In this week’s 6 Minute English: have you ever wondered why the news is full of death and destruction?
Kaz and Finn decide to take a look at some good news in this week’s 6 Minute English
This week’s question:
According to the BBC, three of the top ten most followed stories of 2012 were about the weather in the UK.
But what kind of weather? Was it:
a) snow storms
c) heat waves
Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme.
Kaz: Hello I’m Kaz and this is 6 Minute English. With me today is Finn. Hello Finn.
Finn: Hello Kaz.
Kaz: So, what news Finn?
Finn: Oh nothing new from me. Just the same old stuff, Kaz.
Kaz: Oh well, you know the saying: ‘no news is good news’.
Finn: That’s certainly true, Kaz
Kaz: It’s also relevant to today’s programme.
Finn: How so?
Kaz: Well, have you ever wondered why there’s so little good news around?
Finn: You’re right, Kaz. It’s usually bad news that makes the headlines: wars, scandals, murders, financial troubles, disasters…
Kaz: OK, so on the subject of bad news, let me try this quiz question on you. According to the BBC, three of the top ten most followed stories of 2012 were about the weather in the UK. But what kind of weather, though? Was it a) snow storms, b) flooding or c) heat waves?
Finn: Mmm. I don’t think it could be heat waves because we’ve had a pretty awful summer. I’ll try a) snow storms.
Kaz: Is that your final answer Finn?
Finn: Yup. ‘Snow storms’ is my final answer.
Kaz: OK. We’ll find out if you’re right at the end of the programme. But now, let’s
hear from designer Wayne Hemingway. Now, he was invited into the BBC
newsroom and his message to broadcasters was that they should look for more
good news, rather than the disasters and grim events that lead most news
stories. What kind of stories would he like to get more exposure?
Perhaps it’s time to reflect a little bit about why the main news channels seem to help us
concentrate on bad news stories and the seedier side of life. What bothers me is that on the
whole, stories that could move mankind forward and positively impact on our lives don’t get
the exposure they deserve.
Kaz: Finn, what kind of stories would designer Wayne Hemingway like to see getting
Finn: Now he says that stories that deserve more exposure are ones about moving
mankind forward and positively impacting on our lives – in short, stories about
improving our lives.
Kaz: Yes, stories that ‘move mankind forward’.
Finn: That sounds quite grand Kaz – almost idealistic. I wonder what kind of stories do
Kaz: Well, let’s find out. Here’s Wayne again, talking about just that. What two stories
does he mention?
In Japan scientists managed to create eggs from mice stem cells raising the hope of a cure for
human infertility. The US Journal, Science, said it was one of the most important
breakthroughs of the year but you’ve probably never heard of it. And in Israel, Izhar Gafni
has developed a bicycle from recycled cardboard, which could bring cheap, clean transport to
some of the world’s poorest and most polluted and congested cities.
Kaz: So what are the two good news stories he mentions?
Finn: The first is a breakthrough, a significant development, in stem cell research that
might lead to a cure for human infertility.
Kaz: OK and the second?
Finn: A story about a bicycle made from recycled cardboard.
Kaz: Yes, it’s a neat idea.
Finn: He says these cardboard bicycles could bring cheap, clean transport to some of the world’s poorest, most polluted and congested cities.
Kaz: Wayne Hemingway is passionate about getting his message across to broadcasters. He thinks that if we are constantly fed a diet of bad news, it’s what we’ll end up wanting. What word does he use to describe this situation?
It’s like saying that tabloids sell more than broadsheets. If that’s fed to the people all of the time that’s what they want but, you know, surely we’ve got to look at things that make us happy sometimes rather than think ‘Oh I’m glad I’m inside in the warmth’, or you know ‘I’m glad I’m not in that country, I’d hate to be there’. It all seems to be a little bit crass at the moment and to me it seems to be getting worse.
Kaz: Did you catch that word he used Finn to describe our appetite for bad news?
Finn: It was ‘crass’. He said the situation was ‘a little bit crass’ at the moment – ‘crass’ – showing no intelligence or sensitivity.
Kaz: And it’s a situation that he thinks is getting worse.
Finn: So what can we do about it?
Kaz: Let’s find out. Here’s Wayne Hemingway again:
Wayne Hemingway: If you search the internet for good news stories there are various websites that address this but they don’t do it justice. Perhaps we need fewer crime and more design correspondents, more science reporters and fewer war reporters and that way we might just encourage people to go out and achieve more and put a smile rather than a grimace on the face of the people at the bus stop.
Kaz: Finn, what do we need to redress this situation?
Finn: He says that perhaps we need fewer crime correspondents and more design correspondents.
Kaz: OK, as a designer himself that makes sense.
Finn: Yes, but don’t forget that design is an important contributor to the British economy – so more of those stories would improve things.
Kaz: OK. And what else?
Finn: More science reporters and fewer war reporters.
Kaz: Yes, he says that this would encourage people to go out and achieve more.
Finn: He says it would put a smile on people’s faces, rather than a grimace.
Kaz: Well, that’s all we have time for today. But before we go though, the answer to this week’s question. According to the BBC, three of the top ten most followed stories of 2012 were about the weather in the UK. What kind of weather was covered? Was it a) snow storms, b) flooding or c) heat waves? Now Finn, you said?
Finn: Well, I said a) snow storms because of the snowy weather we’ve been having recently. Was I right?
Kaz: I’m afraid not, Finn. The correct answer was … b) flooding. Thanks very much Finn, goodbye.
the seedier side of life: aspects of life that are morally degraded, for example, sex scandals and corruption
mankind: the human race
impact: have an effect on or influence
breakthroughs: sudden, dramatic, and important discoveries or developments, especially in science and medicine
tabloids: newspapers of small format giving the news in condensed form, usually with lots of pictures and often providing sensational material
broadsheets: serious newspapers with a larger page format
crass: crude and rough
don’t do it justice: don’t give it the credit it deserves
a grimace: a twisted facial expression that shows distaste or disgust
6 Minute English – Good news Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: