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Eight O'Clock summary

Craig Oliver Craig Oliver | 09:20 UK time, Monday, 10 December 2007

Tonight we're launching a new news summary on BBC One at 8pm (which I first wrote about here back in May). There'll be a UK section presented by Kate Silverton and a local section from each of the BBC Nations and Regions.

BBC Ten O'Clock News logoThe reason why it was commissioned is simple: audience research revealed that while BBC News remains extremely popular, it could do more to attract younger audiences and what the Americans call "blue collar workers". We discovered many people in these groups found traditional news programmes didn't speak to them and would prefer a different approach.

Before it's even been broadcast, the summary has already attracted a substantial number of column inches - even making the front page of Saturday's Daily Telegraph (though I'm not naïve enough to think this was more about the fine points of BBC editorial policy, than the large image of Kate Silverton).

Kate SilvertonMany of the articles have claimed this is an example of the BBC "dumbing down" - I believe this is wrong for a number of reasons:

1) The summary is an extra offering from BBC News. It won't replace anything - the Six and Ten O'Clock News, News 24 and Newsnight will still continue to offer a broad range of stories, analysis and debate.

2) It won't ignore the key stories of the day, but will tell them in an accessible way.

3) Encouraging as many people as possible to be interested in the news is surely a good thing, and one of the primary reasons why the BBC exists.

Many people rightly have very strong feelings about how BBC News is presented - I hope they will understand that different groups have different needs and tastes, and the BBC should aim to inform as many of them as it can.


  • 1.
  • At 10:36 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • DaveH wrote:

If these people want news for the simple, then they can watch C5 with your previous proposed reader, Natasha Kaplinsky.

"It won't ignore the key stories of the day, but will tell them in an accessible way." Suddenly, I can hear Mel Smith on Not the Nine O'Clock news with the sketch about news for the elderly in slow speed with phrases like "The Prime Minister, you know, that nice Mrs. Thatcher ... lives in London ... well, she's been in Europe today, you know, that lot over the Channel".

I just wish that the BBC would actually try and do intelligent sci/tech news. The Panorama wifi programme that y'all were rightly strongly criticized for - it was hokum of the worst kind - just shows that the BBC can't and won't do this sort of programming. And that's a real shame - Panorama, Horizon and Tomorrow's World used to be staple viewing for me.

  • 3.
  • At 11:11 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mike Daly wrote:

BBC 1 has a full bulletin at 6PM and a full bulletin at 10PM. There is rolling news on News 24. There is news on BBC radio output, BBC online and teletext. There is more time given to news than anything else so what is the point of more news. Could it be to reduce the length of prime time shows and save money?

I hope this bulletin will replace the endless self advertising between programmes that has got completely out of control.

You refer to research. Please can we see the questions and responses to understand how you got the answer you wanted.

BBC News should be about content before presentation. Take an example from today headlined 'Olympics could cost more'. It turns out that a report gives a 20% chance that the budget will be exceeded. That means an 80% chance the budget will be met. Do you think your headline is fair and informative? Why not write headlines about anything that could happen? 'BBC licence fee could double'. 'Queen could convert to Islam'. Get my point?

If you didn't fill your airtime with endless coverage of undead canoeists you could appeal to a wider audience in the existing slots. How about news on CBBC for the youth market.

  • 4.
  • At 11:40 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

How do you reconcile "not dumbing down" with presenting "in an accessible way"?

  • 5.
  • At 11:45 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • John Farmer wrote:

I know there are people who only watch ITV news (presumably because of its tabloid style) so there is definitely an audience for the new slot. Whether people will change channels to watch it is another thing.

Let's face it, there's a snobbery thing here. Just like in the old days when BBC2 was high-brow.

I reckon it will take some clever scheduling to make sure the target audience is already tuned it to BBC when the 8pm news comes on.

As you say, it doesn't replace anything, so what's the problem?

  • 6.
  • At 11:51 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Wonderkid wrote:

How about doing the very reverse and broadcasting an intelligent, well spoken bulletin that encourages people to aspire to be better - rather than remain comfortable in their mediocrity. It was the 1970s BBC and some good parenting that grounded me well - and it is appalling you are now taking the opposite approach. The only positive aspect of this broadcast is the timeslot.

If it is a factual programme then that will be fine. If it contains opinions by the likes of Nick Robinson then it will be just another example of “the world according to the BBC/Guardian”

  • 8.
  • At 11:52 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Can news get any more "accessible" than the 6?

  • 9.
  • At 11:53 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Oliver Chettle wrote:

I take this post as confirmation that it will be dumbed down. "Accessible" is just the dumber-down's code-word for dumbing down. The reference to blue-collar workers suggests it will also be patronising.

  • 10.
  • At 11:53 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • david wrote:

Oh goodie - more news! After all, it'll be a whole hour since the last bulletin ended. A boon for those news junkies who can't work the Teletext button on their remote.

  • 11.
  • At 11:57 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • W Tree wrote:

That the BBC ought appeal to the breadth of the UK audience as well as its depth is right. However, such does not mean this is not "dumbing-down."

The trend in recent years to younger, physically attractive news presenters is evidence enough of this trend. I am not saying such people are poor presenters - they may be very good. What is worrying is that such considerations should play any part in news presentation decisions. There may be better, older, less officially good-looking people who are better.

The Six o'Clock and Ten O'clock news programmes on BBC1 are already very dumbed-down; their language, presentation and shallowness a strong testament to the rise of tabloid presentation - if not to the underlying journalism.

BBC Television caters very poorly for people who want intelligent news presentation during the evening. Newsnight is (often) excellent but is rather late. BBC4's news is at a reasonable time but can be rather ponderous (that does not mean deep).

Surely BBC2tv or BBC4tv can present something betwixt 19:00 Hrs and 21:00 Hrs which serves the needs of the majority of intelligent, critical and current affairs savvy viewers? For listeners, BBC Radio 4 does this admirably but many events are televisual and that should not usually mean shallow.

Maybe better promotion of the programme and an improved could enable BBC4tv news to fulfil this role, at modest expense. Then please promote it hard, to ensure people know about it and it received the viewing figures it deserves.

  • 12.
  • At 11:58 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Well here's hoping BBC London news might actually start reporting on the whole Greater London area rather than just central London....

  • 13.
  • At 11:59 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Its the presening in a more "accesable" way that has many people, myself included worried.

Its the been the case that for a while now, the best news comes not from news 24, or the regular bulletins, but at 4 in the morning on the World Service. There you still get "insight" that does not appeal to the lowest common denominator. As somebody who would still describe themselves as "young" at 30 I find that constant need to attract yonger viewers at the expense of things like news deeply unsettling.

  • 14.
  • At 11:59 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Michael Farquharson wrote:

" 2) It won't ignore the key stories of the day, but will tell them in an accessible way." What pray does this drivel speak mean?.

  • 15.
  • At 12:02 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • A.J.Craske wrote:

The news is already 'dumbed down' otherwise the death of a soldier in Afganistan would have taken presidence over the Hatton fight in yesterdays news.

