Showbiz 'driving out' current affairs

                                                                        Nick Higham has accused the BBC of “driving out” current affairs from the news in favour of entertainment and celebrity.

Higham: losing worthwhile stories

Speaking at the News World International 2003 conference in Dublin, the former BBC media correspondent said the trend of more entertainment news has been evident over the past 15 years.

“As we’ve increased the quantity we are driving out – particularly from the short, set-piece news bulletins – stories that are perhaps more worthwhile or should mean more to the audience.”

He added that he felt journalistic standards were being compromised “quite significantly” in order to cover entertainment news.

Higham said the showbiz news was being controlled by “a massive entertainment public relations machine.

We only get to the stars on the PRs’ terms. We are handing over an enormous amount of editorial control in ways which would be unacceptable in any other area of news.”

Higham also felt that sports journalism was causing similar problems for editorial integrity. “I think there should be a great deal less sports news on television. Most of it is trivial, insignificant and a rebranding of the recent views of a manager or some footballer – that doesn’t add anything to the viewers’ knowledge.”

By Wale Azeez in Dublin

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