Beth Rigby, Sky News Senior Political Correspondent, recently put her online trolls on blast after they continuously slammed her for her accent. Her colleague, The Times’ Oliver Kamn, stood with her in support stating that we need regional accents, like Beth’s, in the Media to express the diversity within out society today.
The media is our main source of information. It’s where we find out what’s what. Therefore it should be accessible to everyone which is exactly what having regional accents in the media does. Having regional accents on the news or radio, make us who are sat at home, which is not in London (yes, we do exist), feel as though we can watch and understand the news and that we’re not in fact just listening to on a conversation amongst a group of men who all attended public school.
The fact that some of us feel that, when theses regional accents have such little representation in the media because that so called BBC accent or Estuary English is so over represented, that we are excluded from having equal access to the media can be linked to a researcher’s, Labov’s study. Labov’s Martha’s vineyard study showed how accent, as well as dialect, could be used to excluded others within society or even include by identifying as a strong separate group. Which is exactly what it feels like for us with regional accents watching the news for example. We don’t have the ‘cool’ accent of Estuary English therefore we can’t be represented in the media ‘group’, it is like high school really.
Not only do regional accents make the media feel more accessible and relatable but it also makes it feel friendlier. Let’s face it you can’t really beat Christine Bleakley’s warm and welcoming northern Irish accent on day time TV, it makes you feel like you should be sat with a cuppa and a few biccies.
Now I’m not saying that there should be a regional accent takeover of the media, although that would be nice, I am just saying that those who do have regional accents and work in the media should be able to do so without being persecuted for who they are. People should also stop being such English language pedants, it’s annoying. the media should represent all of society not just a small proportion.