15/02/2013 Newswatch


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A That's the news, now on BBC News it's time for Newswatch with Samira


Ahmed. This week some viewers complain that too many BBC


journalists were sent to Rome for the Pope's resignation, with others


saying the horsemeat scandal has Welcome to the programme. On this


week's programme: tonight at 10pm, we are in Rome where Pope Benedict


has unexpectedly announced his resignation.


What were we doing in Rome. What is she doing on a Welsh


country lane in the dark? One viewer begs BBC News to drop


the dead horse. Is it scaremongering over horsemeat?


When word came through on Monday morning, that Pope Benedict XVI


became the first pope in 600 years to resign, the BBC News operation


leapt into action. The story dominated the day and much of the


week on the BBC News Channel. Lots of reporters were all reporting


from the Vatican, supplementing the corporation's Rome-based


journalists. By Monday night, Huw Edwards had a right to present the


news at Ten, during which he talked to Europe Editor, Gavin Ewart. But


a viewers wondered what his presence added to the coverage. To


discuss these reactions I'm joined by the editor of the news at six


and the News at Ten and his deputy head of the BBC News room. And then


joined by our Blackburn studio by a viewer. John, what was your


reaction about the Pope's resignation? Very quickly the


reporting moved away from the statement the Pope had given, too


much more speculation and conjecture about the future. It did


not call for comments from other guests in the studio on the Pope's


legacy. But mainly -- what he would be caught in the future after he


steps down, and what relationship he might have with his successor.


You had a real concern about how many people were flying in to cover


the story? There was Huw Edwards on Monday. Jon Sopel was reporting


live from St Peter's Square on Tuesday. Handing over to Matthew


Price with a background piece on the Vatican issues. Followed by a


piece with Gavin Hewitt interviewing one of the African


cardinals, partly in the frame as a possible successor. It just seemed


to assume a sensational, dramatic dynamic story, which it really


wasn't. It was historic, but many questions remain to be answered.


Let me put some of back to James Stevens and. These issues come up


again and again, they feel they do not need someone standing outside a


building when there's nothing developing on a story? There are


viewers who don't like to see that and we like to recognise that and


we build that into the thinking on whether or not to deploy. The scale


of this story, I don't think anyone is in any real doubt about the


magnitude of the story. It is not often you can say something is


happening of major significance in 600 years. One of the tests we


applied on whether or not we will present from a location is the


magnitude of the story. In this case, it was clear cut. You have


two specialist correspondents who are based there full-time. The


Vatican is the one place away you'll not find out anything,


standing outside that building? do have very good correspondence in


Rome, Alan Johnston, and David Wyllie, who is a long-time watcher


of these events. When a huge story of this kind happens, the quantity


and demands of output wraps up beyond O-level a local bureau, even


a well-staffed one, can support. How much does it cost to send Huw


Edwards for couple of days? Not a great deal. He went on easyJet from


Gatwick. It is not a hugely expensive things. The challenges of


reporting a big and breaking story were illustrated on Thursday


morning, when the South African Paralympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius,


was arrested at his home in Pretoria on suspicion of murder.


One of our viewers e-mailed us and I think this does connect with what


we were talking about the Vatican. Nothing was happened fouls, and


there was a crime story in South Africa. It is not true to say


nothing was happening. We have the dramatic news a shooting had


occurred at Oscar Pistorius Kostelic house. And we have the


bare bones what the police were confirming about that, an incident


had taken place. Quickly, we had the South African police giving a


press conference, which we carried live on the news channel. That gave


a substantial amount of information about what seemed to have taken


place. It is not really the case there wasn't a lot of hard fact,


but quite rapidly if there was quite a lot of hard facts. John


Mitchell, we were talking about this idea over speculation been


part of the news channel's coverage, and also the magnitude of stories


like the Pope's resignations. Do you understand just a vocation for


sending and the length of coverage? I don't quite accept that there was


a need for Huw Edwards to be in Rome, with the other European


correspondents and locally-based people, to add to the story. He


could not add to a story which had basically petered out. We knew


everything by about 2pm. John Mitchell, and Jayne Stevenson.


Thanks very much. -- James Stevenson.


Let us know your thoughts on that by any aspects on BBC News.


Now for some of your other concerns. The row over horsemeat found in


beef products continues to get plenty of air time. Experts agree


there is a serious issue of Ms labelling, contamination and a


criminal investigation is under way. Even though it has been revealed


the animal painkiller, bute may have entered the food chain, it


constitutes a low risk to humans and some viewers felt there has


been an element of hype in the coverage. One viewer was one of


In that context, there has been much mention of the food standards


agency. At the start of the news channel bulletin on Sunday morning.


But this view has spotted something Sunday night saw the annual big


night out for the British film industry. As the stars arrived in


the rain, a film critic joined Jayne Hill on the red carpet


discussing Sky for and the other contenders for all wards. It is


essentially a straw dogs in a Scottish house. I think they did a


brilliant job, and in that category it is hard to court. My vote would


be Sky fall, because it did something nobody expected to do


with James Bond, except reinvent it. About an hour-and-a-half of red


carpet coverage, and later the ceremony was shown on BBC One just


after the ceremony had taken place. So it you check the BBC website,


Jayne Hill had spoiled another surprise for those who had not seen


Sky fall, by revealing a major plot twist. And that came up in an


interview conducted on the Andrew Marr Show last weekend by Sophie


Raworth with the actress Judi Dench. We put that point to the Andrew


Finally, Huw Edwards may have been sent to Rome, but Sian Lloyd had a


cold or assignment, appearing just after 6am at side of food


processing plants in Wales. I am in the middle of a countryside near


Aberystwyth. This country lane leads to the meat processing plant.


Thanks for the suggestion. A weekly award it might be boring, but when


a viewer's thing such a prize should be awarded, we would try to


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