From Our Own Correspondent (FOOC)
Date: January 18, 2014
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, then made available as a podcast.
As one of Radio 4’s oldest flagship broadcasts, the entire premise of the FOOC programme feels like a relic from the World Service’s war-time stereotype. The received pronunciation and slow, scripted speech does little to endorse its mission to ‘bring a personal perspective to world news’. Instead, these professional journalists and correspondents present an anecdotal view of the return of Kerouac, ‘the runaway dog in Mali’ and ‘covert chat’ with Russian hunters about gay sex in the Ural Mountains.
Yet without these snapshots, we would be unable to understand the instantaneous fact-driven news which chooses only headline developments. The benefit is of an explorative journalist who is able to not just chase expert sources to back up his lead but also provide a context into sometimes the seemingly insignificant, the unexpected and the mundane.
These tales are treated with equal weight – Kate Adie at the top of the programme does not discriminate between life in an Afghanistan warzone and the reporting from a sauna in The Urals, resisting temptations to state ‘and finally…’ in that derogatory offbeat newsreader cliché. FOOC points to its wider relevance as a microcosmic tale of the area which the correspondent is charged with covering.