13/12/2013 Newswatch


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come on that but now it is time for our Newswatch and reaction to the


BBC's Mandela coverage. Welcome to Newswatch. It has been


described as a momentous week but the commemorations following Nelson


Mandela's death warrant so much coverage? Does BBC News coverage


given an unfair advantage to its presenters taken part in Strictly


Come Dancing? And look at the BBC's new online platform documenting


stories trending on social media worldwide but just because we are


talking about it, does that make news? Since the death of Nelson


Mandela last Thursday, South Africa has been commemorating its former


president with a memorial service on Tuesday in Soweto attended by


dignitaries and heads of state and Jews of thousands to see lying in


state. The BBC has broadcast all of these and also Question Time


appeared from South Africa. The BBC will have coverage of his funeral on


Sunday. Well over 2000 viewers have been in contact with various


complaints about the nature and length of the coverage. David


Lavelle had comments typical of many. I thought the coverage was


long and unnecessary. I think the expense must have been enormous and,


having switched the programme of and come back after two or three hours,


it was still on. Eventually, I switched to another channel and


watched the news on that side. It presumes that there was not any


other news going on in the world, just Mandela and South Africa.


Christine Szymanski also add the following concerns.


Mary Hockaday, head of the BBC newsroom joins me now to respond to


those points. The director of news last week said that Mandela was the


most significant statesman of the last century. I want to ask if you


have misjudged the significance of Mandela's death to viewers in the


UK. There are many viewers were different opinions. It is true, we


have had a lot of people getting in touch questioning the coverage we


have done of Nelson Mandela's death and subsequent events. We take these


contacts from audiences and comments into account. We are also evaluating


the news and events in terms of our professional judgement. You are not


listening to what they're saying. They did not want hours and hours of


stadium events were actually there was not anything happen. Why didn't


you just cut back the amount of rolling news and make, say, a


half-hour special of the highlights? There are people who felt it was too


much but at the same time, across the week on our television and radio


coverage, we have had good audiences. We have taken that into


account as well. The stadium event was unusual but there is no doubt


that it was significant as a music event. It is unprecedented still


have. But four hours of an event like that is too much. You could


have recorded it and made a condensed special. Some of our


output is live coverage of live events. Then are other output is


bulletins, where we are making selections. Yes, we reported on that


event but we had room for other news as well. What is the funeral


coverage to be like on Sunday? We will broadcast its life as a live


event. On BBC One and on the news channel. At the same time? That will


depend mix at the time. BBC One is taking it as a scheduled event and


BBC Breakfast will be on BBC Two. The news channel will make its


judgement if it is the most significant event happening at the


time then a good part will be taken. Officer, we will make judgements


with the funeral and other events of the day.


Now, users of the BBC News website may have noticed the recent


appearance of a new platform called BBC Trending which investigates


social media trends around the world. With agreements to explore


what is popular and why, the series has covered stories in text, and


video in a range of serious and not so serious subjects. Such as the


mass hysteria caused by Black Friday and why a racy polish the deal has


had so many views on YouTube? And the Ukrainian protests and a


Croatian same-sex marriage ban. So, where does this leave the BBC's own


editorial responsibility? Richard Pattinson is a commissioning editor


at BBC global news where this was developed. Did you tell us what


exactly this is and what it is for? It is about what is trending on


social media and why. Social media is important as a tool for


journalists in terms of getting information and finding out what


people are talking about and also getting our content out to


audiences. It is also increasingly where audiences are finding our


content. It is about looking at what people are talking about around the


world and applying BBC journalism to decide what an interesting subject


trending and why. We call on our generalists to have like at what


people are talking about and investigated from a journalistic


point of view and report on why it is trending. I have had people


criticising this saying that the BBC is not in the business of just


jumping on whatever is trending. Yes, if we were just running a story


because it was popular. But we have had stories from all over the world,


and the point is bringing stories about what people are talking about


in other countries to our audience globally and here in the UK. There


is a question about BBC editorial responsibility. If you're going for


stories that are trending already because they are interesting but


should you be looking for stories which should be reported just


because they are important? Yes, but it is not just about stories which


are already trending, it is also may about stories that haven't become


news stories yet. But is that really news? I think things that can reveal


the conversations which are going on in the world are absolutely relevant


journalistically and can absolutely be news. We did a story recently


looking at a conversation around mixed sex accommodation around


students in Turkey. It represented the conflict between more liberal


and conservative aspects of Turkish society. That is important. There


was rioting over that recently. Picking up on these trends and


adding journalistic insight is absolutely what we should be doing.


Just time for some of your other comments. One of the week's most


contentious stories has been the decision of IPSA to raise MPs'


salaries. One comment was... There were more complaints of bias


from viewers with regards to BBC Breakfast coverage of its presenter


Susanna Reid who is appearing in stripper come dancing. Many thought


that coverage of her partner Kevin was a step too far.


We asked for a response from BBC Breakfast and they said...


Finally, viewers who tuned into the news channel just before 6pm on


Thursday were treated to this oddity.


# ground control to Major Tom. # not everyone enjoyed this.


Joe Hubbard e-mail... Thank you for all your comments this


week. Do share your opinions on BBC News and current affairs by calling


us or e-mailing us. Or you can tweet and look at our website. That's all


from us, we'll be back next week. A much more chilly and clearer night


across the British Isles. Tomorrow, the story will change quite rapidly


so it is worth keeping up with the forecast if you have plans to get


ahead on your Christmas preparations. A


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