07/12/2012 Newswatch


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This week coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge was a pregnancy. The


programme was recorded before news of the death of bonus involved in


the hoax phone call to the Duchess of Cambridge. -- and less. Hello


and welcome to Newswatch. The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant


and this news dominated the headlines for several days. Was the


coverage wanted? And the Autumn Statement was a key announcement


for the Chancellor. But did he get a fair hearing's and was BBC


reporting fair and clear about which companies were in the right


and in the wrong on taxation? The statement on Monday from St James's


Palace was simple, the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting a baby.


Next came the deluge of coverage. BBC correspondents and the world


media set up camp outside a London hospital she was taken to.


Good evening and welcome to the BBC news and six. The Duke and Duchess


of Cambridge are expecting their first child. The announcement came


this afternoon after Kate was admitted to hospital with acute


morning sickness. A child will be third in line to


the throne irrespective of whether it is a boy or girl. She paused on


the steps to let photographers take their pictures. I took the


opportunity of asking how she was feeling. She nodded and smiled and


said, much better. While many who felt coverage of the


royal pregnancy was excessive and given undue prominence. One viewer


from London said stop this ridiculous coverage. The nation is


delighted to but the coverage is just over the top. And another it


complained, coverage of the royal pregnancy on BBC Breakfast this


morning was disproportionately long and also discussed in reforming. Do


we need to pay for a live broadcast outside the hospital to be told no


more information than we already knew?


Well Andrew Bowdler and Lesley Newton joins us with the controller


of the BBC news channel, Sam Taylor. What we are concerns about the


coverage? Well I think everyone is happy that their potentially going


to have a child. Everyone commiserate with the Duchess


because of her it will NOS. But that is all I think the BBC needed


to say. There are a lot of other major issues facing this country at


the moment from child poverty, for elderly care. Healthcare, education.


And as we heard on the news this morning, there has been an


earthquake in Japan. So you concern was about proportion of? Yes, I


think the fact that they mentioned this particular condition, I will


not try to pronounce it, I think that was a good thing because a lot


of people then came out of the woodwork and said I have had that.


And thank you for bringing it to people's attention. But I do not


think so much of the big stuff that carried on and the people outside


the hospital and everything else like that, was necessary. Lesley,


of what did you think? I agreed with much of what Andrew has said


but it is all about balance. My first reaction when I heard the


news on the radio was, here we go again. I knew that it was going to


be virtually non-stop. And only one side of the story from then on in.


Yesterday on the radio there was an announcement that Noel Gallagher


was going to be working at the Albert Hall with the teenage Cancer


Trust. And he was asked if he had a message for the royal couple. I


could feel no link there. So you feel there is a danger that


celebrity coverage is being used? Every tenuous link. Everything will


be geared towards this now. And you have concerns about the fact that


the Duchess herself is less than 12 weeks pregnant? As a woman and a


human being it is a difficult time for them. They are a young couple


who are as worried as everyone else. I think that we have to keep things


in proportion but also give them their privacy. So it was too early


and left a bad taste in my mouth. It fell to that creepy. Well the


creepy thing, people tend not to talk about pregnancy until 12 weeks.


There's always a risk and concerned that something might go wrong. Did


you have any concerns about the possibility of intrusion and tone


in this story? You're absolutely right. And at that very time we


were asking St James's Palace for more information because it quickly


became clear that this was before 12 weeks. But the Palace had


decided to put the information out there because of the fact that


medical treatment was taking place. That enabled us to be very clear


about the circumstances. On one level there is no sense of us try


to force information that was not there. And I would just say in that


sense there were two is that living things. I appreciate that stories


divide audiences. And on Wall stories a group of people think we


cover them too much. But not only did we have the medical component


to the story but also an active and moving discussion at the same time


about the accession to the throne. One of the issues is proportion. I


looked at the first couple of boroughs of news channel coverage


and it was a good hour before you got a story about the Starbucks tax


thing. Or about elderly care. And the only foreign story in two hours


of coverage was a short one about Israeli settlements. Is that a fair


balance of coverage given that we knew nothing more than that she was


ill and was going to have a baby? The job of the news channel is to


produce breaking news and develop good news for the audience. And the


treatment for this story was no different to any other. Would you


have done it anything differently about the proportionate and nature


of the coverage and questions that you asked? Probably by about an


hour the following morning we would have taken it off the lead story


about an hour earlier. But then we found its natural place a few hours


later. Well keep your comments coming in.


Contact details coming up later. The other big story of the week was


the autumn statement from the Chancellor. In the true spirit of


George Osborne's called for further posterity's some of you counted the


cost we came to how far the BBC should go in pursuit of aerial


shots of Westminster. One viewer asked was there any need for the


helicopter shots of a man in a grey suit getting into the car? How much


did that cost? Another viewer agreed, why was it necessary to


have deployed a film group in a helicopter? What purpose did it


serve and what cost? Then there was the substance of the statement to


be reported on and a round of the radio and television interviews for


George Osborne. Some of you felt he had a rough ride. A question coming


in, how has the recession affected you personally? That is one that


bugs people. This notion that we're all in it together. Has anything


changed in Europe lifestyle? Has anything gone? Have you felt it in


any tangible way? I took a pay cut and froze my pay on taking this job


to take up from the previous Labour Chancellor. That was in order to


show that politicians will not get away with it. But understand that


people on lower incomes are having a tough time. There is a challenge


with the cost of living for many families. Well one viewer was not


happy with that interview. If ever there was a spiteful question, this


was. Why have a go at him personally when he is just doing


his job? Another folk the balance of coverage was wrong. I get fed up


with the BBC stress in the cuts and austerity programme which has to be


followed to get the country back to a credible position. Another said,


coverage is weighted towards the fact that George Osborne has not


been able to meet his projected targets. The inference being that


he is a miserable failure. And the tax affairs now of Amazon,


Starbucks and Google had been in the news. Starbucks under pressure


after revelations about how they avoided paying corporation tax, has


now announced it will pay more UK tax. Some of you don't reports were


unfair. One viewer asked one will anyone realise the problem is with


the laws passed by MPs and not with these companies. And another


pointed out that many companies have a significant turnover but


make no profit and so do not have to pay corporation tax. Another


said the coverage from Newsnight was superficial and hopes that,


Newsnight has not lost its self confidence to tackle these


challenging issues. It did not contain any new information. And


finally, a classic story. This was running on the BBC news channel, a


New Zealand charity that has taught rescue dogs to drive. One viewer


was not happy. How ridiculous to give airtime to driving docks. Stop


wasting money. That is all they have time for this week. Thank you


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