Comment

Election vox pops may entertain – but they won’t tell you who’s won...

On-the-hoof conversations with passers-by about ‘issues’ are supposed to give us an insight into the views of ordinary voters – but, as research show, they reveal precisely nothing, says Prof Tim Bale. Broadcasters, it’s time to let the mic drop

Sunday 02 June 2024 13:35 BST
Comments
Vox pops might seem like a good way to include diverse voices – but they’re often anything but
Vox pops might seem like a good way to include diverse voices – but they’re often anything but (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Only one week into a six-week election campaign and, if you’re watching or listening to any of the UK’s biggest broadcasters, you already can’t move for vox pops.

Ironically, the journalists who conduct them aren’t necessarily that keen on them. Indeed, some of them actively loathe standing around in the street trying to get passers-by to say a few words while trying, at the same time, not to catch the eye of lurkers who, they worry, won’t ever shut up.

However, programme editors and producers love vox pops. Preoccupied wit the possibility that punters will switch off or switch over if force-fed a news diet composed entirely of politicians and pundits, they hope that featuring a smattering of “ordinary people” will both enliven proceedings and fulfil their commitment to promoting diversity, inclusivity and democratic participation.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in