Wednesday, 12 January 2011

BBC excels in presentation of Miriam O'Reilly ageism story

From a presentation point of view the BBC has handled the Miriam O’Reilly ageism story in exemplary fashion.

·      It showed great openness in giving plenty of coverage to the story, to the extent of broadcasting live from O’Reilly’s press conference.

·      It offered an unqualified apology – “we got it wrong”, together with an offer of work in the future.  Those moves went a long way to taking the wind of the O’Reilly team’s sails at the press conference.

·      The apology came direct from Alan Yentob, no less.  What’s more it came very quickly – clearly the BBC has learned some lessons here.

·      Footage of O’Reilly broadcasting was juxtaposed with that of her successors, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions.

·      Crucially, the opposing view was left in hands of respected broadcaster and ageism victim Nick Ross.  Again, he was readily available in a timely, clear and rather charming manner.

It’s good to see the BBC planning and executing the presentation of a difficult situation so well. It’s also reassuring to see a tiny bit of mischief creeping in.  Somehow, the big blow up of Miriam O’Reilly that they used as a backdrop in news reports seemed rather more wrinkled in appearance than many of the alternatives that must have been available!

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