06/12/2013 Newswatch


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Dimbleby. Now it is time for Newswatch with Samira Ahmed.


fight for freedom resented by David Dimbleby. Now it is This week, the


BBC's Director of News response to complaints that coverage of Nelson


Mandela's death was at the expense of crucial updates on the east coast


of the UK. Welcome to Newswatch. of the UK. Welcome to Newswatch


The death of Nelson Mandela on as was going to be a big story but on


the night of the worst storm surge first 60 years and flooding on the


East, did the BBC get its priorities right? James Harding, Director of


News, is here to answer complaints and to discuss plans for the future


of news coverage. David Cameron called him a hero of our time.


Barack Obama paid tribute to his unbending will. The Queen described


his legacy as the peaceful South Africa we see today. The death of


Nelson Mandela was major news will stop BBC One interrupted programmes


and extended the news is time. Good evening. Nelson Mandela, the father


of Whaddon South Africa has died at the age of 95. He was a freedom


fighter who became a global president, carrying the hopes and


freedom of his people. `` the father of modern South Africa. Meanwhile, a


huge storm hit parts of eastern England with thousands of people


forced to evacuate their homes. Thousands of complaints were


received from viewers that the coverage of the death of Mandela was


in spite of the developing situation. One viewer wrote...


The headlines on BBC News: I have been discussing those points


with the BBC's Director of News He I have been discussing those points


with the BBC's Director of News. He with the BBC's Director of News. He


joined the corporation in August and outlined his priorities to staff in


a speech. I have been talking to him about rebuilding the reputation of


BBC news since the Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpine scandals. First, the


prioritisation of the death of Nelson Mandela was wrong. I'm sorry


if people believed we did not inform them fully what was happening with


the weather in the north`east. The decision`making was around the


importance of Nelson Mandela, probably the most important


statesman of the last 100 years and a man who has defined freedom and


justice and reconciliation and forgiveness so the importance of his


life and marking his death seemed extremely clear to others. In


addition, there is a lot of news which is rolling so you see


President Obama come out and make comments, David Cameron making


comments, the BBC managed to get FW de Klerk. Could you not have put


more of the comments online and put more information about the flooding


at the top of the bulletins? I completely take your point about the


weather. What's happening closest to where people live matters


enormously. We had been producing coverage from early in the day,


especially when storms were at their strongest. If we had seen news where


we needed to inform people immediately, we would have done so.


We used local radio and online for the weather. I thought for BBC


life, we were telling people as they switched on the news and came home


that President Nelson Mandela, a man of particular significance had died.


This is your first interview since taking over as Director of News,


This is your first interview since taking over as Director of News you


taking over as Director of News, you said you want to see more


investigative reporting but after the disasters of Jimmy Savile and


Lord McAlpine reporting, what will be different? I was trying to see


that there were people after the Lord McAlpine stories said the BBC


should stand back from that kind of thing. My view is that is not


correct will stop you cannot ask licence payers to support a


journalist organisation and expect them to be satisfied if we do not


investigate what is really going on. In order to do that, too


uncovered those stories and examine the world we live in, we need to do


a couple of things. We need to make sure that anyone who gets hold of


the story has the time to investigate it properly and get a


sense of what it means. In practical terms, within the BBC, that means


giving people time and making sure that local radio stations, regional


TV stations and the World Service bureau is properly staffed to enable


that to happen. Secondly, we have tried to make sure that as we look


across BBC News, our local news output and our global output is


plugged into the national news so we can identify stories and bring them


to the widest possible audiences. The BBC has to make cuts, it also


says it will be cutting bureaucracy yet you have created three new


senior management posts, is that not a contradiction? The cost pressures


on this BBC are significant. Do we just keep cutting off a piece here


and there ordinary try to structure BBC News in order to deliver the


best programmes and bulletins and start thinking about the future If


you look at what has happened in the BBC over the last four years, we


have been cutting senior management within BBC News by about 30%. I


should say, this is a large news organisation, large amounts of money


are spent and it is important they are well managed. So you need those


three new managers? Absolutely. I hope they will do a fantastic job.


He worked at the times, report Murdoch is known to be critical of


the BBC, what is your view now? I know journalists are not known for


their consistency, but I was consistent before I left the times,


I had written an opinion piece in the paper saying that the BBC, not a


fashionable view, was up `` was the best in the view for what it does. I


have happy I said that. You will know the corporation is often


accused of showing bias, especially left`wing bias, do you think there's


a problem? No, I do not. If you look at any other news organisation, they


do not have nearly the requirements as a result of the regulatory


structure nor the culture which says, we are here to be impartial.


We really strive to be impartial. We need to be alive to criticism and


others. We need to listen to what our viewers say. They can make as


more alert about ways in which, often it is not the stories, but it


is the stories we are not covering enough. Being alert to criticism is


helpful and powerful. I have found a journalistic organisation like no


other which strives to be impartial and that is important. The biggest


complaint we get at Newswatch is that BBC bosses do not come on the


programme often enough. We are delighted you are on, but could you


give us an undertaking that BBC bosses will come on more regularly?


I really will try to do that. I think it is really important. Not


only are we accountable and responsive, this has been a


chastening conversation for me as well. I am thinking how do we make


sure we make the right judgements. For everyone who comes on and


answers your questions and those of our viewers, it is very helpful


thing and I hope it makes the BBC and accountable. Thank you very


much. Some of your other comments before we go.


On Wednesday, Nigella Lawson's appearance at the trial of her


former assistant took top billing and appeared in the headlines that


evening. John Jenkins was one of 70 who complains... `` one of more than


70 who complained. There were complaints earlier in the


wake of another celebrity's private life being given too much attention


after the Olympic diver Tom Daley posted a video online revealing he


was in a relationship with the man. Many viewers were dumbfounded as to


why it provoked interest. Finally, this week's Autumn


Statement from the Chancellor. Explaining what, located budget


calculations means is not easy but some viewers felt Robert Peston


simplified things too much. Thanks for all your comments this


week. If you want to share your opinions or appear on the programme,


collars on this number... Or e`mail as. `` call others.


`` call us. We will be back to hear your thoughts next week. Goodbye.


Good evening. There has been quite a temperature contrast across the


country, called in Scotland and mild in the south`west. This continues


this evening. We will see some rain and snow showers in Scotland.


Potentially freezing rain across Scotland and northern England. But


milder down to the south, temperatures are above freezing.


This cold continues through much of Scotland. The milder air gradually


heads north but will not reach the Shetland Isles. There will


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