It is also weighed to suit BBC interests, take the fact that in yesterdays news Hattons defeat was prominent (broadcast on the BBC) whilst Khans victory (broadcast in ITV) didn't rate a mention!

  • 16.
  • At 12:03 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Hoi Polloi wrote:

This is pandering to the lowest common denominator. How can this not be 'dumbing down'? You seek to make BBC news more inclusive for people who don't have the attention span to sit and listen to thirty minutes of news broadcast. If people wish to be ill-imformed about the news, then let them be ignorant. Does the BBC really think that it can maintain its privileged position by lowering standards to meet the 'needs' of the masses?

  • 17.
  • At 12:04 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Charles Bryer wrote:

Ref Eight O'clock summary.
Craig oliver writes that the BBC is not "dumbing down" as the new news summary wont ignore key stories, merely tell them in an "accessable way". Speaking as "what the Americans would call a blue collar worker" myself, I'd like to know what on earth that is supposed to mean? More simplistic? Less formal? Delivered by a sexy female in a short skirt and low cut blouse?
Not dumbing down? Please!
The very fact that someone believes they can use such a hackneyed phrase without reproach clearly signifies that dumbing down has already taken place. Dumber-ing down perhaps?

  • 18.
  • At 12:07 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Lucas Sutton wrote:

1) BBC News "coverage" is already percieved to be dumbed-down, populist and jingoistic, especially Breakfast and News 24, what a contrast with R4 and what they put in their news. This would be apart from the feature stories and puff pieces that constantly appear in the Beeb, the website is especially good for using plugs and features advertising or culling from other media that we've already paid for.

Therefore, it's pretty obvious that this constitutes more dumbing down, rather than the convenient sidestep about exisiting content, when the complaints STEM from the existing content and what Birt did.

2) Isn't that what Newsround does already? Again, the problem is the existing "simplifications" of reportage extant in the Website, Breakfast and on N24. This programme is simply adding to it, apart from being another probably failed vehicle for Silverton. Yes, the Beeb also tries to manufacture stars on our money, ever since Mr Blobby.

3) Wow, we just get a repetition of the same point 3 times, no wonder people think that the BBC is dumbing down. Well, since you repeat your tautology, the answer has to be the same, that the problem is extant dumbing down. This badly thought-out and not very subtle vehicle is just more of that.

I guess that Philosophy or debate were not your strong suits in Uni, but it is remarkably similar to what Blair might've said, ie. Spin, another thing that us license payers hate.

No doubt (and as per usual) this comment being a little bit too prescient, you will not reproduce it, even though I pay my fee too, making me even more inclined that they revoke the licence, since not even Stalin had such thing in his USSR. Therefore I will C&P this comment and post it up on facebook and on various fora to discuss it with them, where the nation REALLY speaks unto itself.

What a waste of money you folk are.

  • 19.
  • At 12:07 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • J Squires wrote:

I agree with all you say above. An extra and lighter offering can only be a good thing. However, please let's use this as an opportunity to un-'dumb down' the main news programmes, which (imo) would benefit from greater reportage, in depth markets & financial analysis, the return of a proper satellite weather map etc. ...

  • 20.
  • At 12:09 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Elliot Spencer wrote:

Given BBC news output is already not only dumb, but also stuffed with left-liberal bias, I don't really see how this announcement makes any difference one way or the other. It would be far better to rip up the BBC and start again with a smaller, more nimble, operation that serves those who are willing to voluntarily pay for it.

  • 21.
  • At 12:10 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Peter Bench wrote:

As usual, the BBC misses the point. Its reputation (and the continued justification to collect a regressive tax) is based on the quality of its factual reporting. Clearly those facts can be explained in straightforward terms but their importance and detail shold not be diminished. Sadly, like the Times, the modern generation of journalists and editors is not up to the job.

1. It may be an extra offering from the BBC, but it does not follow that it will not replace anything. If viewers watch the new news offering instead of a current one, hasn't the former replaced the latter?
2. So you are saying the current offering is inaccessible?
3. Your current offering is poor enough, especially if it concerns numbers, so encouraging people to be interested in the news at an even more superficial level is not necessarily a good thing, and could discourage people from becoming interested in the news because of a perception that the news is of no value.

  • 23.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Pancha Chandra wrote:

BBC news has blazed many a trail: coming out of the exercise smelling of roses. It is imperative that younger audiences are targeted and be given greater opportunities to express their viewpoints. Fresh approaches should always be welcomed to cater for younger audiences. However news reporting should always be balanced and the BBC should continue its tradition of impartial reporting irrespective of the target group.

  • 24.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jenni wrote:

Mr Oliver - I wonder if you could provide some examples of the ways in which this summary will be more "accessible", aside from the fact of it actually being a summary.

After all, surely the 60st gorilla in the room - that no-one dares acknowledge - is that this is for the *less educated* section of the population (though I suspect you would prefer phrases like "less well informed" or "less catered for" or "blue collar workers"). Regardless, I'm curious... besides the brevity of the broadcast, what else will make it accessible?

  • 25.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Ross Browne wrote:

It helps BBC ONE fill more minutes so an episode of HOLBY need only be 55 minutes and EASTENDERS 25 - therefore it is just a money saving exercise. Five minutes of news is cheaper than 5 minutes of drama.

  • 26.
  • At 12:16 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jake wrote:

BBC news has been seriously dumbed down in recent years, and I suspect that this is just the latest example. Intelligent people don't care about fancy power point presentations - we want the facts. As another comment suggested, wouldn't it be better to educate than to try and emulate ITV and its tabloid style? I havne't watched BBC1 for years, and it looks like I won't be watching it in the near future.

  • 27.
  • At 12:17 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Erm 'news on CBBC for a youth market'...?

Heard of Newsround? It's been on CBBC for 35 years!

  • 28.
  • At 12:17 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • James Hill wrote:

The 10pm news has become terribly dumbed down over the past few years. Consumerist and scaremongering stories, even music played in the background on some reports to help "sell" the story. All presented by heavily made-up presenters who see their future presenting Strictly Come Dancing rather than in serious journalism.

The BBC now regard the news as "entertainment" and so goes for the tabloid angle.

Thank goodness for the 7pm news on Channel 4. The last bastion of serious journalism on our screens.

As for local news, the BBC's London offering is 10 times worse. Even though they serve a huge chunk of the South East they can't be bothered to venture outside the M25. The stories alternate between the Mayor Of London, Knife Crime and consumer reports.

Really BBC, wake up. News doesn't need to be entertainment or tabloid.

By the way, I'm under 30, not some old TOG. I really cannot be bothered to watch any BBC news output any longer. I just don't think I have the required lack of attention span or stupidity!

  • 29.
  • At 12:20 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mal wrote:

I'd like to see the self-advertising during the news to be reduced. There regularly are news items which are nothing more than adverts for that night's Panorama.

  • 30.
  • At 12:22 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Kessell wrote:

If the new bulletin is to be "more accessible" summary, can we hope to see a return to the more serious treatment of stories in the main bulletins? I'm sure this would be appreciated by those untrendy viewers who are not youths and prefer substance over style?

