BRINGING THE “movers and shakers” within the media is the tagline of the Coventry Conversations with prolific names from the worlds of journalism and entertainment often go unnoticed in the local media however this weeks speaker Rebecca Shiner from Big Brother has generated significant coverage by The Coventry Telegraph.
Two Articles covering a tattoo of “Xfactor twins Jedward” on her bum and her struggling TV romance with fellow BB contestant Luke Marsden appeared on the Coventry Telegraph website Friday the 13th. Another indicator of how tabloid “celeb” gossip headlines are dominating the agenda of local news to boost struggling sales.
Dubbed “Coventry’s proudest export of the last two years” by senior lecturer John Mair, Bex seems to have amassed a large student following becoming the subject of numerous student blogs following her talk. She has managed to remain of interest to readers as Coventry’s link to the phenomenon, which is ‘Reality TV’.
Speaking to the Coventry Telegraph prior to the talk she seemed to give the usual answer to the only question posed to reality TV stars saying how she doesn’t regret doing Big Brother and expressing her interest in re-entering the house. The talk followed a similar theme on escaping the jaws of reality TV, however there’s a limit to how long you can talk about an appearance on Big Brother.
Bex from Big Brother has “followed in the footsteps of high profile personalities such as TV News presenter Jon Snow” according to the Coventry Telegraph whose inaugural lecture as visiting professor received a small mention prior to the event but no reporter attended on the day.
On the 3rd of November Coventry Conversations featured critically acclaimed writer of Shameless and State of Play, Paul Abbott. The audience consisted of student, locals and a few people bewildered people expecting a talk on Shakespeare (with the talk entitled ‘TV’s Shakespeare’). However the local paper wasn’t there, Coventry University was the only institution outside Manchester that Abbott would be speaking at and yet the tabloid interest of Big Brother was deemed worthy of sending a reporter where Abbott wasn’t. This season of Conversations has featured: Jon Snow, Coventry filmmaker Debbie Issit and Investigative Journalist Eamonn Matthews to name only a few. There’s a line up of speakers who generated little or no interest by the local media.
Ironically the majority of speakers in local media that speak at Coventry Conversations stress the importance of local journalism being local. Controversial BBC radio Oxford presenter spoke at Coventry Conversations last week about what local radio needs to do to survive, saying that its important presenters are: “talking about the things that are important to local people”. Is there really a place in local news for “celeb” gossip.