dominated the news and general media far too much. Saturation level has been reached, but a good political story like Hannans speech is buried , why?

  • Comment number 96.


    "The BBC coverage was appropriate given the lack of other major news stories when it was leading the corporation's news output."

    Sorry but that is total rubbish, there was plenty of international news that could have and should have been reported above this, Ms Goody's death was in all reality a minority story by world news standards - only relevant to her fans, friends and family - just because the UK is an island it doesn't mean that our news organisations should ignore what is happening in the rest of the world.

  • Comment number 97.


    "Bad news sells... anyone who doesn't know this needs their intelligence examined."

    Very true for the commercial media but this blog is about what the BBC did, and as the BBC don't need to sell (being funded in there "unique way") they don't need to submit themselves to the same lowest common denominators as the commercial media do - anyone who doesn't know this needs their intelligence examined...

  • Comment number 98.


    I my opinion it's those who are besotted with a third rate celeb's that need to take a long hard look at ones life, the rest of us are already living in the real world thanks - when did you last contribute to either cancer research or a Hospice?...

  • Comment number 99.

    A young woman gets cancer and dies, leaving a young family behind. This is very sad, but not unique and certainly not deserving of the vast amounts of coverage it got on what it was admitted was a 'slow news day'. Basically, you talked about Jade Goody becasue you had nothing better to say. How very illuminating.

    The blog says, "we have to bear in mind those licence fee payers who have a strong level of interest and who expected us to provide measured coverage of her death". But WHY were they interested? Becasue outlets like the BBC had shoved her down the throats of the public, that's why. Even people like me, who didn't have any interest, couldn't escape from it. The posturing here reminds me of Paul Weller's rather prescient lyrics from Going Underground, 'The public wants what the public gets'.

    To be fair though, I do think the accusation levelled at the BBC that it was the TV equivalent of the Daily Mirror was a bit off the mark. That's ITV News' job. Lots of the BBC's output is starting to be like listening to the Daily Mail (take Jermey Vine's Radio 2 show for example. Please)

    Perhaps some people have forgotten that 'the public interest' is not the same as, 'the public might be interested'.

  • Comment number 100.

    I fail to understand the spurious justification of the coverage by saying that it raises awareness of cancer and screening. The media could, any time it liked, devote acres of coverage to these issues if they feel that the public would benefit from it. They do not need to wait for someone to die first.

    The brutal truth is that Jade was used to sell magazines, books, perfume, and who knows what else. Her blundering ignorance struck a chord with people and the media profited massively from holding it up as a form of entertainment. Her death shifted magazines and newspapers and most of this tawdry spectacle was justified by saying that it 'raised awareness'. She was complicit in this choice, sure - who wouldn't be seduced by an easy life? But she paid the highest of prices. It cost her her soul, her dignity and maybe even her life. Maybe if she had been a hairdresser in Bermondsey she'd still be alive today. The media did the same with Britney Spears. Baited her, papped her, snapped her. Pushed her and pushed her until she nearly committed suicide. The celeb magazines must have been drooling at the thought of 'tribute specials'. Luckily it never happened, but these vile media must be curtailed. The selfishness of the media was remarked upon by Earl Spencer when Princess Diana died in 1997. Maybe those in the media need to think about what he said. There is still blood on their hands.


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