  • 31.
  • At 12:23 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • M J Pritchard wrote:

I thought you already did this with Newsround on Childrens Television, but still if you think their is a gap that needs filling so be it.

One hopes one day that the BBC will once again cater for the more thoughtful viewer who does not need the 'Impact' presentation that now dominates news programmes.

  • 32.
  • At 12:24 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

Does accessible programming incorporate regional news? Our region (NE & Cumbria) appears to be largely about Newcastle when I actually live in Cumbria. Only 100 miles away!

Mike Daly and I seem to agree on a few things, especially about BBC self promotion and promoting chat show guests products. Can we at least have an interview with someone who is not trying to tell me something punctuated with news about other BBC programmes.

This includes the news

Get the basics right and you'll get better audiences.

  • 33.
  • At 12:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

The fact that Craig Oliver denies "dumbing down" and at the same time sees fit to include a picture of Kate Silverton who presumably is going to front this new bite sized chunk of news lite is rather interesting. Whatever happened to serious people presenting the news, people who had been around, fought in wars, had life experience. Sure they might have looked a bit "wrinkled" but at least they had "gravity". No, Mr Oliver BBC "news" is awful - sometimes I think it is an edition of Watchdog with it's soft issues, no depth and pandering to those in authority. We know you dare not bite the hand that feeds you - you are really part of the state. Thank goodness for Channel 4 News - Still never mind - you've got Johnathan Ross who claims to be worth one thousand BBC journalists.

I hope at least that this doesn't mean that the BBC will succumb to the pathetic tabloid-style headlines that plagues the ITV news.

You say that this summary is 'not dumbing down' without actually offering any evidence. Giving examples of other content (Newsnight, other news bulletins, etc.) that is not dumbed down, does not disprove the allegation that this content is dumbed down.

By that logic I could say that the Mclaren-Mercedes SLR sports car is not environmentally damaging because Mercedes also make the environmentally friendly Smart Car.

  • 36.
  • At 12:29 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Ann Roberts wrote:

I feel like a lone voice thinking that this is a good idea! I like the 60-second news slots on BBC3, and treat them as pointers to other news services (particularly News24) if there is anything that has emerged since my last visit to the BBC News website or the end of PM and the 6 o'clock news on Radio 4. I don't care if it is described as "accessible" or "news in brief" - anything that gives me digestible information before I nod-off before the 10pm news (after a full working day and looking after a two-year-old have exhausted me) has to be a good thing.

  • 37.
  • At 12:29 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Considering all the other dumb channels out there, can we not have one that does the opposite and tries to be intelligent for a change?

  • 38.
  • At 12:32 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Steve Butcher wrote:

This demonstrates perfectly how out of touch the beeb is. Much of the younger audience gets the news from the Internet. It's a pity that the BBC wastes money on this stupid research instead of making quality product.

  • 39.
  • At 12:34 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • James Stevens wrote:

MOST E-MAILED news today:
1 Man cuts off penis in restaurant
2 Brain 'irrelevance filter' found
3 Mysterious mammal caught on film
4 'Intelligent bra' battles bounce

The enlightened few are fighting a losing battle against the unsophisticated many.

  • 40.
  • At 12:38 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • S.A.Booth wrote:

The BBC news is more than adequately 'accessible' - with over 80% of the UK having digital TV - on which I believe BBC News 24 is free.

It could simply be that some people just don't care what is going on in the world. After a hard day at work, it is possible that a large number of people don't want to hear about people dying, government scandals or even who has beaten who to pulp in the weekends boxing. To some people the bed-hopping antics of a group of fictional east-Londoners, mancunians or dales folk is of much more importance than who in the government has been lying and to what extent.

Then there are people like me - I only watch the news occasionally as I get most of my news input from reading news sites on the internet - it's just more convenient for me.

I'm not convinced that a slow flood of more news bulletins is going to encourage people to watch if they don't particularly fancy it.

  • 41.
  • At 12:38 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • YENROD wrote:

How much more news do need.

This is totally un-necessary.

Who wants to watch news anyway - BBC News 24 is for anyone at anytime.


  • 42.
  • At 12:38 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Brendan wrote:

It's really funny that you use the term 'what the Americans call "blue collar workers"' as though they were so disgusting you couldn't even articulate them using British phraseology. And then the jokey 'please-let-me-be-your-friend' line to say what attracted readers to your Telegraph column was the picture of Kate Silverton as though we were unable to appreciate anything unless you stuck a 'bird's' face on it. Is that really how thick you think we are?
Please stop patronising us.

  • 43.
  • At 12:39 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • John D Traynor wrote:

The news on all channels is already dumbed down. Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and BBC are all guilty of presenting the news as if the audience are idiots. For example, Newsnight, despite the good Paxman, has degenerated into comedy.

Your real objective here is to present the news without tackling the stories in full. The last thing you want is for people to actually think about things.

I'll stick to Radio 4 news.

  • 44.
  • At 12:42 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Roger Owen wrote:

If the presenter of the 8 o'clock headlines is one of the few staff who can adapt to new challenges in broadcasting it says very little for the quality of your other staff. As other viewers have noted the whole tone of your item seems patronising and condescending.You already have a dedicated news channel so why do you need more inserts.

  • 45.
  • At 12:45 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • David Shepherd wrote:

Don't think there's any danger of this being used to plug the next Panorama story ... this is meant to be accessible so its more likely to be a drop in of an item on some topical subject followed by a comment "you can find out more about this story by following next weeks Eastenders storyline".

Btw, given that I think the 10pm news covered the revelation in the Labour funding story that Mendlenson had written to Abrahams by showing a film of someone writing a letter with a caption reading "reconstruction" then I think its all pretty dumbed down already

  • 46.
  • At 12:51 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

My main point would be to allow Kate to be, er, Kate. And not suffer the nonsensical diktats from 'management' which had Fiona Bruce having to grin like a Cheshire Cat and Natasha Kaplinsky flashing a smile inappropriately during stories of tragedy.

In fact, why do you need a separate newsreader at all ? Sophie Raworth does a perfectly good job of presenting a brief update on the news at around midday as a 'taster' for the One O'Clock News bulletin which she presents.

  • 47.
  • At 12:53 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Not dumbed down?

Dumbing down is a prerequisite for a news bulletin that is apecifically aimed at "blue collar workers" and younger people who currently aren't interested in the news.

So this bulletin will definitely be dumbed down. Why not just admit it?

And if these people aren't interested in the news. why even bother to cater for them? It is not the BBC's job to change people's behaviour, even if that were practicable.

  • 48.
  • At 12:53 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

'and what the Americans call "blue collar workers"'
Is this the C2s, as they're sometimes referred to in marketing and political terms in the UK?
Interesting - the logic is that 'blue collar workers' or C2s don't really have the intelligence, word power, power of concentration etc to understand or be interested in Newsnight, etc. They want something more tabloidy, more punchy, more 'human interest'? More News of the World than the Guardian or Telegraph?
Sounds like dumbing down to me. And insulting. And a rash generalization. But what do I know?

