• Sport in the headlines

    Editors at BBC News took an interesting line-up in their news coverage during Sunday and Monday morning, putting this story, about a cricket match forfeit ahead of other stories such as the death of a British soldier in Afghanistan and the arrest of a teenager suspected of involvement in the death of an elderly man in Liverpool.

    The inclusion of sport in the main headlines is an interesting topic; in my opinion there are few incidents where sport becomes a general news story and even at that point it is generally secondary to all else. Of course the news-worthiness of any story is also subject to the importance of the other stories of the day but in this case there were plenty of important stories to chose from.
    In reality, unless the world is faced with a major world event the above cricket story does have a place in the general news headlines; after all it is a first in the world of cricket and a controversy in its own context. With that in mind however it seems odd that it would be considered more important than the death of a soldier in Afghanistan, one of only 20 so far.

    Interestingly this isn’t the first time the BBC has chosen a sport story over the death of British soldiers in Afghanistan. Martin Bell chastised the broadcaster on Comment Is Free in July for putting Beckham’s resignation above two deaths in the Middle Eastern country.
    In my opinion the priorities of the BBC editors were poor on this occasion as well as the last; a harmless and frankly fluffy sport story is in no way comparable to the death of a man serving his country in a controversial war. As a side note the run of stories on News 24 that started at midnight on Monday morning gave over 6 minutes to the cricket piece and just 2 to the Afghanistan piece, although this is probably explained by the lack of information publically available on the soldier at present.
    Sport in the headlines is fine, but only when it’s an extraordinary sport story and there are no extraordinary current affairs stories to chose from on the day. A game cannot be held in the same regard as current affairs in the real world; even the most ardent sports fan should recognise the difference there.