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Should Journalists Advertise?

If there is one kind of advertising I cannot stand it is for news programmes. These seem to consist of bimbos trying to look intelligent and earnest as they hold a cellphone to their ear before jumping into an SUV to rush to some kind of news story. The voice-over is meanwhile telling me, "You know what's happened, we tell you why". Well, for starters, I don't know what's happened because the programme's motto seems to be "Yesterday's News Tomorrow!" And the chances of a superficial news medium like television being able to explain much is very tiny. I've written for television; that's why I stuck with newspapers. TV news is footage of a broken doll or ripped teddy bear at the scene of a 10-killed-in-motorway-pile-up. I hardly blink an eye these days when seeing  actors in an advert wearing white coats pretending to be scientists quoting evidence that Product X works better than Product Y. Or even a happy chicken laying a egg. But news isn't a product like soap powder. Film of some bimbo running to an SUV with a cameraman, or woman, not far behind isn't going to persuade me of anything. Most people can judge for themselves who provides the best news coverage. And it's seldom the organisations that run adverts saying how wonderful they are. I would advise them to spend their money on journalism and wean themselves away from staged events and publicity masquerading as news.   

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