fre spch nt so gr8

Despite yesterday’s 200 words, I have to confess I’m wary of text feedback on current affairs programmes.

Time was, news editors occasionally commissioned a vox pop to get a quick sampling of public opinion on an issue.

For a complex debate like the Lisbon treaty, with implications for economic policy, sovereignty, and neutrality, a vox pop gives a quick sampling of what the public think, which frames a debate between the opposing sides.

The vox pop shows which questions have to be asked. It doesn’t answer them.

Now, with instant email access, radio listeners can give their feedback immediately.

Radio producers are eager to exploit the technology, so that for instance a politician can be presented with a comment from a member of the public that might not have occurred to the interviewer.

And with SMS texting, you don’t even need a computer.

Naturally, at the end of the show, the presenter goes through the audience feedback.

The trouble is, u cnt sy mch w/txt.

In a ten or twenty minute interview, a lot of ground can be covered.

With an SMS, all you get is headline reaction.

My worry is that it just ends up cheapening the debate.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.