The Scottish government rolled out baby boxes yesterday [Tuesday]. The boxes contain essentials for new mums.
The box itself can be used as a cot for new born babies whose mothers, for whatever reason, may not have a proper sleeping place for their newborn.
What’s not to like? Well if you watched Reporting Scotland two weeks ago then you would have been forgiven for believing the boxes were in fact death traps designed by King Herod. The melodramatic, and arguably irresponsible, news report was prompted by comments from an English based charity, The Lullaby Trust.
The programme was following a bizarre narrative that has emerged from god knows where, that is seeking to portray the initiative in as negative a light as possible.
Fast forward to Tuesday’s official roll-out and I wondered how the same programme would report on the initiative. Would they drop the negativity and give the birth of Scotland’s Baby boxes the welcome the idea deserves?
The good news was that the negativity was gone. The bad news was so was everything else. Baby boxes merited a total of twenty seconds mention on the flagship national news programme.
The fantastic initiative designed to help new mothers, especially those on low incomes, was deemed less worthy of BBC Scotland’s valuable resource than a lame joke at the Edinburgh fringe. In fact it was seven times less newsworthy.
Below is exactly how the Baby box initiative was reported and how the following news item was covered.
Is a mediocre joke by Alex Salmond really worth the time Reporting Scotland spent on the issue? Was it really necessary to have a senior BBC Scotland political reporter despatched to Edinburgh to cover a joke and to film a string of audience members to gauge reaction. When he didn’t obtain the reaction required, did Nick Eardley really have to waste more time and resource stopping random people in the street to ask about a joke they weren’t aware of and hadn’t heard?
Reporting Scotland spent seven times as much time, and god knows how much money, trying to whip up a story about a joke than it did informing viewers of the launch of a valuable initiative.
Baby boxes suffered from the ‘anything negative’ mentality that infects BBC Scotland. The station is prevented from looking outwith its borders so bitterly turns inwards. If you watch the programme you’ll see a self-loathing thread run through many of its news reports. There’s rarely a good news story without a ‘but critics say’ comment appended. It’s why Baby boxes had to be knocked down.
Finally, I can’t end without mentioning Kaye Adams’ contribution to the Baby box roll-out. Below is the first 11 minutes of her phone-in show on the day the initiative was launched.
I think it’s safe to say Kaye, like many of her colleagues at Pacific Quay, isn’t a fan.
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