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Twitter Rumours, Louis Van Gaal And A Slow News Night

Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
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On April 18, 1930 BCM (Before Conor McGregor), the BBC declared there was no news.

The 6.30pm radio bulletin ran as follows:

Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news.

The rest of the bulletin was filled with piano music, before returning to scheduled programming.

Eighty-five years on, not even the largest broadcasting corporation in the world could declare the world devoid of news and fill precious air time with the frivolous tinkling of a piano. The anodyne tickling of ivory would do nothing for Click Through Rates, Engagement Time would drop fatefully, advertisers would turn away and go somewhere else. In today's media world, the thing you can least afford is no news.

This is a symbiotic relationship. 24-hour news organisations hath made news junkies of us all. We can't go more than a few minutes without checking our Twitter feed to find something to either get angry at or respond to with a wry and sarcastic tweet.

So what, in 2015, can be done on a Slow News Night? December 22nd, 2015 gave us an example. We had the fairly stonking news of the IAAF Deputy Secretary stepping down earlier today, but since then news has been scant on the ground.


The world collectively realised their dilemma, so went about making some news up. Media organisations are not wholly to blame here; consumers are too, as the world teetered closely to lapsing into productivity and/or boredom in a news vacumn.

The world took to Twitter to whip up some excitement about Louis Van Gaal falling upon his sword at Manchester United.

It began by the In The Knows (#ITKs) revealing that executives who are paid to have meetings may, in fact, be having a meeting. This was not just any meeting, it had to be a serious meeting.


It would only be a matter of time before someone began confirming that someone had confirmed something.


Soon, we had our exclusive announcement on Twitter, courtesy of that fearless sleuth, er, Trevor Sinclair.

Prominent Football Commentator In Situations Where Arsenal Lose And/Or His Previous Brash Opinions Were Proved To Be Incorrect, Piers Morgan tweeted his reaction:

As the world descended into anger/wry and sarcastic tweeting, normality resumed when we collectively realised the absurdity of what was happening.

If Duncan Castles had broken the news on BBC Radio 3, he would have done so during Words And Music, a show featuring musical contributions by sporting heavyweights like Bach, Messiaen, Rautavaara and Robert Parson and poems by Thomas Hardy and WB Yeats.

This would have seen him neglect other slighty more suitable media outlets like the sports-dominated 5 Live or Talksport, where Alan Brazil was unlikely to have to apologise to listeners for interrupting this broadcast of Schubert as he had some breaking football news.

Mark Ogden tweeted his surprise at his Sky Sports appearance:

The internet's relentless pursuit of news was summed up by Sid Lowe:

Thankfully, Trevor Sinclair returned to restore his journalistic integrity:

The internet world then settled down, possibly because it had reached an acceptable social hour to go for a pint at, where it could reflect with relief at how it got through those scary few hours with nothing to get angry/sarcastic about.

Roland Barthes once summed up literature as being "the question minus the answer". It seems Twitter on a slow news day is simply the answer, with no questions as to how the hell it has arisen.

P.S. We have realised the irony of  getting 800 words out of a story decrying a non-story, so best to keep to your Twitter instincts here and not ask too many questions.

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