The year is turning down towards winter, and television news does nothing to lift the spirits. Full of doom and gloom; killings, abductions, funerals, missing people, and gloomy economic forecasts. It seems we get nothing else. Surely there must be some good news in the world? I cannot be alone in finding the continual drip of disaster lowers my spirits and leaves me despondent and cynical.
It makes me wonder if 24 hour news is A Good Thing. A decade or two ago, we got the news at 6pm and 9pm and then it really was news. I listened to snatches of the early morning news on Radio 4 as I got ready for work, but then it was over until the end of the working day. Now it's blasting out all day and most of the night. Fine for shift workers, I grant you, but news presenters must feel they are on the same kind of wheel people put in the cage with a hamster or pet mouse. Endless repetition of the same facts all day long and sometimes spilling over into the next day. Viewers like me groan, but at least we can get up and walk away, do something more interesting. Pity the poor news reader, tied to their chair.
There's also the tendency to make news if it doesn't exist. Those slots have to be filled with something, after all. I'm so tired of these tacky interviews with neighbours and sweetie-shop owners when a child goes missing; they tell us nothing. Likewise asking head teachers to speak to camera about a child who has died - they're so unlikely to say anything really meaningful. One wonders if they actually remember the child as an individual rather than a paper report. They stick to the platitudes, of course; I'm waiting for the day one of them defies convention and says Well, he was a little devil and I told him he'd come to a sticky end. I expect I'll wait a long time.