What C4 News could learn about NI from Flog It! (Yes, seriously)

April 28, 2018 0 By Conor

A quick note about something strangely remarkable: discovering this week that an episode of Flog It! (yes, Flog It!) could teach visiting media a great deal about how Northern Ireland is reported.

How? Bear with me.

A recent episode of Flog It! featured a visit to Belfast, which tends to mean recording the usual bits of film about NI’s history and – this is where it usually goes wrong – what this means in 2018.

What we usually get: some wardog reporter flies in, calls a few wingnut contacts from their time here in the 70s, installs themselves in the Europa Bar, sends their crew to the Peace Walls and copy-pastes from their last report.

What we got from Flog It!: a beautifully contextualised and respectful piece about the Belfast punk scene and its characters. A connection was made between the places important to that scene in the past and the bustling tourism in the city we have today.

And – here’s the thing – it didn’t try to touristsplain current NI politics or society, it didn’t accidentally perpetuate the ‘two communities’ myth (hang your heads C4 News, a frequent offender) or group people and their actions lazily – and wrongly – by religious group (follow @RoyFis on Twitter for more on this).

Instead, by simply talking to people and looking outside their hotel window, the Flog It! crew managed to see what local people see instead of searching out division – *something RTE’s ‘National Treasures’ recently failed to do – and created something rather beautiful along the way.

Thank you Flog It!

(* Disclosure: after 10 minutes of the NI edition of National Treasures we decided it was unwatchable for all the wrong reasons mentioned above)