Friday 2 May 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Jeremy Paxman & Drama at the BBC

“All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” – Sean O’Casey

It is a well-known fact that humans love drama. As unfortunate as it is, it's the world’s population’s fascination with the grotesque and shocking that drives the content of our papers into the realms of the bad, the tragic and the ugly.

Jeremy Paxman, of BBC television fame, is well known for creating drama on his evening news show “Newsnight”. With a direct approach and nerves as hard as steel he can turn the driest of political topics into an argument worthy of an appearance on Game of Thrones. Under his leadership, the famous Newsnight has recorded a number of squirming business leaders and politicians stammering to answer his controversial and provocative questions and, consequently, good audiences. One particularly memorable show was in 1997 when Paxman asked Michael Howard the same questions 12 times over, a technique that clearly unsettled the Home Secretary and made for very entertainment watching. Although it was later revealed that this repetitive technique was actually an error on the part of the Producer’s scripting, it still stands as a threateningly over-ruling point that Paxman is a dramatic and talented reporter.

This week he announced that he would be leaving the BBC’s Newsnight programme after 25 years. Whilst Ian Burrell of The Independent points out that many a politician may be relieved that he will no longer be able to humiliate them or their parties on national television, it's a great loss for both journalism and a news outlet (the BBC) that is reportedly struggling to engage the younger population with the news and current affairs.

In a recent report conducted by the BBC Trust, it was revealed that the BBC is “failing to stand out” next to rivals in terms of its news content. The awareness of the BBC’s audience of current affairs is reportedly falling, and the number of people watching the BBC’s news output has significantly fallen over the last two years. It's said that the broadcaster’s journalism standards are dropping and that the producer is failing to engage with younger audiences.

Paxman’s departure from the BBC’s most controversial (and therefore engaging) programme is therefore a big blow for the outlet. Without its hard-hitting and watch-able presenter, will the BBC stand to lose even more of its young audience to arguably more exciting rivals such as Channel 4 and ITV?

What the BBC needs now is for the next generation of investigative journalists to move up from the desks and into the spot-light. There is undoubtedly a great deal of young investigative talent within the journalism community, one only needs to glance at the results of the British Journalism Awards 2013 to appreciate this. With sufficient nurturing of this talent, the BBC has the opportunity to allow its reporters to take take up Paxman's flame and drive the broadcaster forward in terms of the quality and entertainment factor of its news.

Mr Paxman; we salute you. May your life post-Newsnight be full of intrigue and suitable drama.

From technology to Sino-British relationships, Abchaps are always engaged with timely topics. Social impact investment was at the heart of this week’s market lunch, where advisers and companies enjoyed discussing the role of the financial markets in initiating social changes.

 We also joined Grant Thornton at the British Museum, gaining valuable insights from its enlightening panel discussion on Sino-British relationship. Abchaps also learnt the value of innovation in Cleantech at the 2014 New Energy & Cleantech Forum.

Henderson Global Investors appointed James de Bunsen as co-manager of its value trust division, whilst BNP Paribas Real Estate made two senior appointments to its London valuation team; Gillian Bowman joins as a senior director, and Robert Dagwell who has been appointed director. Pinsent Masons also hired Nicholle Kingsley to its planning team, specialising in the commercial real estate, housing, retail and hotels markets.

"Reportage" - the reporting of news by the press and the broadcasting media. Reportage is the word often used to describe the quality of a journalist's output.

Love animals? Love cake? The Great Hampstead Bark Off may be just the ticket. For just £5 you can show off your pooch to London’s other animal aficionados whilst chowing down on some home made baking – what more could you ask for?

Keen to entertain your tastebuds without the animal community in tow? Head over to Shoreditch where the Urban Food Fest is offering a whole host of culinary delights from Jerk Chicken to Hallmoumi Souvlaki. Performances from top local bands and entertainers will add a little more ambiance to the festival.

It seems that this bank holiday is bring out food lovers everywhere. On Putney High Street you can go to the ‘Toast Temple’, a travelling shrine that is frequenting several spots in West London as part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival!

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