“TV news’ obsession with celebrity devalues the aim to provide impartial and informative broadcasts.” Discuss.

Points to include:

  • Gatekeepers
  • News values – which is this an example of? who thought them up? why do they exist?
  • Infotainment debate
  • PSB remit – Lord Reith’s memo includes: to educate, inform, impartially and lead public taste
  • New Communications Bill
  • Is celebrity really news at all?
  • Language includes how the celebrity is referred to, in what terms, names or nicknames, informality etc.
  • Time in bulletin allowed / devoted
  • Different networks and different ethos, priorities etc. terrestrial vs. satellite…
  • Audience needs/ ratings / market factors / demographics
  • Attitude of broadcasting network or presenter
  • Status given to celebrity items
  • Are they treated impartially? (camera lingers over emotionally charged scenes e.g. Paula Radcliffe’s tears dropping out of the Athens marathon)
  • ‘Dumbing down’ is this an example of?
  • Moral values and the undermining of society by the lack of condemnation of bad behaviour, in fact what may seem positive encouragement or at least glee shown by the broadcast.
  • Sleaze – our seeming preference for reportage of ‘bad’ things
  • News should be a cultural reinforcement
  • Choice means many channels, many different styles of bulletins, also programmes from ‘Newsnight’ to ‘Good Morning Britain’
  • Interactivity and what part does it play?


Examples which could be drawn on but you need to know what channel, what time, how much time, when:

  • Charles and Camilla
  • Di and Dodi
  • Michael Jackson
  • Posh and Becks
  • Clinton and Lewinsky
  • Blunkett and
  • OJ Simpson


Did you find this information helpful?