  • 49.
  • At 12:54 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • John Auld wrote:

I bet the BBC will still report on issues as affecting the nation when they actually mean England. (As per the recent report on cash being given direct to disabled people, these was an English proposal and didn't affect the other three UK nations) Shouldn't the BBC concentrate on being factually accurate and reporting for all of the UK before they try to be innovative in delivering news?

  • 50.
  • At 12:59 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew Summersgill wrote:

Brendon, I don't think Mr Oliver was patronising anyone - more that he felt the newspapers were.

  • 51.
  • At 01:11 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Brian Goodliffe wrote:

Across the various channels the news is broadcast in various styles; even standing up! So what lengths will they go to to attract the 'younger viewer'? Reading the news in 'Chav Speak'?

  • 52.
  • At 01:14 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jon Anderson wrote:

What patronising twaddle from Craig Oliver:

"The summary is an extra offering from BBC News" - Well thanks, but no thanks. The extra offerings I want are better programming and the scrapping of all those dreadful adverts, especially those for the TV tax.

"It won't ignore the key stories of the day, but will tell them in an accessible way" - All it takes is for someone to speak clearly using good english. Or is that a challenge for the BBC these days?

"Many people rightly have very strong feelings about how BBC News is presented" - How right you are; but this does nothing to address their concerns, because what they see is often shallow, populist and amateurish. All you offer is more of the same, presented by a barbie-doll clone. Yuk.

  • 53.
  • At 01:15 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

I dont quite understand why people are that bothered with the new news programme. Firstly, they haven't seen it yet. Secondly, even if it is "dumbed down" then there is no one forcing them to watch it, and a news programme that engages younger people and those traditionally less interested in news and politics, can only be a good thing surely?

  • 54.
  • At 01:15 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Dr Ian Sedwell wrote:

It is super dumbed down news. The main BBC1 news is already dumbed down. BBC News 24 is a laughing stock, plumbing the depths of its own journalistic puddle.

What has happened to the serious, contemplative, objective reporting that the BBC used to be known and respected for?

  • 55.
  • At 01:16 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Helen wrote:

Televised news has become unbearable for its inaccuracy and blatant discrimination. In the new proposed simplicity it is even more likely to be a viewpoint rather than fact. I mainly read it online as the sensationalism is just that bit easier to ignore.

"How about news on CBBC for the youth market." As someone said, Newsround, but EURGH, what a crock of, well, you know. It is the most patronising piece of rubbish there is, manipulating young minds into certain viewpoints and avidly avoiding any word over 4 letters. And we wonder why kids are illiterate?

This new gimmick may encourage people to watch the news, but it is another way to turn me off it.

Sort out the mess you already have, your good reputation from bygone eras won't last forever.

  • 56.
  • At 01:16 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • R Tromans wrote:

Are we saying then that "blue collar workers" ie poor people (let's be frank about what you mean) are similar to kids? Ie that a large part of the UK's population should be treated as if they are not adults in fact, but, how can we say politely....are behind the learning curve a little?

Also, how do "traditional news programmes" not speak to you? People interested in cars can watch Top Gear without a special remedial version, so with DIY, or antiques. But, with news it needs a special version for people that don't get it, or are not really interested in it?

The key issue with news is that news is whatever you find interesting that is new. In this way such "special" general news for less educated people will not be dumbed down, but it will simply contain less of what the rest of the population calls mainstream news. It will instead focus on what many people find enjoyable, rather than informative. Effectively, the BBC is saying it is OK for a large part of British people not to want to be well informed. Or in other words it's a hybrid programme: forcing the news to be enjoyable to consume, rather than just useful to know.

  • 57.
  • At 01:17 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Alastair Warren wrote:

I've given up on TV, I rely on BBC radio and the Internet. I was unaware of the ethnic and religious background of the rioters in France until Radio 4's Feedback programme aired a complaint from two listeners that the BBC News failed to inform us of that. So excuse me if I doubt the integrity of BBC News programmes.

  • 58.
  • At 01:24 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • paul wrote:

Why not just do news without accompanying drivel? For example, the (not really news anyway but let's not go there) news at the weekend that the returned-missing-canoeist had been charged by the police (takes a few seconds to say) was for some inane reason accompanyed by a few minutes spent recounting the earlier news about him that had already been broadcast as news earlier in the week.
Here is the 10 o'clock news that is mainly not news......

  • 59.
  • At 01:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Johnny Lyttle wrote:

Brave move in the face of a lot of skepticism, but definately the right decision.

  • 60.
  • At 01:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

It's not the actual content or quality of these bulletins that worries me. It's that they give an unspoken testimonial to the concept that it's socially OK for adults to limit their input of current affairs to a fleeting focus on a few minutes of bite-sized, generally trivial simplisticism. And only then if they happen to be in front of a TV screen at the appropriate time.

I can't see that it's right to continue to countenance the childish aspects of the worldview of today's adult children.

But perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe it's best for us all if as few people as possible actually become mental adults, and that therefore we should do all we can to foster permanent adolescence of thought.

  • 61.
  • At 01:33 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Suzanne Parker wrote:

I watched the BBC 6 o'clock news last weekend for the first time since my son was born 5 years ago and thought that was dumbed down. Couldn't put my finger on it exactly but was surprised when I realised it wasn't ITV. Not helped by the lightweight presentational skills of the woman. Give me Moira Stewart any day. Even better, give us back a 9 o'clock for the people who can be spoken to in words of more than one syllable but are just a bit pooped by 10.

  • 62.
  • At 01:34 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Rowe wrote:

How about enthusing the intelligent and producing challenging news that actually requires some thought and investigation by the viewer instead?

You could save the hassle and simulcast the 8pm BBC Three sixty seconds bulletin for the intellectually challenged on BBC ONE instead of what seems to be more Cappucino News.

  • 63.
  • At 01:38 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

"...what the Americans call "blue collar workers". We discovered many people in these groups found traditional news programmes didn't speak to them and would prefer a different approach."

And this approach is dumbing-down. For goodness sake leave the dumbing-down of television - including the news - to the likes of Sky!

  • 64.
  • At 01:38 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew H wrote:

I agree with Jim. On the assumption that being "accessible" and "inclusive" also involves reaching out to viewers with more than half a brain, could we please have intellectually challenging, bias-free current affairs programming a little earlier in the evening?

  • 65.
  • At 01:41 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Tony McAlinden wrote:

Look at the sheer number of people who believe this to be a ridiculous idea.

One wonders if the research that led to this sort of decision was in fact targeted across all social groups, or deliberately aimed at getting the right answer.

The BBC would do well to understand that it is not there to chase audience share, nor is it a brand.

It is a Public Service Broadcaster and as such should be about helping people remove themselves from mediocrity.

Any commercial station would kill to have the sort of demographic the BBC seem determined to destroy...

  • 66.
  • At 01:43 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Desmond FitzGerald wrote:

If it is not going to be a dumbed down news then why is a proper journalist not presenting it - someone with intellectual weight like oh I don't know. Moira Stuart maybe? Instead we are subjected to the likes of Kate Silverton and all the other bimbos and airheads (which applies to men and woman) the BBC seems so keen on.

