Fergal Keane and the defence of broadcast news

In 1996, the BBC’s foreign correspondent Fergal Keane broadcast a letter to his newborn son, Daniel. He constructed his heart-wrenching dispatch so skilfully that listeners neither knew nor cared that he was playing with their emotions. I am not suggesting he conned them. Although I recoiled at the weeping and wailing about the death of Princess Diana and the bovine adulation of Tony Blair, I accepted then and accept now that the “emotional literacy” the Nineties promoted was not always a charlatan’s oxymoron.

carry on reading

One thought on “Fergal Keane and the defence of broadcast news

  1. I rarely catch anything good on the telly, nowadays. But this programme would have been well worth a watch. The older I get the more things like the ending of Fergal Keane handing over the footage to the daughter of the film maker strike me with their emotional potency. As for the landscape of a battlefield, I have this thing about the weather during wars past. It always shocks me when I think people were killing each other while it was sunny. I suppose it’s the black and white of how we see the first and second world wars that does it. Anyway, I always have it.
    For journalists keeping clear of emotional attachtment, I think that is the best policy. There are plenty of pundits, some good, some not so good, who can give a personal or political side to whatever the subject is. Like many people, I want to know what’s happening during a report. First things first, as the saying goes.

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