July 14, 2005


Upstaged in England

Though there are strict rules about impartiality in the news in Britain, the anchors of Channel 4 and the BBC have taken the e-mail-the-audience idea to a much more entertaining place, making their U.S. counterparts look like mush-mouthed goody two-shoes.

Paul Carr, who is editor of the snarky e-newsletter The Friday Thing, is an unabashed fan of Channel 4's anchor Jon Snow (they call them "newsreaders" or "presenters" in England -- arguably a more apt term). Carr gushed in a recent article in the U.K. Guardian, calling Snow the best newsreader in Britain, and saying his Snowmail dispatches were "brilliant insight into the mind of the great man....(and) his thinly disguised mistrust of American government officials." Carr believes the Net has revolutionized the relationship with anchors and their audience, making them almost "favorite news uncles" instead of the detached figures of the past.

Snow agreed on that point, telling me via e-mail that he could be much more candid about events on Snowmail than on the air. However, the anchor also told me that he could devote only about five or six minutes to the task each day, as it's done in a rush -- a stream of consciousness, either written or dictated. While there is editorial oversight on his dispatches, Snow admits some naughty bits have slipped through. "I've so far committed one serious contempt of court (undiscovered) and a couple of libels (equally so)," he wrote. "I named someone the judge said could not be named, and no one spotted it. Fortunately no repercussions but it was a warning. I won't elaborate..."

As for Snow's American counterparts, he says "none of them are as candid or open as ours...We let it all hang out!" Indeed

1 comment:

I.:.S.:. said...

Yeh I'm a confirmed Snowmail fan now, thanks for switching me onto that...