30/11/2012 Newswatch


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That's the business news. Now, it is time for Newswatch, with


Samira Ahmed. This week, how well- informed are our weather forecasts


keeping us? Welcome to the programme. Heavy rain and floods


have been hitting Britain, but are we getting enough accurate


information about the weather conditions coming away? A report


about press freedom has been exciting the media, but is the


general public just as interested? I don't think there is any doubt


that there is a... Is this an acceptable quality of picture for


television? First, when extreme weather conditions hit the UK, such


as heavy rain and flooding, which many people have been witnessing,


the BBC has an important role to play in giving out information.


First, a taste of how news journalists covered the floods.


Cars, houses, shops, have all been abandoned, and the fire crews are


trying to do what they can. But this is a tidal river, and you can


see the force of the water. Flood defence systems do stop the


catastrophe, but people are still affected by it. Yes, there are 40


flood warnings in place for the north-east of England, 9 a loan on


the River Ouse, which burst its banks yesterday. -- nine alone. In


the opinion of Neal Evans, that last piece perpetuates the danger


of people walking in flood water, But how effective are both news


reports and forecasts at alerting us to severe weather conditions?


Some viewers feel there is a Forecasters are also get complaints


about the style of their bulletins, and of course, about getting their


And we had this e-mail from Linda We do love a good chat about the


weather, so I am delighted that the head of BBC weather news has joined


me. When the weather is in headlines, it has a special


importance for people, and I wonder how the floods affect how you do


your job. Enormously. We work very closely with the Met Office and the


flood forecasting Centre, and when we get the sort of warnings that we


got during that awful weather last week, then that really dictates how


we try to get the story of a to the audience. In situations like that,


you're talking life and limb, and very dangerous conditions. We have


heard people saying that complete areas did not get any proper


coverage, even in the local section, and there is perceived to be a


southern bias - how do you answer that? We look at the forecast every


day in terms of where we should start and finish. There is no bias


coming intentionally out of that. Clearly, that story last weekend


started in the south-west of England and moved over to Wales,


but then moved over to the north- east, and I think we covered it


very well. What we cannot do on a network forecast is to give the


kind of very specific detail which some people in the audience require.


I suppose the question would be how far you are, or should be directing


the news teams, as to where they should be focusing their attention?


We give our news colleagues any information we have, as soon as we


realised that something is potentially going to happen, which


is very serious. We let them know, we give them a factual briefing.


Beyond that, it is up to news- gathering to decide where they


deploy their reporters to get the best story for the audience. And of


course, you're not getting the forecast weight, which does bother


people. I am happy and confident -- right right that we get the best


data available. The Met Office is a worldly the organisation, and it


supplies us with our data. What we cannot do is a very specific


forecast. That's why for network, during those big weather moments,


we will tell people, go and listen to your local radio station, look


at the website, where all the detailed information will be.


of people do not because the Internet, they do not have the time


to use it, especially when they're getting ready for the work, so what


is the answer? We had a complaint about the rolling map, and people


get nothing out of it - what can you say about that? Part of going


around on the mat is that we cover more places, so that more people


get information. -- on the map. I would say, during those big moments,


listen to BBC local radio. They have county level forecasts, they


are in touch with the emergency responders, they can guide you


through very difficult moments. other issue is the banter. One


aspect of being integrated more into programmes like Breakfast is


the chat. As one viewer said, by the time they have got to the


weather, I have lost attention. Is there an issue there? Well, we try


to give the information, that is the most important thing, that is


the big objective for everybody in the Weather Centre. People must


walk away from it knowing what their weather forecast will be.


However, we also want to engage with people and with the audience


and we want to bring some personality, the personality of the


presenter, which will shine through. That applies to any broadcast.


it takes away from the time left for the weather. Well, you still


get the time to do the weather. The time allocated for any handovers is


also factored in. Sometimes it does not happen. On live programmes, we


all have to be flexible, we all know that. But the programmes are


generally very good at sticking to Well, if it was the weather that


dominated the news in the first part of the week, the end of it


focused largely on Lord Justice Leveson's report into the culture


and practices of the past. The night before its publication, Nick


Robinson already seemed aware that certain items might have been at


the heart of the inquiry. The truth is that this issue of press


regulation has not been a big topic down the Dog and Duck tonight, I


suspect, but it is one of the most difficult decisions this Prime


Minister will ever face, and one of the most difficult issues that will


go through the House of Commons in the months to come. This is


certainly a story which will run and run, but there is evidence that


the appetite of viewers for it may be more limited than that of


But not everyone was talking about We have also been receiving


complaints about this... Struck with a pitchfork again and again,


sometimes kicked and hit... This report went out last Friday, about


the circus owner found guilty of mistreating an elephant. It upset


Finally, technological advances have allowed the screening of


material from a variety of sources, such as webcams and Skype. Last


Sunday, the new channel interviewed a journalists about the regional


elections in Catalonia. There is no doubt that there was a fairly


comfortable majority within Catalonia for independence.


Feelings are running very high. It depends on which san that you take,


but somewhere between 60% and 70% of the population say that they


would like independence from Spain. The response of Neil Penfold from


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