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BBC admit it received complaints over Jacko coverage

By | Published on Thursday 2 July 2009

The BBC has admitted it received over 700 complaints about its coverage of Jackson’s demise, most complaining about the prominence given to the story on Friday, when the Corporation’s News Channel provided pretty much non-stop coverage of the singer’s death, while other news bulletins dedicated the majority of their air time to the singer. Two news specials were also aired, one on BBC1 and another tagged on to ‘Newsnight’.

The head of the BBC newsroom, Mary Hockaday, wrote on her blog: “We’ve had a number of complaints about our coverage, the main charge being that we simply did too much: that his death didn’t justify the prominence and scale of our reporting through Friday and into the weekend”.

She continues: “The story was certainly very prominent, with extensive reporting on our domestic and global news channels and it was the lead story on our television and radio bulletins and on the web. But this wasn’t to the exclusion of other important stories domestically and internationally. Friday was also the third day of our special coverage on television and our website from Pakistan and Afghanistan”.

She concluded: “Some stories divide audiences, and clearly there are those who aren’t interested in Michael Jackson. But we have to try to serve a whole range of readers, listeners and viewers – and undoubtedly a great many of you were extremely interested”.

Presumably everyone thought that the bits featuring the co-editor of a certain music business bulletin discussing the commercial impact of Jackson’s passing were worthy of air time – providing, as I’m sure you will agree, a valuable, insightful and alternative perspective to the story.