Having completely missed the start of the drama that proceeded to unfold in Northumbria due to the lack of updates from the BBC Breaking News twitter feed, Sean and I finally caught up tonight as we heard that there was a “siege” going on. Unfortunately, we’re away from home without our usual Sky TV, so a quick browse on the laptop and I managed to load up the BBC News 24 live coverage. I wish I hadn’t.
Let’s get this straight here, there’s an armed man who’s wanted for murdering a number of people and has made threats against both the police and members of the public in general. He is likely to be highly stressed, emotional, tired and not really thinking clearly. Oh, and he’s got a gun. Police have found him and they’re “negotiating”.
Great, fine, important news. How do you think that should be reported?
How about by broadcasting a live telephone interview with someone who has a line-of-sight view to the proceedings? By having your presenter stood at the edge of the inner cordon after being asked to stay in his vehicle? By trying to catch a glimpse of the gunman through the trees? By intervewing an emotional woman about the fact that her mother was told in no uncertain terms to stay indoors for her own safety and rebroadcasting the clip where she says her mother had a gun shoved in her face?
Am I the only one that believes that those tactics are completely irresponsible?
I see that Northumbria Police have now created a 10 mile exclusion zone.
I hope they enforce it. I also hope that the BBC gets a damn good lambasting for its behavour – I’m just as disgusted with Sky who apparently have been doing similar things, but I expect this kind of sensationalist US-style news reporting from Sky. I don’t expect it from the BBC.