Been reading a lot of media comment about the future of BBC TV’s Newsnight.
The problems that Newsnight is facing are common to many TV news programmes. I used to be a regular viewer of Newsnight. I loved it when I was younger – but no more.
Why? First of all, news is a commodity thanks to the internet. I get my news when I like, whenever I like. Sometimes via the BBC web site, Google news, the radio or newspapers. So why should I have to sit down in front of the TV at an allotted time to watch Newsnight? What will it give me that I cannot get online?
But wait. I don’t want to knock Newsnight. I think it has potential. I imagine that Newsnight would like me as a regular viewer, so what would they have to do to get me back? Here are some suggestions:
1 Change the title. The idea that news is delivered at night is a complete anachronism. It might have been relevant when, at the end of the day, people wanted to catch up on their news. But in a global economy, when many people are still up, I don’t think so. This is not cosmetic. A new name would change how Newsnight is perceived. So how about: News Comment; or News Thoughts; or News Analysis; or News Alert; News Opinion, or News Briefing?
2 Newsnight needs to reach out to its viewers and ask them how they would change the programme. They need to partner with viewers to create a show which is relevant to the audience. Maybe more of a focus on local themes.
Local food providers versus supermarkets etc.
3 They need to accept that news is a commodity and focus instead on comment and analysis. They need to help us make sense of the news. They need to address key themes. Less arguments with politicians.
4 They need a 24-hour relationship with their viewers. They need to define what Newsnight stands for, and deliver during the day.
5 One aspect of Newsnight I used to enjoy was the early sight of the first editions. Whey not get the editors in to give their views and opinions?
6 Why not get bloggers in to give their views on the news?
7 Why not have a section on the Twitter trends of the day?
8 Why not get all the editors of BBC news shows in, or some of them, and discuss what news stories have appealed to them and why?
9 Focus on themes: West V Islam, for example
10 How about specials on the future of energy or the future of food or the future of politics?
11 I have read about critics saying they cannot get cabinet ministers on the show. So what?! Go broader than Westminster. Why not speak to people who send in online petitions to Westminster?
12 Newsnight, or whatever it calls itself, needs to be rejuvenated, it needs to reconnect with its audience in different ways. Get Paxman talking to bloggers. Why not have Guido Fawkes on, etc…?
13 How about guest editors?
These are just a few thoughts at 8.13pm on a Sunday night after a few glasses of wine.
I like Newsnight and think it is time for it to be reinvented. Are you listening, Newsnight?!!