Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Why we’ll always need news editors

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Westbrook on September 14, 2006

The impending future of broadband television and news on demand there are some doom mongerers who are predicting a day when we can create our own news bulletins, tailored to our own interests.

Gone would be an evening news where an editor decides what news we see and in what order. Instead we choose our own news from a list. No need for an editor.

For some this is heaven. News fully democratised, power to the people and all that.

For me, it’s a frightening prospect.

GoatAnd if you ever find yourself disagreeing with me, BBC News Online provides a daily warning that the people shouldn’t choose news. It’s called their Most Popular Stories Now feature.

Today for example, Sudan is the ‘most popular’ story in the news. Is it the story of the increased pressure from the international community on President Bashir to allow UN troops into the country? Is is the Human Rights Watch evidence that the government is bombing villages in Darfur?

No. The most popular story today? Sudan man forced to ‘marry’ goat.

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Chris Doidge said, on September 14, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    Hmm…. I agree with you, but I’m trying to play Devil’s Advocate, because there are clearly people who feel the opposite.

    I think the only problem with News Editors is intellectual arrogance, where they *assume* what their audiences want to read/watch/hear and get it spectacularly wrong, often by underestimating their intelligence or attention span. I think this is one reason why D.I.Y. news editing is becoming so popular.

    Your posts on Darfur, and the shocking lack of imagination of news editors in relation to the conflict, are a good indication of what I mean.

  2. Martin said, on January 8, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    I couldn\’t agree more.

  3. […] in what I once described as a reason never to get rid of news editors ever, way back in September, the story of a Sudanese man marrying a goat after being caught doing a […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: