20/01/2012 Newswatch


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Welcome to Newswatch. Later on the programme, we have the science


editor Chris us for being unbalanced, alarmist and


insufficiently serious. Since the Italian cruise ship the Costa


Concordia ran aground off the coast of Tuscany last Friday BBC News has


reported on the rescue operation, the surge of the cause of the


accident and those who died. We had the testimony of a number of free


survivors, including an emotional interview of Derek and Viv Ebbage.


While you are waiting to find a lifeboat, the two of the become


separated from one another? That brought this reaction from Kerry


We put that point to BBC News and they gave us this statement in


Tuesday was 100 here since the days since Captain Scott and his team


reached the South poll on their ill-fated expedition. No surprise


that this was marked on the BBC with a number of items, including


this into beyond the Breakfast programme. Explorers through the


years have recreated a trip that Scott made, 18 other right now.


They are planning to make a commemorative game of cricket.


brought this reaction from Julie Breff McGovern was equally


This week saw the appointment of the BBC's first science editor,


David Shukman was to be given the task of raising the profile of


science in BBC News. I will be speaking to him in a moment. What


sort of challenge as do Newswatch think he will face? -- challenges.


One prediction is that there will be criticism of the BBC's coverage


of climate change. There is clearly no way of placing of the people all


the time. David Murray is one of those who is unhappy. Writing the


An independent review by the BBC Trust found that too much weight


had been given to those challenging scientific orthodoxy on issues such


as climate change as well as GM crops, and the MMR vaccine. The


controversy provoked by Andrew Wakefield suggested a link between


the vaccine and autism got Anthony Allegations that BBC hyped-up


stories has affected bird flu and last year's Fukushima nuclear power


plant disaster. Too much was made of the dangers of radiation posed


Our audience have found a new planet around a distance star


somewhere out there. This week's Stargazing LIVE programme has shown


there is an appetite for science programme. Does BBC News take the


news as seriously as it should? Not Trevor Tonkinson worried --


wondered: we are going to speak to David Shukman, the newly appointed


signs a tougher start first for Trevor Tonkinson, how many


reporters have a scientific background? I have a geography


degree and I am very proud of it. Does it mean difficulty dealing


with scientists and astrophysicists? There is


definitely a challenge with understanding their language. What


overcomes that is an enthusiasm for the subject. Science is very


specialised. A bicycle physicist may not know that much about the


glaciers of Greenland. -- astrophysicist. After all these


years the BBC has appointed a science editor after a science


correspondent. It is long overdue. A number of important subjects have


been given editors to lead the coverage. I think it is about time


that science, an incredibly important part of our lives in so


many ways, has the status of an editor. I know from talking from


scientists and engineers, they have felt too long in the shadows of


this country. We need to bring them into the limelight and give them


the attention they deserve. One of the inevitable hot potatoes will be


the controversies over climate change. You are not pleasing anyone


in this tormented area, how do you approach it? We assess the weight


of the evidence on any particular story. Whether it is client --


climate science are anything else. We make a judgement about the


strength of the evidence, how we are going to cover it, the relative


air time we might give to different points of view. We have an open


door, I hope we always have. Nothing to be shut off. If you have


got 30 years of data painstakingly gathered in the Arctic by the


American space agency NASA, that is a solid body of evidence. We


explain to viewers were there may be weaknesses, that is the kind of


thing, we can apply undue weight. One viewer said the BBC exaggerated


the dangers of radiation harm. Do you think there is anything in


that? Looking at some of the newspaper headlines it was clear


that they were predicting nuclear Armageddon. I would like to think


in now I'm reporting we laid out the context, we laid out the risk


and explained row the dangers perhaps did not exist. I went to


Fukushima six months after the disaster, went into the exclusion


zone carrying a Geiger counter and found no levels of radiation.


Hopefully people will get the idea that our job is to gather the facts


and present them. David Shukman, Venky very much in do. Before we go


too much further into this year, we should mention a bugbear of


Point is taken, 2012 it'll be from now on. Thank you for all of your


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