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The BBC may have just stumbled across a way to rebuild the public’s trust in journalists: stop bathing.
That’s right. The broadcast giant across the pond thinks that viewers are more inclined to find journalists who look a little “sweaty and dirty” more trustworthy.
According to Deadline, Naja Nielsen, BBC News’ Director of Digital, told staff that it might help if they maintained a slightly less stodgy appearance.
“It’s a bit like, be as sweaty and dirty as when we’re in the field is actually more trustworthy than if we look like we’ve just stepped out of an awards ceremony or a fine dinner party.”
Interesting. Interesting indeed…
Does Sweat And Dirt Equal Credibility?
I kind of see what she’s saying. Viewers probably appreciate a more “real” look from journalists. One that makes it look like they actually did the journalistic legwork themselves. Y’know, instead of having it thrust under their snout by an underling.
Still, I find it tough to believe that some of the great journalists of yesterday would’ve been held in higher regard had they not shaved every day or worn a hoodie.
“That Cronkite is a hell of a journalist, but I don’t know if I can trust him. He looks like he showers…”
However, the sweat and dirt look can only help journalists so much. It could only be useful for those whose trustworthiness in the eyes of the public hasn’t been irreparably damaged. For instance, CNN’s Don Lemon could run an IronMan, then roll around in a landfill every morning before he goes to work and screams at Poppy Harlow, and it wouldn’t make a difference.
Deadline reported that this was part of Nielsen’s hope to tap into TikTok-loving Gen Z-ers. Good luck with that. Something tells me the generation that grew up cooking chicken in NyQuil and breaking fences as a tip o’ the cap to the Kool-Aid Man, aren’t big BBC fans.
From the sound of it, this move to a more relaxed dress code is already in motion. One weather presenter was spotted wearing a jacket and a *gasps* t-shirt.
Seeing that kind of bold wardrobe overhauling would make a stuffy, high society-type spit out her tea, then pass out face-first in her crumpets.
For better or worse, those TikTok-dancing, Tide Pod-eating morons are the future. The BBC is smart for at least trying to adapt.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle