What makes Current Affairs different from News?

Working within these two major platforms have added to the rewarding moments of working for the BBC. 

Many people still don’t realise that News and Current Affairs are not the same thing:

  • ‘news programmes are supposed to be devoted to facts, while current affairs programmes include the opinions of commentators.’

True. News gives us the numbers, facts, statistics and bulletins. Whereas current affairs has the avenue where the journalist or presenter can share thoughts and opinions on the matter, and include additional information and sources. 

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(George Alagiah, BBC News at Six)
  • ‘News is different from current affairs because not all current affairs make it to the news. For a current event to become news, someone or a reporter must have taken interest in the spread of such event. If not, a current event may occur without ever getting into the news until later in the future.’

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Stories such as what it’s like living in Northern Nigeria is a highly talked about and news related issue, that can be explained and have more longevity through current affairs documentaries such as Panorama’s The Missing Stolen School Children, which looks at the state of parts of Northern Nigeria since the invasion of  boko haram. Making it just news wouldn’t impact as much audiences, and would just be stated as facts. 

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  • ‘In the same way, Not all news item are current events. A person may be interested in an old story. Digging up age long information about remarkable stories becomes news. So an event need not be a current event before it becomes news. For example, remembering the death of a well respected politician can make it to the news as a sign of respect.’

When it comes to working on documentaries and programmes, they all seem to fall under the bracket of current affairs. I love being able to add more research, sources and longevity to a story which has the ability to impact audiences worldwide. Examples of my current affairs documentaries can be found here.

Below are a few news and current affairs clips, see if you can spot the difference:

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