‘A breakthrough for Alzheimer’s disease’, ‘How much sleep do we need?’, ‘The billion dollar brain project’ were studies in this week’s science communication lecture. Rachel Kerr from BBC News Online took us through the variation in web news presentation. Stunning graphics and snappy headlines seem the order of the day for online media. Having such a short attention span myself, it’s good to know that online news aims to convey the fundamentals of the article in the first four paragraphs (which are often only one sentence long ). I’m an avid BBC fan and I take comfort in their impartial approach to news coverage. But who makes news news? How does a BBC editor decide which of the millions of daily events are news-worthy? The BBC prides itself on balance. To quote presenter Sophie Long; ‘There’s always more than one side of the story… so we need to speak to more than one person, with more than one opinion’. In a post-lecture conversation with Rachel, she concluded that news editors’ experience of journalism and knowing what the public like in a news article puts them in a position to make relatively impartial selections for news stories. Although a certain amount of human bias will inevitably be present, with so many shocking stories broadcast every day I sometimes find myself searching for a positive world event. I guess in a way I’m biasing my own perception of the news.
But who wants doom and gloom all the time?