I’m well aware that some stories featured on televisual news may deal with the subject of children: a public interest story, government spending in schools, or a feature on a disabled kiddie, perhaps. That’s fine. Give me the facts, give me the editorial slant, and give me the opinions of experts and affected parties. Go for your life! But don’t, for the love of God, stick a microphone in front of a 6-year-old and ask them to contribute.
It’s a kid, you see? They couldn’t possibly add anything to the debate or story that’s going to get me thinking more clearly or concisely about the matter at hand. They’re just going to get embarrassed or terrified and mumble a poorly articulated answer or – more likely still – mutely nod in response to the leading questions of the interviewer as he or she patronises both the interviewee and the watching audience and makes cooing noises about how shy they are. Yes, it’s news-worthy that a minor in a wheelchair was excluded from certain lessons at school and I applaud the journalist for bringing it to the attention of the country, but I’m in no way curious to hear first-hand if little Jimmy was sad that he couldn’t learn about farmyard animals. Kids are stupid and unless they’re American they’re awkward on camera. Stop asking them to comment on the news, even if they are the story.
Oh, and while I’m at it, if you’ve got a studio guest in to be interviewed about something to do with babies, or being a mother, or whatever, YOU DON’T NEED THEM TO BRING THE CHILD IN TOO. It’s not like they can only talk about the subject with the relevant visual stimulation. You do it every time, and not just with kids. If it’s about funding for guide dogs, in comes a spokesperson with a fucking Labrador! WHY?! What’s the dog going to contribute to the interview exactly, other than provide the presenter with a pointless opportunity for a banal comment about how good/boisterous/nervous the offending creature is? Do you think that the general public won’t quite comprehend what the interview is about unless there’s a representation of the subject sat next to the interviewee?! If you’re going to insist on doing it, at least do it for everything. The next time a farmer comes in to talk about having to destroy livestock, ask them to bring a smouldering cow carcass along. That’ll give Charlie Stayt something to needlessly witter about at the end of the segment.
Oh, and on an unrelated note, if you’re on Twitter and you enjoy reading this blog, why not follow me? Actually, don’t answer that – I’m sure you can think of several good reasons. Just do it please… @middleclassfury