Scots schoolboy attacks “celebrity focused” BBC


A FIESTY Scots schoolboy tore into a top BBC executive  live on air over the Corporation’s celebrity obsession.

Lachlann Hinley, 12, went head-to-head with Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children’s Services, on Newswatch.

The boy from Haddington, East Lothian, took Godwin to task over Newsround, the 40-year-old news programme for youngsters.

Lachlann accused the show as portraying pop music as more important than current affairs

Lachlann, a pupil at private Loretto School, in nearby Musselburgh, told G odwin his flagship news show  is celebrity heavy and “does not give you the in-depth news”.

Subjecting Godwin to a John Humphrys-style grilling from the BBC’s Edinburgh studio, Lachlann said there should be a greater focus on current affairs and that editors were underestimating their audience.

He informed the BBC bigwig: “I think [Newsround] is good but it’s good until you’re 12 and it doesn’t really give you the in-depth news that you could expect if you are over 12.”

When asked by host Raymond Snoddy what was missing from Newsround, Lachlann replied: “The sort of things which are on the main news, things that maybe aren’t that interesting to the six to 12 age range – like politics, economics and they should be more focused on real, current news.”

Asked if he though the Newsround editors were underestimating their audience, he said: “Yes I do. Some people are interested in reality television and popular music, but some people are interested in politics and economics.

“Newsround should still be there for half the people but there should be a new show for people who want to find out about politics and economics and real current affairs.”

Godwin, in  a studio in Salford, attempted to counter Lachlann’s criticism, claiming Newsround had not changed.

He said: “The very first Newsround…led with a story about some ospreys in Scotland. Let’s not kid ourselves that 40 years ago it was leading on the economy and it was all hard news and now it’s all pop news.

“Today’s Newsround’s already talked about Syria and the ivory trafficking. It has had a piece about The Voice and Britain’s got Talent and it has had some pictures of some tiger cubs but that’s quite a traditional and classic Newsround mix and I know that on this evening’s 5pm bulletin on BBC1 they’ll lead on Syria.”

Godwin added: “What we’ve found, we go out all the time to talk to children of all ages about Newsround, is that children are very, very interested in the serious issues going on in the world.”

But a determined Lanchlann remained undeterred and hit back.

He told Godwin: “I still think there is the gap. On Newsround it does mention Syria but it’s like popular music is more important than Syria.

“I think it needs to get the same sort of order that the real news has.”

Jonathan Hewat, Director of External Affairs at Loretto School, commented: “Lachlann showed real initiative in contacting Newswatch with his concerns and ideas about the BBC Newsround programme. He was most articulate when interviewed on national television and I congratulate him.”

A BBC spokeswoman said:  “We appreciate Lachlan’s comments – we are always keen to hear what viewers think of our content.

“CBBC programmes, including Newsround, are made for our target audience of 6-12 year olds and the feedback is that children still find the show as relevant and interesting now as they did 40 years ago.

“The programme covers a balanced mix of different types of news story – from world news such as today’s violence in Bahrain, to human interest and popular culture. It’s this mix that has meant children have turned to Newsround as a place to find out more about the world around them for 40 years.”