Thursday, 11 March 2010
It's been an interesting week for A4e on the PR front. And it has illustrated the way in which the attention of the media (TV, radio and the newspapers) comes and goes, and rarely joins up into a serious examination of issues. A couple of years ago Emma Harrison was getting a hard time on the BBC's The Daily Politics as the welfare-to-work model was under fire. This week she was being treated with something approaching reverence on the same channel on Working Lunch. There was a weekend of interest when a newspaper published details of fraud, and an item on Channel 4 News followed. But that was quickly over. Some months back we had Benefit Busters on Channel 4, which really did raise the important questions. But that can only be done once. TV needs visuals, and it needs to have a story. So this week the BBC fell back on the tired "celebrity tourism" thing, and left all the important issues unexamined. Radio does it better. The Radio 5 Live programme was excellent - but it has a very small audience. Now BBC Radio 4 is planning a File on Four programme on New Deal. This is usually an intelligent and thoughtful programme, not easily scared off by commercial interests. It will probably not be gunning for any particular provider, and will strive to be fair and balanced. When will anyone, particularly politicians, join up the dots and begin to see the real picture?