The Sun, known the world over for its infamously controversial and eye-catching front pages, has released another doozy this morning. Readers of the Murdoch-owned paper were treated to an angry story on BBC News journalists asleep at their desks with the headline: “BBC News Channel’s staff are sleeping on the job, HERE IS THE SNOOZE”.
Their “EXCLUSIVE: TV SCANDAL” has pictures of BBC staff catching some shut eye at their desks (even though it doesn’t look like any of them knew they were being photographed, which is a little creepy if you ask me). The story says: “The napping night-shifters were snapped by an angry colleague on the BBC News Channel at Broadcasting House, London.”
While the sheer number of people pictured asleep on the job could be embarrassing for the national broadcaster, it’s not clear how long the staff had been working or whether they were on a break.
And now BBC journalists have been reacting to the divisive front page on Twitter and standing up for their London colleagues.
BBC war correspondent Quentin Sommerville, who regularly reports from war-torn Syria and Iraq, posted a picture of himself asleep wearing a bullet-proof vest with the comment: “It’s true @TheSun we do sleep on the job. Our work is a bit taxing at times. @BBCNews doesn’t do lazy journalism. How about you?”
Callum May, a BBC News producer, added: “Incredibly annoyed by this. I used to do night shifts. Reading and writing words is not physical work but it can still be knackering. I sometimes had a nap. I’m sure people in other overnight office jobs have done the same. Oh yes, and if you’ve gone round photographing your colleagues asleep you’re a weird, creepy bastard.”
Chris Warburton, a BBC Radio 5 Live presenter, said: “This daft story. Did nights for years producing at 5live. Editing Breakfast without sleep was like doing it drunk. And best not talk about driving home in the London rush hour.”
And Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s technology correspondent, wrote: “I genuinely thought this was a spoof when I first saw it. Yes, The Sun has merged with the Onion.”
The Beeb finally responded to The Sun’s story with a very salty tweet this morning:
And this all begs the question: have no other journalists (including at The Sun) ever had a cheeky nap at work?
Anyway, the FT reported earlier this year that sleeping on the job can actually improve your work. “Taking a nap increases happiness and productivity, so some companies are happy to help,” the story said.
So perhaps the good people at The Sun can learn to relax a little and not worry too much about the small stuff.
Take a nap maybe?