Also how insulting to 'blue collar workers' to assume they are not interested in or capable of following a more serious indepth proper news report.

Yet more patronising from the BBC.

  • 67.
  • At 01:47 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Darryl Beresford wrote:

At what point will BBC1 simply stop showing all those annoying and so very expensive programmes and just become News24 2?

  • 68.
  • At 01:47 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • David Spencer wrote:

Wasn't this programme created 35 years ago and called John Craven's Newsround!!

  • 69.
  • At 01:48 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jim Campbell wrote:

I think I lot of people complainig about this obviously silly programme are missing the whole point of it.

Kate Silverton is very pretty. And that's it.

Who would have thought LiveTV would one day be considered a template for BBC news.

  • 70.
  • At 01:50 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Thomas Tengsted wrote:

Super! More London News.

  • 71.
  • At 01:54 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • NickQ wrote:

If the 8pm broadcast will be dumbed down, can I request that the 6pm broadcast be dumbed up please?

  • 72.
  • At 01:55 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Steve Kay wrote:

Thw very concept that you can convey anything insightful about the day's news in 90 seconds is just a dumb conceit.

Some 'differnt groups' (i.e. dumb individuals) feel no need of and have no taste for news and current affairs. The BBC should not dellude itself that a quick bombardment of facts read by a pretty young face will make any change to that blissful state of mind.

  • 73.
  • At 01:55 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Victoria wrote:

It amazes me that so many will criticise this change of approach to appeal to a different audience. As a communications manager I am constantly amazed by the desire of senior managers and the educated to use obscure language and communicate in such a way that the audience is unable to understand what they are reading or hearing and feel engaged by it. This happens from communiqués from senior mangers, to meetings I attend to letters from my child’s primary school. It is interesting in how often those using less common language do not actually know the real definition of the words they choose.
Why is communicating in a way which is assessable to a wider audience considered dumbing down? Surly it is ‘raising or educating up’ if more people are aware of current affairs and take an interest in the issues of a day as a result?

  • 74.
  • At 01:56 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Tony Bryer wrote:

Please, please, please get rid of the jungle drums. We turn on the news to hear the news and shouldn't be fighting to hear what is being said over the background noise. Apart from being immensely irritating, it is an insult to the person whose (hopefully) carefully crafted words we are trying to hear.

  • 75.
  • At 01:56 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • James Owen wrote:

Last week I watched the BBC One O'clock news twice give 5 minutes of airtime to the return of the Spice Girls, with reports before the show and after it (all with a neat little EMI logo in the top corner by the way).

It makes me wonder how much of this 8pm news summary is going to be devoted to similarly flimsy celebrity news events, because lets face it, an audience chasing BBC news team is going to have a hard time attracting 20-something Eastenders addicts with truly important and informative stories in the couple of minutes going spare in this bulletin. It just can't be done.

  • 76.
  • At 01:56 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • John Miles wrote:

If it works - then perhaps they’ll learn the problem with the news - it is repetitive, the Presenter says something which is immediately repeated by someone on the scene with almost nothing added
And it feels like people filling up the time slots–maybe we switch to an eye witness who can say there was a loud bang – and if we are really unlucky someone who is obviously in distress about the incident

  • 77.
  • At 01:57 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Freddy wrote:

Is this the return of John Craven's Newsround in a later slot ?

  • 78.
  • At 01:57 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Hill wrote:

So let me get this straight:

1) News audience falls
2) News gets simpler to the point of inaccuracy to try to make itself "accessible"
3) News audience falls more
4) News gets even simpler

ad nauseum...

Maybe the problem is idiots don't tend to watch the news anyway, no matter how simple it is and no matter how quick it is, and the audience that used to watch the news are now getting their news from other sources like the Internet.

Of course, the big advantage of TV news - big in-depth audiovisual content - is being ignored, instead news items are "brief" out of fear of losing their imagined idiot audience's imagined short attention span.

  • 79.
  • At 02:00 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

What we really have is another example of BBC elitism: that is, reserving intelligent comment and analysis for the 'white collar audience' and presenting the 'blue collar audience' with a version of CBBC's Newsround. It's shameful. What on earth is the point of the BBC if its unwilling to guard standards? There is a proud tradition of working class libraries and indeed working-class intellectualism. Perhaps that's why the terminological wobble, 'blue collar' was necessary. Of course the duty to preserve complexity is a political one as well as a social one: life and the world ARE complex; to suggest otherwise is to raise a generation of ideological children who will one day get a very nasty shock.

  • 80.
  • At 02:00 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Peter Herridge wrote:

The question should be asked as to why the younger audience isn't interested in the first place. It is more than likely because they have aspirations of becoming a reality tv star, getting famous and not needing to worry about life tribulations such as work and world affiars.

I was having a conversation with someone a few nights back who was straight out of university with a Ba(Hons) degree who couldn't name more than two continents and didn't even have a clue where Iraq was.

I am annoyed that those of us who care about the way news is presented have to suffer the extreme "dumbing down" offered for those who plainly aren't interested.

  • 81.
  • At 02:01 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Neill Leary wrote:

What's all this about "..what the Americans call "blue collar" workers"? I have known of this term since I left school many, many years ago, and I believe it had been in use for a long time then. The Americans might be using it now but I believe it has its roots in this country. Incidentally, my dictionary defines 'blue collar' (and I quote) as "(adj) designating or of industrial workers, esp. the semi-skilled and unskilled."

I like the idea of an eight o'clock news summary as an attention-getter. There are then plenty of other places where one can get more information on a particular topic if needed.

  • 82.
  • At 02:02 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Oli wrote:

As other comments have highlighted, there are already a number of news programmes aimed at younger people and "blue collar workers" (read: "the poor") - why does the BBC need to replicate this? I suspect it's a crude (and distinctly patronising) way of justifying the poll-tax-esque way the BBC is funded - which bears most heavily upon the young and poor.

  • 83.
  • At 02:09 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • HM wrote:

Will it affect the content of News at 10? Is Radio 4's Today Programme going to be dramatically altered by this unholy new slot? Are there plans to rewrite the news website in txtspeak?

Apparently not. So why is it a problem?

I won't be watching it. I'll stick to my "white collar" news slots, thanks. But I don't see why there's been so much bile about this. Surely this is part of the BBC's job as much as catering for the more intellectual followers of the news?

Better that the "blue collar workers" and "youth" get their accessible news from the BBC than the less-reliable, profit-driven tabloids, surely.

  • 84.
  • At 02:12 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Jackson wrote:

As someone who may be considered part of the desired 'younger audience', let me say that this is exactly not what most of the people I know want. Those who actually want to know what's going on are turning to multiple sources on the internet, as the BBC continues to dumb-down and indulge in shameless self-promotion for shows running later that evening. Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe had a wonderful piece on 'yoof' audiences and I would suggest it as required viewing for those who think this is a good idea.

