02/11/2012 Newswatch


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Newswatch, with Samira Ahmed hearing views on the coverage of


Welcome to Newswatch with me, Samira Ahmed. This week, did the US


victims of Superstorm Sandy get more attention than those from the


Caribbean? It is as though 70 people have died in the Caribbean


and their deaths mean nothing, they are not newsworthy. I find that


unforgivable. And he's back, in the cinema, and


on TV. But has BBC News allowed itself to be part of the 007


promotional campaign? First, the week's news viewing has


been dominated by the storm that has wreaked havoc in the Caribbean


and the east coast of the United States. But for some Newswatch


viewers there was a serious imbalance in the coverage, summed


up here by an email from Jane Lewis Other viewers got the same


impression and three of them recorded their thoughts for us.


The destructive power of the super- storm... I felt the coverage was


largely disproportionate. It focused almost entirely on the east


coast of America, specifically New York and more recently New Jersey.


And, you know, sort of when the hurricane hit Cuba, it was barely


mentioned at all. Before Sandy hit the east coast of the USA, it


actually hit the Bahamas, 80, Cuba, Dominican Republic -- Hague teeth.


They were all affected but there was no coverage in the mainstream


media about it. On Thursday morning, the voice-over said "the death toll


is more than 70". Actually it is more than 140. You know, this


sounds harsh, but it is as the 70 people have died in the Caribbean


and their deaths mean nothing. think it is worrying because it


shows that the media only panders to public taste, it has moved away


from the educational element, where it lets people know what is


happening in parts of the world where perhaps the ordinarily would


not think about. Because of the lack of exposure and lack of


coverage about the countries in the Caribbean, they will not get the


aid needed when in actual fact, they are the actual countries that


need it, because to start with they don't have the infrastructure


compared to New York. New Jersey... I get the impression quite strongly,


particularly now it is later in the week when the chance has been there


to cover in some depth what has been happening in the Caribbean,


that only First World news accounts. -- counts.


Thanks to those who put their views on camera there, and to all of you


who contacted us on this issue. It is a safe bet that we will be


hearing a lot more from the United States in the next week, with


Tuesday's presidential election. Please let us know your thoughts on


how BBC News covers that story. Details of how to contact us at the


end of the programme. Have you seen the new James Bond film, or do you


just feel as if you have? You will certainly have heard about it, what


with 007 themed Top Gear, Culture Show and Graham Norton Show


specials on BBC television over the past week, along with plentiful


coverage on BBC News in the lead-up to last Friday's cinema release.


But some feel the reporting has crossed the boundary into puffs,


plugs and publicity. He has been hard to miss over the


past few weeks, and not just on advertising hoardings. Who doesn't


appreciate the occasional twist, Mr...? Bond. James Bond. Last


week's star-studded premiere of Skyfall was shown extensively on


the News Channel but it was by no means the first time BBC viewers


had been told about the new film. A month ago, the producers of the


franchise went into publicity overdrive with the self-proclaimed


World Bond Day, eagerly latched onto by reporters. The cars. Just a


few of the things that have made the James Bond series recognise the


world over and has helped it maintain its phenomenal popularity


for half a century. Some Newswatch viewers were both shaken by this,


and stirred into contacting us. How much exposure on the BBC


contributes to the box office receipts of the Bond franchise is


impossible to determine. But features on the national news can


only help give a push to new films, CDs or books, as in the case of JK


Rowling's new novel in September. Some thought there was overkill


there too, with Anne Hodges What an honour to be honest


balcony! Back in 2009, the BBC featured U2 prominently on its


airwaves, including this concert on top of the Beeb's own building.


There was a reason, a new album. Last night the first live outing


for some of the new tracks. There has been some criticism from the


BBC for the amount of airtime given to the band but this is one of the


world's most popular bands. Later though, the Corporation admitted


that the coverage had breached its guidelines, tipping over into


promotion. But is this a lesson that has been learnt? With me now


is the entertainment correspondent for BBC News, Lizo Mzimba, who


shared the red carpet with Daniel Craig and others at Skyfall's


premiere last week. Thank you for coming in. The fact is, it is great


fun doing that kind of story, but it is not news. It is, people are


interested in James Bond, it is the longest running cinema franchise of


its kind in the world. It has been going for almost half the age of


cinema itself. People are interested in that kind of thing. I


did a live interview with Daniel Craig on the red carpet. People


wanted to hear what he had to say about the movie and that was


repeated throughout the night, but we did not do any pieces on the


national news bulletins because we decided it did not merit that kind


of coverage. But we put it in context of where it is important


and why people do want to hear about it, but I don't think it was


overkill. There is always an anniversary, another James Bond


film. Did you not feel it was getting a bit excessive? World bond


date was not something we came up with. Sony came up with it. We


decided weeks before that it was that the deeper anniversary and


something as important and interesting as James Bond, we would


do something on it -- it was the 50th anniversary. It was only later


that Sony... And the BBC went along with it? You could not watch


anything without there been a spurious link to 50 years of James


Bond, and that is not news. It is an excuse for indulgence. It is


something we did because we will Mark King within BBC News as cinema


franchise that has been going for 50 years -- we were marking. There


are many... Not for 50 years. James Bond is important. Look at what


happened in July. The person that turned around to greet him is her


Majesty the Queen. James Bond in the 60s and 70s changed the British


film industry. Your breakfast piece was three and a half minutes and I


recognised every clip and there was a Bond girl saying something


vaguely fun... It could have been made at any time in the last ten


years. What you have heard from viewers is the concern that this is


easy and it has been used to promote a very large multi-million-


pound industry, which does not need it, and the same with the JK


rolling book. It doesn't mean that reporters should automatically


devote airtime -- JK Rowling. think carefully about putting


things in the correct context. We do not say, go and see this new


film. We say, this is happening. I did not hear any criticism about


the James Bond film and I cannot imagine it would have been easy to


have done so. The fisted anniversary was not related to


Skyfall -- the 50th anniversary. We spoke about James Bond and how it


had influenced people around the world. Where is the difference


between a genuine news story and a puff. People remember, there is


another Bond film out and it is called Skyfall. On the movie


release, we did not do any pieces on the national news bulletins, I


did one... We had a discussion in the office and decided we did not


want to put it to the national bulletins. Do you have no regrets


at all about the decisions on some of these, which sound like they


should have run on any commercial channel? I think people are


interested and I think they were put in the proper context of way


James Bond is something special and I think most viewers appreciate


that. And that's all from us. Thanks for


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