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Royal baby overkill? No, the media are giving people what they want

July 25, 2013

From the Greenslade Blog at The Guardian.

Badge-greenslade-blog-001Daily Mail headline Was the BBC over the top? stopped several people in their tracks this morning, including our ever-alert Monkey (here).

How dare a newspaper that has gone just as far over the top in its coverage of Baby Cambridge – with supplements, scores of pictures and speculative nonsense about all manner of tangential matters royal – criticise the BBC for doing much the same.

But in fairness to the Mail – yes, I did write that – the headline was not an editorial statement. It was over a factual news story without any discernible anti-corporation spin.

It reported that the BBC had, at the time of writing, received 348 complaints about overkill and sycophancy.

And who can disagree with the sentence that stated: “On the 24-hour News Channel, correspondents often struggled to find anything new to say.” True enough, and not just of the BBC. It was the same on Sky News.

As I argue in my London Evening Standard column today, this media overkill is understandable and even unremarkable (despite it being, to a republican such as myself, intensely irritating).

People are given to asking chicken-or-egg-first questions about royal set-piece events. Is it all got up by the media or are the media responding to genuine public fervour?

A couple of commenters to my earlier blogpost today, Newspaper asks: did you celebrate the royal baby? 91% say no, seem to be in no doubt. It’s the media wot dunnit.

I certainly think TV newspaper coverage stimulates interest. Similarly, editors are emboldened to go further than might be necessary when they detect rampant enthusiasm among their audiences. Each side encourages the other.

There can’t be any doubt about vast numbers of people wanting to see and hear and read. The facts speak for themselves. Newspaper print sales have been boosted. News websites have recorded steep rises in traffic. TV audiences for news bulletins were up. Read more at The Guardian.

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