Old Style BBC in Dilemma

Listen to BBC Indonesian service was regular supper in the middle of the night for the night shift editorial team in our office back home. It was often that people in the news room looked at each other every time they heard odd words from the radio.

I used to work in night shift when I was working in a national news channel in Indonesia. My producer was the most critical person to the BBC Indonesian service broadcast. He concerned a lot about language and words for Indonesian audiences.

Yesterday we visited BBC World Service headquarter as part of our journalism course, another step to feed us up with all those BBC matters amid massive daily references to the news organisation. I don’t mind about it at all though as my wishful thinking says I can one day end up in there. As I could imagine before, it was a huge building in the very heart of London.

I would have never known if there’s dilemma inside if I didn’t ask something during the visit. I asked them how BBC authorised writers in each service in translating English news into any particular language. It was driven by ridicule my ex-executive-producer used to say every time he listens to BBC Indonesian service in the middle of the nights. He asked me, “If you have the opportunity to visit BBC News Service, please let them know that the Indonesian language they use sounds very weird and is not easily acceptable.”

Photo by Sadia

The answer was really beyond my expectation. There’s no surprise among BBC staffs escorting us to explore a few floors in the classic building. A staff told me that I could call it as BBC style even though it’s totally aware dilemma it faces in dealing with language matter. On one hand, it wants to preserve the trademark. On the other hand, it realises the importance to catch younger audiences. It’s been a long consideration internally. They say it’s dilemma, I say it’s irony. I am not sure writers in the BBC Indonesian broadcast are merely ‘senior’ people. Even if they are, I am not sure they don’t know how to translate news into a more ‘audible’ language, if not more popular language.

I should say my ex-executive-producer is ‘senior’ enough to be familiar with that ‘old fashioned’ kind of language. But he is not. So, which range of age is being targeted by the BBC? The grumble would be more reasonable if it came out from my mouth. I am twenty something.


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