Without the option to see the exact details of the "research" that was conducted I would make an informed guess from experience that those who wanted a more "accessible" news probably wouldn't watch even if such a thing were offered, they'd carry on getting their news from celebrity\entertainment shows and magazines. If don't want to watch the 6pm news, it might just be that they aren't interested in most 'news' at all

Surely it is becoming harder and harder to justify the licence fee if the BBC are going to seek to satisfy the majority at the expense of less commercial, but more involved analysis and study.

Perhaps the best antidote to those claiming 'dumbing-down' would be to make the 10pm news more accessible to "white collar workers" and provide a bit more thought-out analysis and a little less "entertainment".

  • 85.
  • At 02:13 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Jonathan Keating wrote:

We have 87%+ of the UK population with access to Digital Television (Freeview, Cable, Satellite) we have 60%+ of households with Internet access. We have Teletext and the Radio for those without the Internet or Digital TV.

Now in the age when it's never been so easy to access news and information you decide to force another 5 minutes of it on people who still don't want to watch it?!

Would it not have been cheaper and easier to roll 'adverts' in between programmes promoting all the different ways you can access the news 24hrs a day?

Fact is, if people aren't watching the news it's not because the BBC (or anyone else) has failed them it's because they just don't want to watch the news!

  • 86.
  • At 02:15 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Neil Mohr wrote:

'Dumbed down'? I already considered the BBC's 6 and 10o'clock news to be already aimed at the lowest common denominator. Barely classing as news at all. I have no idea what a new 8o'clock update would add to this? Considering there is BBC News 24 - which I believe from the title to be available 24 hours a day - why an extra news show is required at all? Other than it's cheap repeated programming. The BBC news to get its news reporting inlines with Channel 4 and even the ITV - the current level is just cheap adverts for other BBC programmes and 'interviews' of people stood outside London tourist attractions.

  • 87.
  • At 02:18 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Neil Mohr wrote:

Just to back up the 'dumbed down' news thing. This is your current top 5 stories:

* Pregnant at 13, mum at 14, GCSEs at 15
* Vicar's cottage plea to Zep fans
* Man's four days trapped in toilet
* Rugby star Henson to face court
* Man cuts off penis in restaurant

Now that's all high-brow news analysis.

  • 88.
  • At 02:20 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Vicki wrote:

Why don't you just air BBC Breakfast news again? That really scrapes the barrel and will mean you can pay Jonathan Ross et al more whilst making all the other journalists etc else redundant...

  • 89.
  • At 02:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Claire Potter wrote:

My husband is a 'blue collar' worker (a plumber) with a degree in Engineering and an MBA.
Does he need 'accessible' news or is he quite capable of understanding Newsnight on his own?
I am all for plain English and simplified news for those who may need it. Newsround is an excellent programme and I grew up with an interest in current affairs probably solely due to John Craven.
However, the implication that all 'blue collar' workers need 'accessible' news is risible at best, insulting and discriminatory at worst. Plumbers can be clever too, you know.

  • 90.
  • At 02:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • tim chesters wrote:

No objections here to dumb news for for a dumb audience (and that is what Mr. Oliver means when he has to resort to the absurd circumlocution 'what the Americans call blue-collar workers').

But if you are going to talk down to the plebs at 8pm, please can you talk UP to the rest of us at 6 and 10? The early evening show is comically dumbed-down as it is: 'Yes, George!', 'Thanks, Natasha' etc, etc, etc.

  • 91.
  • At 02:30 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Richard G wrote:

Why doesn't the BBC just state that it wants to produce dumbed down material and be done with it ?

These arguments are getting very boring - oh, and just because you produce Newsnight doesn't mean you haven't dumbed everything else down.

If, Mr Oliver, you are so against the label of dumbed down material why don't you just stop doing it. It truly is that easy.

  • 92.
  • At 02:41 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Dale Le Page wrote:

Well if the eight o'clock summary is going to be 'accessible', which I think most people are taking to mean simplified to insignificance, is there any chance we can have a real news show back at six or ten? Just a thought...

  • 93.
  • At 02:41 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Pete Ruddick wrote:

Oh come on - do all these commenters seriously think a small 8pm bulletin means the BBC is dumbing down? The BBC provides more factual, investigative, searching and informative news programmes than anyone else - they are out there - maybe not prime time BBC One but if ye search ye shall find. With the internet and its various platforms finding 'hard' news from the BBC is easier than ever - if you cant manage to find it then im sorry folks you are getting dumber not the content!!! There is a large swathe of people who do not turn to the BBC for news - many of these people watch the BBC primetime output on BBC1 and it is to these people that this bulletin will reach and inform. The BBC will not please everyone all the time or even reach everyone all the time but actually should it? Yes it should - the aim of the BBC is to be for everyone - hence the license fee those disgruntled viewers always hark back too we all pay it and we should all be serviced so to speak.

  • 94.
  • At 02:47 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Come on admit it - you don't think us viewers have an attention span longer than a few minutes and can't take anything in unless you show animations or large text. Sorry you have us wrong we do want in-depth news not more summaries - as is mentioned elsewhere most people have access to 24 hour news via tv or internet - neither of those provide the detailed background information many of us can cope with!

  • 95.
  • At 02:53 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

The BBC continues to dumb down the news as it blurs the boundaries between facts and gossip. Take the routine last hour of Breakfast News which has now become a slot for tedious, blatant advertising for another failed ‘celebrity’ to plug their latest DVD, book, film etc or for updates on Strictly Come Dancing and other trivial, banal content of this nature.

BBC News has clearly lost direction avoiding tough and challenging subjects and focusing upon spinning stories which have no substance – take last weeks discussion highlighting the fact that “10% of drivers who hit another car drive off without informing the owner of the other vehicle”. Would it not have been possible for the BBC to deduce therefore that 90% of drivers who hit another car actually DO leave contact information and that most motorists are actually fairly honest? Probably not as that would have left a slot for a real story, such as the two minor conflicts that the UK is involved in in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Dumbing down? Ridiculous.

  • 96.
  • At 02:55 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • MB wrote:

Shorter and more accessible broadcast should make it a lot more easy to put the BBC's pro-Union, biased propaganda out there. Stop listening to your marketing department ideas and government sponsored BBC Trust on the subject of what the people want. People already have enough news. Younger audiences use the internet. So-called "Blue collar workers" (that would be working class then) are actually able to understand a normal news broadcast, thanks very much, unless you put inadequate, superficial reporting and journalism in front of them, like this programme promises to be.

  • 97.
  • At 02:55 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

Great to see the hard line scrap-the-BBC bloggers out in force again.

I'm always lost in admiration for their skill in taking a blog entry about one thing, in this instance accessible news, and artfully using it as a platform for their rabid liberterian all-tax-is-theft views.

Elliot (#20) was in early on with his powerful insight in to Auntie's 'left-liberal bias' that should be 'voluntarily' paid for.

And, Peter (#21), well done for getting in the 'licence fee is a regressive tax' line apropos of nothing in your post. I usually don't expect that gem until at least entry #50

Can we not have a separate blog - hosted by the BBC - where the ideologically driven extremists can have their say about closing the corporation down? This would remove the need for them to shoehorn their arguments into debates that, really, have nothing to do with that point.

