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Leading Article: Some sad news

THE ABOLITION of News At Ten is a cause for national mourning. We regret it, because we like the programme, and it is - whether one likes the programme or not - a pity, because it is bound to mean a downgrading of the importance of news on television.

But television is changing, and there is no point in holding to the paternalist vision of "guided democracy" in which the masses are fed what is good for them with a sugar-coating of engaging trivia.

In the emerging digital age, people will choose to watch news or films or whatever else, and the scheduler's writ will run only as far as the edge of a niche. In a segmented market, we will all be able to choose our own dumbing up or down.

The age of the Great National Shared Experience is already passing. It may be a shame, but it is inevitable.