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Was Charlotte Church's Speech Too Long and 'Inauthentic'?

Posted: 28/02/2012 10:53

Something very unusual happened today.


Presenter Eddie Mair told us on BBC Radio 4's early evening news programme PM that they were going to play the whole of Charlotte Church's statement after she and her family had settled their case for phone-hacking damages against News International's now defunct News of the World (above).

It lasted about three minutes - far longer than most clips from political speeches replayed on radio and television news broadcasts these days.

Regular readers will know that the British broadcasters' reluctance to play extended excerpts from political speeches and their preference for having their reporters tell us what speakers are saying is something I've been complaining about for quite a while (see, for example, Politicians and broadcaster in the UK" collaboration or capitulation?).

They'll also know that I don't believe that reading a written-speech aloud always means that the speaker is doomed to come across as 'inauthentic' (see To read or not to read? That is the question for speechwriters - or is it?).

Charlotte Church may not be a politician, but this unusually long clip gives us a chance to check on both these issues at the same time.

Was it too long for listeners and did she sound inauthentic?
I first heard the clip on the car radio, so you'll have to close your eyes or look away to experience it in more or less the same way as I did (though without the added bonus of the beautiful Somerset countryside).

Having done so, see what you think.

For what it's worth, I thought she made rather a good job of it - even though I could tell that she was reading from a text).

Nor did my attentiveness to what she was saying lapse for a moment - even though we're all supposed to have such short attention spans that we're incapable of listening to a speech for anything like as long as three minutes.

So I'm still wondering why it is that our broadcasters no longer allow us to listen to excerpts from speeches by politicians that last as long as this...

P.S. Fellow anoraks won't be surprised to know that the sound bite singled out for the headlines was a simple contrast: "They're not sorry, they're just sorry they got caught" (e.g. http://t.co/PjUzYQYQ) - which reminded me of my sons' Sinclair Spectrum computer chess game, which used to say after you'd played an obvious move: "I expected that!"

 

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