26/07/2013 Newswatch


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Now it is time for cap toggle News watch. This week, a certain birth


Welcome to News watch with me semi-Ahmed. News this week might


depend on what you call news. Did the BBC's coverage of the royal


birth spent too long just waiting for something to happen? And did it


convey a mood of national celebration or just help to


The wait was long, the anticipation intense, but from the time on Monday


morning when the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour, the BBC


News machine along with the rest of the media devoted large amounts of


airtime to this. Some breaking news for you, we are going straight to St


Mary's Hospital in London to join our royal reporter Nicholas


Witchell, it might give you a clue. Plenty more to come from here of


course. None of it news, because that will come from Buckingham


Palace, but that will not stop us. This is really a moment in history,


and looking at that huge crowd now collecting here outside the


forecourt, waiting for the formal announcement to arrive will stop I


can tell you the Duchess of Cambridge has been delivered of a


son. You and I are both on our knees so we can avoid getting people in


shock, but that means we are probably the first people to be on


our knees as the young prince comes out. How appropriate !What you


think is going on behind the doors? I have been trying to avoid


speculating for 48 hours, but I am asking pure speculation. Here they


Any birth, particularly a royal one, is the cue for an outpouring of joy


and approval. Terry Hazell permits which was full of both, e-mailing, I


know you are likely to receive a number of complaints about the


amount of time spent covering the in, thousands of them, including


and proportionate, or more like the madness of Prince George? I'm joined


by two viewers who got in touch with us, Dave Edwards in Tunbridge Wells


and Jill Lord in Oxford. With me in the studio is Sam Taylor, the


controller of the BBC News Channel. First, Dave, what was your concern?


I felt the BBC News coverage of the royal birth on Monday can really


best be summed up by one of your news reporters, who stated, here is


the news. There is no news. There was a lot of foreign media there,


and quite clearly, I doubt very much if in their countries they were


providing the kind of wall to wall coverage of essentially a no news


item. Exactly what is the viewer to gain from seeing multiple views of a


closed court? Door? Or the repeated background facts and figures that to


be honest, are not part of a news programme. Dave's comment is typical


of thousands we got, which is too much coverage would not enough news.


Three facts in three days: In labour, baby born, name. What with


the justification between those facts? It was a unique day on


Monday. It was a large story which there was the large amount of


interest in around the world and in the UK, and it is not entirely fair


to say we had endless coverage. We reported a range of other news


stories. Some people came to the news channel more often than they


might and an average day, and therefore got regular updates as the


day progressed. He said, at this point, there is no news. That is a


light-hearted reflection, but we know from our audience figures a lot


of people tuned in to catch up with events. Gill, what do you think?


agree with Dave. For me, the low point of reporting was on Tuesday,


when I watched the news channel and you did not move from outside the


Lindo Wing, so poor Nicholas Witchell was having once again to


keep repeating himself. When we tuned in to Breakfast, the Duke


Duchess of Cambridge had gone into hospital, but they were not going to


update you on the labour through the day, but Nicholas Witchell was


speech every ten minutes, so he just kept repeating the same thing on and


on. There was no news there. Certainly keep it in the headlines,


but not that amount of coverage. People think you have made a


decision to deploy, and therefore you are trying to justify having


people in these places when nothing is going on. Just to talk


specifically about Tuesday, we were happily reporting on the news at


that time, things like the Pope, Prince Charles comes out of the


hospital to speak to the media after visiting his new grandson, and at


that point, he says you will see him in a minute. In that sense, us and


the rest of the world's media had no option but to wait and see what


happened at that point. How long was it? About an hour. We were given


several warnings it was imminent. What is interesting is, over that


hour, our audience built continuously to reach a point where


on the news channel at the point they came out of the door, more than


two million people were watching. Some complaints said they found the


tone to fawning, even sycophantic. suppose that is a question, but I


think Simon McCoy was very careful to reflect the BLT and some of the


range of views were there. Peter Hunt and Nicholas Witchell were also


very measured and how they talk. The other thing we did was, once the key


events had taken place, we made a of views. We spoke to the boss of


Republic, which campaigns against the monarchy. That was controversial


from the other side. I Wonga if there is a sense that because there


was concern over the tone of the coverage, I Tuesday there was a


sense that we had better get some Republicans on. No, I think you have


to cover events as they happen. You can't debate what an event means


that the nation until it is fully happen, so after the birth, we were


happy to draw on several voices who had a different view, both on the


coverage itself and on the way that we covered it and the what it meant


the monarchy. Dave, convinced? am not. I know we are taught you


about one story over two days, but in context, we have had a year's


worth of silver jubilee celebrations, a year's worth, which


we are still halfway through, of the 60th anniversary of the Coronation,


nine months of has Kate got a bomb or not? I sure we are now heading


into a toddler two years. At some point, the BBC needs to look at all


that content of the Royal family, all of its contents such as this,


and whether it is actually informing, inviting a reasoned and


balanced debate, and to be honest, representing the views of people in


Bucklebury, not the views of the nation. Jill, you asked about


deployment of resources and where the BBC had reporters. Yes, on


Monday, or Tuesday, reporters were outside the hospital, in


Bucklebury, on Anglesey, outside Kensington Palace and Buckingham


Palace. Bucklebury is the village where Kate was born, and Anglesey


where the family is based. I know, but on Anglesey, there was nothing


there to report. Similarly at Bucklebury. They interviewed some


people who obviously, once the baby had been born, work were glad to


raise toast, but the next morning, the News reported the village had


been celebrating all night, and the evidence was an interview with a few


primary school children. It just seems to be manufacturing news when


it was not there. I think it is important to reflect how people


respond to the story, and that is why were in some other locations.


But she is saying those locations did not have a story there was


height to justify being there. think Bucklebury is a reasonable


location to be in. It is now where Prince George has gone to stay for


the next few days, so in advance, speaking to people who knew the


family, I think that was relevant. But I think one aborted thing is, in


the end, this is two days of coverage on a major story of


historic significance in Britain, the third in line to the throne, and


one that has happened, we moved on to report that the stories. I


understand the concern to some extent about the scale of the


coverage, but for many others, it was a day when people really wanted


to hear what was going on. Thank you to Sam Taylor, and thank you to


Just time before we go for a brief round-up of other topics you have


been having your say on, starting with Wednesday's train crash in


Spain. As the death toll rose, some complaints came into, including this


complaints came into, including this death of two teenage girls in a


river in Tyne & Wear. The bodies of both girls, Toni-Beth Purvis and


Chloe Fowler have been recovered from the River Wear. Our reporter is


therefore is now. What Danny Savage was wearing prompted a call to


off the air August, but keep sending as your views. We will read them all


and feature some on the programme when we return. You can contact us


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