Friday, 14 July 2006

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Neighbouring in the media David Sillito's BBC news articles shown on breakfast tv this week, featuring Streets Alive, Roadwitch and Netmums, have thankfully managed to avoid being negative and may have stimulated just a little debate. For the time being at least you can find them here: Who needs neighbours? Neighbours: the case of the Giant Bunny Neighbours: when they're not good friends - the last one includes a link to a live tv chat with Wayne Hemingway. Meanwhile, just to follow up on the culs-de-sac saga... I gather BBC Radio 2 yesterday carried on from BBC Radio London and were still perpetuating the Times-generated myth that people who live in culs-de-sac weigh 6lbs more than people who don't, and that this information is coming from the government (a government which one Radio London caller described as 'left-wing'). So here we have two famous British institutions which in the past could be depended on for reliable journalism, regenerating rubbish. From the beeb we still expect better. What does it tell us about this topic that, now the summer's come and 'real news' has dried up a bit, one of the padding topics the media reach for is 'community'? (Apart from the above-mentioned, I had a call from Radio 4 last week and suspect they may have covered something earlier this week which I missed). Personally, although I'm not very good at the kind of immediate bullet-point chat they need, I don't tend to shy away from these opportunities because they force me to try and articulate my wishy-washy woolly thoughts intelligibly, and that's healthy. These opportunities also suggest that some people think issues like sense of community and neighbourliness are important and of popular interest. That's good too, even if the issues get simplified, heavily filtered and unfortunately distorted.

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