Sir Terry Wogan

Sir Terry Wogan, how wrong are you?

Well, I think you are quite wrong.

He’s written a book, called Where Was I?! The World According to Terry Wogan – and some very good publicist has picked up on the quotes likely to annoy a lot of media professionals and students alike.

This is a quote from the book (borrowed from The Telegraph)

“Why your man left in such a huff is a mystery. News reading is not something to get self-important or petulant about, it’s a piece of cake, the easiest job in the media.
“Get your good suit and tie on, a quick dab in make-up (in Fiona Bruce’s case, the lippy is going to take a tad longer), make yourself comfy and here comes the six o’clock news, all written nicely and clearly before your very eyes.
“Read it clearly and distinctly, ask the report the questions you have written down in front of you and there! And before you start with the ‘fair play old boy, there’s more to it than that!’, I was a radio and TV newsreader and there isn’t.”

I’ll give him his due, it did used to be like that, as James Alexander Gordon explains in this clip:

Well, Sir Terry, in my opinion you are wrong. For instance, you don’t just read it, you are telling the world the news. And to keep people interested, you have to write it well. Mr Huw Edwards writes his own scripts – he writes them so he can read them well to the nation.

You have to be succint, you have to be clear, there’s tone, inflection, speed, and the ability to think on your feet in breaking news situations.

The latest one I can think of is the death of Michael Jackson. Richard Bacon was widely praised for how he responded to the situation live on air.

But we also have 9/11 – I thought i’d share this from BBC World:

Its more than just reading a script or autocue. Now, in the multimedia world we live in, the presenter of the news will be doing many things.

In the upper echelons of BBC News, such as Today, PM, The World At One, and the 6o’clock news on Radio 4 or Breakfast and Drive on Radio 5Live, the presenters will be checking facts, checking questions, offering ideas, helping to write cues, pre recording interviews, and making sure they know the news.

In Local media, they will be doing everything. That includes the early or late shifts, going out to interview, chasing story ideas, doorstepping, editing video or audio, and now writing it all for the website. They may even have to help technically – Operating a self op studio while presenting your news is very commonplace these days, even on Radio 4.

And we haven’t even touched on “in Fiona Bruce’s case, the lippy is going to take a tad longer” – thats another point.

But, I think it’s fair to say, there is a lot more to TV and Radio news than Sir Terry gives journalists credit for nowadays. With a big team it can be like “turn up, read this”, but with a small team (as is most of the country, in commercial or even in BBC), then its “all hands on deck”…

Other Blogs and Sites talking about this:

David News – Terry Wogan hopelessly out of touch with reality
The Telegraph

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One Reply to “Sir Terry Wogan”

  1. He was probably referring to the time when he was a newsreader. Then it was far easier albiet still with challenges of tone, inflection, understanding what yr reading etc. He’s showed himself to be unaware of how times have changed. These days, with multiple sources and breaking news, the better newsreaders have the ability to stay calm, and if they are experienced in the field, bring to bear that experience and knowledge. I’d like to see Sir Terry do a live Cabinet reshuffle on the hoof, no autocue, and people he doesnt recognize walking in and out of Downing St.

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