Don't get me wrong - quite often I think the BBC sucks. I just think the solution probably isn't tearing down one of this country's great institutions - presumably just before going on to dismantle the NHS - as some of the more excitable contributors would clearly love.

  • 98.
  • At 02:56 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Martin Smith wrote:

As a blue-collar worker who has no problem seeing through the bias, sensationalism and superficial analysis that passes for the 6 o'clock news, I could be seriously offended by the patronising attitude expressed towards me here by your news editor. Fortunately I am able to forgive him since he clearly does not understand what he is talking about. Good job I know what I am doing when I am making car engines, even if something as complex as journalism would be far beyond me.

  • 99.
  • At 03:06 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

This is fair, since the people who require a simple news program do also pay their licence fee. However, use it as a reason to make the 'proper' news a bit more intelligent again. It would be nice not to have to use the internet for in depth 'adult' coverage of news stories (I'm only 16 and the state of the news is driving me insane!).

  • 100.
  • At 03:06 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

#3 Mike Daly
"Take an example from today, headlined "Olympics could cost more". It turns out that a report gives a 20% chance that the budget will be exceeded. That means an 80% chance that the budget will be met. Do you think your headline if fair and informative?"

Personally I'd say they have a 20% chance of exceeding the budget, 20% chance of grossly exceeding it and about 60% chance of having the budget reclassified as fantasy fiction. As such my only quibble with the headline is use of "could" rather than "will of course"...

  • 101.
  • At 03:08 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mike Blake wrote:

If you want young people and 'blue-collars' to be interested in BBC news then report NEWS. The BBC is obsessed with politics; the public is not. Politics does NOT equal news. endless speculation is NOT news. News is what has happened. Including 'interesting' things not just politics/the economy/the 'markets'. 'Also in the news' is popular link because it delivers non BBC 'News' items that people (by their actions) show to be 'interesting news'. The BBC serves its own agenda, not the public.

  • 102.
  • At 03:10 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

Comment 79 : Mark

Yes, Mark, absolutely. Life and the world is complex, and anyone who tries to portray that this is not the case does society a great disservice.

We should be critical of ignorance, not glorify and pander to it.

  • 103.
  • At 03:12 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Scott Mitchell wrote:

Another move to an idiocracy!!

Why am I paying a license fee so that thick people can have their news?

You should make thick people aspire to be more intelligent, not lower the level of content.

I'm sorry but I am seriously thinking of getting rid of my TV and just watching BBC on broadband - see if you can catch me!!

  • 104.
  • At 03:13 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • william simpson wrote:

Look at how popular this news idea is and how the BBC responds - with a stiff finger - or is that "We value your opinion" "But we know best and will do it anyway".
Its time to give the mugged back their licence fees!

  • 105.
  • At 03:14 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I am a viewer, and according to the BBC, they are listening to what we ask for.

Well what I want is a news broadcast that uses intelligent words, broadcasts stories that ITV may not think will attract viewers and isn't completely obsessed with oversized graphics and the lip-curled Huw Edwards.

Public-service programming is about providing content that commerical rivals will not provide in case they don't get enough viewers to sell advertising. That is the whole point of having a licensed fee, so the BBC is free from these commerical pressures.

  • 106.
  • At 03:17 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • alfred wrote:

I agree with Steve! How much more dumbed down than the 6 oclock news can you get?

  • 107.
  • At 03:42 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Steven wrote:

"these groups found traditional news programmes didn't speak to them"

Firstly, I find it appalling that a man in your position thinks it is appropriate to use the above phrase to try to explain one of your decisions to the people who pay your wages. It is pseudo-American rubbish which doesn't actually mean anything. People who use this kind of language are usually attempting to sound as though they are saying something profound, when in fact they don't have a clue what they mean(eg David Brent).

Then you follow this up with "what the Americans call 'blue collar workers'". Yes, thanks for that, but this is the BBC so what do Britons call them? It's working class, so say that, or are you too obsessed with political correctness?

Reading between the lines though, as you have forced me to do with your seemingly deliberate lack of clarity, I suppose your focus group told you that they like news but mainly the celebrity stories, and not the boring stuff about politics and wars. If you are reacting to this, then shame on you.

And 90 seconds? Whose half-baked idea was that? I don't seriously believe that anyone who works in TV could expect viewers to deliberately change channels to watch a 90 second bulletin, especially at a time when other popular programmes are starting. So the best you are hoping for is that people are forced to sit through it before Eastenders or whatever comes on.

Lastly, your comment about the Telegraph's picture of Kate Silverton is hypocritical in the extreme, given that appearance is a major factor in the selection of news presenters.

  • 108.
  • At 03:43 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

If you talked up instead of down to people you might find them watching. Despite all opinions to the contrary, people love quality television. Start by completely revamping the 6 and 10 news back to being real news, real analysis, serious stuff that illuminates and educates. Please.

  • 109.
  • At 04:06 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • joao wrote:

i am glad to see the derision that this announcement has been greeted with.

bbc news and politics programming is becoming a joke. question time, or opinion time as i think it should be more accurately described, is ok some of the time, but i can't stand it when they stick singers and actors on there who end up way out of their depth. e.g., if i wanted to know what beverly knight thinks about the single european currency i would log onto her web site.

'this week' with andrew neil seems to get worse and worse with every episode. the celebrity guests could not be any less insightful if they tried.

  • 110.
  • At 04:17 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • mel wrote:

Come on, Kate's one hot babe and well worth 1000 BBC journalists! It may be the 21st century, but sexy birds still do the testosterone trick, especially when you're trying to hook young audiences off the 'net. As for the 'blue collar' lot, we all know they're burnt out toiling away on the lower reaches of behemoth corporations and aren't good for anything more than some titillation and a pot of instant news bytes at the end of the day. That lot don't have the neurons to understand why one million Iraqis have died since 2002. No need to bore them silly.

  • 111.
  • At 04:27 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Munro wrote:

Well said W Tree (post number 11).

I also have a concern about the type of news content we are given and I suspect that the BBC has bent inexorably towards the oh-so prevalent tabloid culture in this country. I wish it could be more relevant, more positive and give more of an overview perspective instead of getting bogged down in sensationalist trivia.

I watched an awards ceremony once, called 'Heart of gold awards' or something similar, it was about amazing things that people had done, acts of bravery and compassion, great community schemes that had been implemented etc. I thought "Why haven't I heard about any of this before? I watch the news."

I really would like news people to tell me relevant things that I need to know and perhaps inspire, not things that we are impulsively drawn towards like isolated violent crime, life insurance scams or private lives of public figures. So even if sometimes the most popular stories are like those listed by Neil in post 87, that doesn't necessarily mean provide more of them.

Significant tragedies global and local perhaps we need to know about but it's a very fine line between that and the car crash tele we sometimes see. It's much better for us to hear about the inspirational pillars of our community rather than the predictable criminal activity. We aren't able to do much about some of it on our sofas so it instills a kind of background guilt and apathy as we attempt to make a mental note of it to ease our conscience.

