Media: Trendspotting #27
Monday 01 September 1997
One of the best-named awards a journalist can win is the Bigot of the Year award given out by the mental health charity Mind. It is awarded to the journalist who has done the most to keep our image of the mentally ill firmly in the Dark Ages.
It looks as if this year they had a lot to choose from. In a survey of 1,000 articles in the national press, the Health Education Authority has found that 40 per cent used words like "nutter" or "loony". And it wasn't just the language that was pejorative. More than half of all the articles were about crime or the mentally ill causing harm to others or to themselves. Only a fifth of articles carried the message that mental health problems are treatable. Overall, the negative stories outweighed positive stories by three to one. Mind may need more awards.
l sky viewers
Passengers on long-haul flights spend an average of two hours and 25 minutes watching television, according to research published in Marketing Week this week. This is just less than the average amount of television we watch in a whole week. According to figures for the second quarter of this year, we watch 2.94 hours a week of television in Britain - a fall of almost an hour in the past 10 years. The answer for programme-makers and advertisers seeking to reverse this trend is obvious - they need to strap us to our sofas and offer us free drinks all night.
l red tape rise
Defenders of John Birt's regime at the BBC use the fact that his Producer's Choice resource management system has helped to make savings behind the scenes that have allowed more money to go over the airwaves. In the three years to 1996, the corporation made pounds 233m in savings - or 12 per cent of a year's licence fee - and this money was earmarked for programmes. The savings were largely made by cutting staff numbers, by 4,000, to just over 18,000.
But there is one particular branch of the BBC where the trend has been in the other direction. The corporation's central bureaucracy, which deals with everything from public relations to paying staff, grew by 4 per cent last year, costing pounds 56m. In 1995, the central bureaucracy had grown by 5 per cent. This, presumably, is what provoked Charles Denton, former head of drama at the BBC, to describe the place as an "Orwellian nightmare" when he left last year.
There are 700,000 people in London who like bands who look at their shoes when they play jangly guitar riffs and wear their hair in their eyes. At least that is what Xfm hopes. The new London radio station launches today with a weekly reach target of 700,000 in the 15-34 age group with its "new bands" policy and alternative view on the world. After six years and three applications trying to get a licence - as well as two petitions to the Radio Authority and waiting for the members of the Radio Authority to change so they could win one - let's hope it's been worth the wait.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek for 'attempting to overthrow the state'
Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Italian court annuls prison sentence for elderly paedophile after 11-year-old victim tells investigators in Catanzaro that she loves him
- 3 Australia incest case: Deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
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