Once upon a time, newsreaders sat at desks and, decked in the nattiest tweeds and with the crispest hairdos, would tell the story of the world's ills. Their deportment was often graver than the news reported, but that was to be expected.
But not no more.
It seems to be that since television channels have proliferated (and with little effort I have 80 or 90 channels that I never watch instead of just two or three) that the programmes that they broadcast have had to try very hard to stand out from the pack. New programmes are no different.
No more Angela Ripon. No more Alistair Burnett. No more that bloke who went on to present Treasure Hunt with Anneka Rice's bum. Even the lovely Moira Stewart is relegated to early-time radio (though seems to have far more fun with Mr Evans et al than ever she did before a camera). Things changed and Terry Lloyd became the first symptom of this new style or reporting the news.
Now me, I am happy to take the word of the Orla Guerins and Fergal Keanes of this world when they say that terrible things happened in the far flung places of the world. I am happy at that. They tell me a tale, I will take it as reported (foolishly perhaps, you may say), but that is no longer sufficient for the world's audience.
A little while ago, some vile people blew up some innocent people in their cars. There was all the carnage that you might expect, with some hapless TV news reporter reporting it to the world, flak-jacket adorned, mid-carnage, stepping over smouldering bits of metal and rubber and dead people. I have seen enough mid-cremated human bodies to know what they look like, and at 6pm (or a similarly early hour in the evening) I beheld the smouldering and hard-to-identify remain of three separate people. The reporter stated the obvious - that people died - and did so treading on and pushing past their remains.
Then you get the other phenomenon - the reporter dodging actual 'murder-death-kill' bullets so that the news is coming from the armpit of the local militia. Not satisfied with being close enough to the action to hear it, they become part of the problem and a person needful of bodily protection, so that they can assume the physical space of the purported victims. "Look at me, I am going to be shot at now...". Why? Why? Why?
Is it me? Is it my fault (as a member of the news consuming public) that apparently sensible people have to actually risk actual life to tell me a story. Only recently a eye-patched reporter was atomised out of existence to the consternation of many praying Christians who seemed to want to hold vigils and the like for her. Why was she in harm's way? She was a reporter, not a peace-keeper. Are reporters required to be action heroes?
Terry Lloyd's daughter (whom I have met, and she is very pleasant) lost a father because of what? The news headlines that I have long forgotten! Is it me? Watch this space as we prepare to have Coffin-Cam and the dishevelled figure of a journo descending into the ground as s/he sits atop the descending casket of a famous dead person. Mark my words, it'll happen.