It's simply a case of asking the question "How does this affect the viewer's life?" Can anyone really say that they are affected by a failed life insurance scam? I suspect that if you really look at what we need to know, the content will be significantly reduced. That is why having 24 hour news and more bulletins concerns me.

  • 112.
  • At 04:30 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • n wrote:

if we are now going to have an "accessiable news" program can all the non-news be placed in here leaving the 10 o'clock news free for real news and informed debate please?

  • 113.
  • At 06:22 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • John D Traynor wrote:

I note that the news bullletin isn't in the BBC TV listings. Ashamed of it, are you? Already?

  • 114.
  • At 07:19 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

If you really want to attract masses of viewers to watch these news bulletins, and to get their avid attention, why not have a series of young females reading the news naked?

After all, more than 50% of teenage girls recently gave the answer that they'd rather take off their clothes for a living than do a more mundane job like being a nurse or a teacher.

So you'ld be supplying much needed employment for a group of people to do exactly what they want to do, and you'ld also have a ready supply of replacement talent when one lot became old hat.

Where do I send my bill?

After reflecting on many of the other comments left here, I have the solution to the BBC's woes. Instead of moving the dumbed-down 'news summary' from BBC Three to BBC One, why not move all of the celebrity/property/auction/reality shows to BBC Three and rename it BBC Chav? Then leave the other BBC channels for normal content.

  • 116.
  • At 03:52 AM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

I moved to England 10 months ago and I am supprised. There is no good news. BBC24hours is the worst news channel I ever saw. BBC1 has the news at 6 and 10 in the evening. Do you really believe that I watch news after coming home while eating or on the bed at 10, if I am tired and begin to sleep? In November I watched the news at 10pm, and note that each of the news was a british news. No wonder that the people in this country are so ignorant and don't have an idea about the world.

  • 117.
  • At 10:59 AM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

BBC News is a wasteful, arrogant creature which needs to learn some lessons from its colleagues in BBC Drama.

For years people claimed that the audience only wanted dumbed down/accessible 'drama' like EastEnders yet when BBC One aired Life on Mara (complex, intelligent plotlines) it won huge audiences.

When Judge John Deed (detailed examination of the Government'constant attempts to take over the courts) aired it too developed a strong, sizable audience.

For years it was thought that all a Saturday night audience wanted was Ant & Dec in an obvious reheating of Noel Edmonds House Party. Then Doctor Who came along and demolished those claims and engaged a whole new generation who - for the first time in their lives - aren't being served up only endless (fixed) phone votes, noisy studios audiences and celebrity plugs.

BBC News, which has so many editors/correspondents/reports that it's impossible to understand what they all do, now also thinks the audience is too thick for proper news.

Of course having news which works on many levels is fine but as people have already said there's no high-brow news on BBC One and Newsnight faces budget cuts so goodness knows what will happen there.

If the Six or Ten were in any way challenging I could see the point of this summary but they're not.

Instead of spending showing us - for example - the 5 minutes of PQM where the opposition leader questions the PM and allow us to hear the exchange we get told by someone what was said and who had a good or bad time of it.

Personally I like to think I'm intelligent enough to work out for myself who performed best.

It would help if the Six and Ten presenters looked and sounded like they'd even watched PMQs rather than read out what someone else told them was the outcome.

I predict this bulletin won't see 2009.

  • 118.
  • At 11:56 AM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • nick green wrote:

ergh! whats this? it looked tacky/cheap/dubbed down remove this bulletin!. Really this is bbc one not a cheap digital channel, slightly pointless i really don't think its appropriate..a total waste of time. Big thumbs down here

  • 119.
  • At 01:45 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • David Scruby wrote:

If you removed from the normal bulletins all the comment, speculation, predictions, rehashing PR handouts, advertising and reporting on headline stories without anything new to say (such as the Madeline story)you would only need a couple of minutes. A lot less wasted time all round. I'm all for it.

  • 120.
  • At 01:47 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

I sense a missed opportunity here. Why announce the name of the proposed newsreader when the Beeb could run a thirteen-week glitzy 'reality' show to select one - 'The News Factor'? 'News Idol'? or even 'I'm a serious journalist - get me out of here'?

  • 121.
  • At 01:51 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • pete davey wrote:

The senior BBC news team seem unable to connect with what the majority of viewers want - quality news output as opposed to hi tech graphics and attractive (lightweight) presenters that you are equally likely to see presenting quiz shows / strictly come dancing.
If viewers want dumbed down news they can pick up a tabloid or watch Channel 5 news.
Licence payers want authority, gravitas and serious presentation. The Beeb sent out a poor message when they sacked the likes of Moira Stuart - time for a major re-think of strategy!

  • 122.
  • At 02:50 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Anon wrote:

The reason why the 6 o'clock news does not "speak to me" is because, I, like a lot of my so called blue collar workers, are still battling against the traffic to get home.

The 10 o'clock doesn't talk to me either as it's so dumbed down and i've heard most of the stories of the day already through other means (as well as much less drivel about spice girl reunions, latest developments in the dead/not dead canoeist!)

A short burst of news, that is NEWS is welcome at 8pm, but I'm presuming unless programmes on ITV1 start at 8.10, I can't see many people watching them unless they catch it accidentally while waiting for Eastenders.

  • 123.
  • At 08:50 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • K Bascombe wrote:

This is totally unnecessary.
This is just taking time out of other programmes, with BBC adverts and news stories that can wait until the next bulletin. If it were important then there would be an urgent news report or news flash.

  • 124.
  • At 11:44 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Maureen Weatherall wrote:

Its true that the presenters are a key to 'watchablitlty' but of late I think that the Breakfast team appear to be trying too hard to be entertaining. it is annoying when they continually ask viewers to text or e mail their views on the most trivial of subjects.
In particular, Bill Turnbull who turns up on 'everything'is the most irritating of all. His quips and attempts at humour fall short on most occasions.

  • 125.
  • At 06:56 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

I moved 9 months ago to England, and I am suprised about the news quality here. I don't often watch news on TV. Why? Do you really believe that I watch news after coming home while eating or if I am tired after a hard working day on bed? Last month I watched once the news at 10. Only news about Britons. Sorry, the quality will not be better with a summary at 8. It is incredible. The BBC1's most watched program is East Enders. By the way, you will not believe how many people here don't know that Berlin is Germany's capitel. No wonder.

  • 126.
  • At 07:15 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Lyons wrote:

Both the BBC and ITV have demonstrated that they have the ability to produce intelligent and authoriative TV news programmes (Newsnight & Channel 4 News) so the question is why have BBC1's news outputs been so "dumbed down" in a similar way to the US network TV news programmes? The answer i would suggest relates to changes in society which has become dumbed down - take for example the obvious decline in national exam standards over the last 20 or so years (grade As for all!) and the way our politicians increasingly treat the general public with contempt by refusing to accept fault even when obvious (Blair's flawed reasons for going to war in Iraq). At least the BBC was honest when it rebranded "Breakfast News" as "Breakfast" so time ago thereby admitting that it had become more entertainment than news.

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