One of my pet dislikes is news reports without any newsworthy content. This is particularly common in sports reporting: a sportsperson often says exactly what you would expect, and the journalist dutifully reports it. The title of such reports might as well be ‘Mouth Opens And Words Come Out’.
Here are two recent examples from the BBC website.
Mouth Opens And Words Come Out Champions Trophy: Jonathan Trott hopes England are peaking (21 June, 2013)
England men’s cricketer Jonathan Trott stuns the world by saying ‘I hope we are peaking’, and amazes us with his desire for it to be a ‘great’ summer for England. Winning the final of the Champions Trophy against India, states the controversial cricketer, would be the ideal preparation for the Ashes series against Australia later in the summer. (England lost to India.) ‘We deserve to be in the final’, adds Trott. Strong words!
Mouth Opens and Words Come Out Lions 2013: Sam Warburton Wants Series Won In Second Test (27 June, 2013)
British Lions men’s rugby captain Sam Warburton astonishes the known universe by suggesting that, having won the first game of the three-game series, it would be better to clinch the series by winning the second game rather than losing it. Battling his ‘nervous excitement’, which surely no rugby player has ever felt before, Warburton unexpectedly suggests that the Australians ‘are great competitors’ and will ‘come out firing’.
I honestly can’t see anything in either story which is actually worth reporting. Of course I completely understand why reporters write such stories: there’s a big appetite – from people like me – to see updates about sports we follow; many sportspersons don’t actually say much worth reporting; and there’s a limit to how much investigative journalism a reporter can do about sport.
Still, I’d love to see a website which is split in two: stories with Actual News, and stories which just involve Mouths Opening And Words Coming Out.