BBC Newsnight is a current affairs news programme which airs every weekday evening at 10pm. Currently presented by Evan Davis, Emily Maitlis and Kirsty Wark, the show specialises in analysis of the news, rather than just the hard facts, and provides a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the world today. Rather than just informing viewers of daily news stories, the show explains them in more detail and invites guests on the show to discuss the news and the issues raised alongside them.
As it is broadcasted daily, the programme is able to dedicate its time to three or four key news stories and explore them in detail. This gives the presenters more time to raise a debate on current affairs and ask challenging questions surrounding the issues raised. With more time concentrated on each story, it also allows time for more live guests on the show to deliver their opinions, as well as SOT clips from pre-recorded interviews which showcases the opinions of the public too. This appeals to the audience of BBC2 – which is a broad adult market – as it caters for each political stance by offering opinions form both sides of the spectrum, avoiding claims that the show could be bias to one party or another.
While BBC1 has a wider target market, and has to take into account international viewers, BBC2 appeals to a predominantly adult audience and is therefore able to incorporate more sophisticated lexis into the show. This delivers a more intricate review of the news and provides the audience with more concentrated knowledge of the issues in today’s society. As BBC News at 10 is watched by people of all ages, and not just in the UK, it is more difficult to explore restricted lexis and the stories in more detail as they not only have viewers that may not understand, for example: a younger audience or people from other countries who wouldn’t be able to comprehend some of the language used, but also they have more stories to cover during the programme and therefore cannot dedicate their running to delve into each story individually.
Although Newsnight is able to challenge opinions of the guests featured on the show, and investigate more controversial and topical current affairs stories, the programme is managed by the BBC, therefore the presenters remain impartial throughout. This therefore helps to appeal to a wider range of people, and avoid any uproar that the show may be bias towards a specific political party. ITV News, however, allows presenters to indent opinions into the stories with a more informal presentational style and the inclusion of emotive language. Although this may appeal to some audiences, as it shows that the presenters reporting the news are still real people and have their own opinions, it may cause people to think that they must also share these opinions as it is stated on the news. Furthermore, it may take away the reality and facts from a news story by including opinions into the report as the audience may be more focused on the emotions involved. Newsnight, despite including real discussion over current affairs, remains formal as the topics raised in the programme regard serious issues from around the world and must not be taken light-heartedly.
Newsnight broadcasts to an audience of more than 600,000 people per episode, which suggests that implications that it is getting beaten in ratings may be false. Despite the demand for television news decreasing on a whole, Newsnight continues to be funded by the BBC and covers some of the biggest stories in the news today, including an extended show discussing the News of the World scandal and the Windrush scandal this year. With 4million viewers a week, the show remains current and topical and leaves the audience feeling informed with a more well-rounded understanding of the world of politics and the current issues.