10/01/2014 Newswatch


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the United States. Now it is time for News watch. This


week, reporting on the recent floods and storms. Hello and welcome to


Newswatch. Storms and flood battered Britain and BBC correspondence also.


That weather report provided a public service but puts journalists


and others in danger. The verdict Mark Duggan had not been


unlawfully killed by police, arouses anger including some of the BBC's


reporting of the case. Happy New Year... A freshly shaven


Jeremy Paxman returns to our screens.


It was a wild, wet and windy Christmas and New Year for many and


the floods continue in many parts of the country. Over the past three


weeks, BBC correspondence have been out in the worst of the weather. The


majority of the houses on this stretch of the Thames are adapted to


cope with something like these conditions.


For those that are not, there has been a disaster. But the rest of the


community, they said it is as bad as anything they can remember since


2003 and they are finding improvised ways of getting in and out. The


water is coming over again today because the flood defences cannot


cope with such ferocious weather. It is quite serious in terms of the


storm surge coming ashore. It is hitting any minute now. You can see


the force of the water as it is coming over. Breaking against the


shore front and it is causing flooding to the roads. Some viewers


felt showing reporters in such apparently dangerous locations was


irresponsible and one viewer object specifically to the last of those


clips we showed. He went into our Falkirk studio to describe his


reaction. I was so surprised and appalled by the pictures, that I


shouted to my wife, " come and look at this". Because it looked such a


stupid thing to do. A reporter was on the seafront in what was clearly


a gale and torrential rain with water breaking over a wall very


close to him. This seemed to be irresponsible, particularly when the


channel had been all day, emphasising the emergency services


saying, is your journey really necessary? It has got to be


essential if you have got to go out in this water. Keep away from the


sea fronts. The advice is to keep away from the coastline. You cannot


send out a message one minute and then ignore it the next. That is


what it seemed to me. And perhaps that was proved right at Aberystwyth


later when students were crowding onto the front. And it is not a good


idea to encourage people sending in their pig Jews when they may go to


extreme lengths to get good pictures. I am not saying it should


never happen, but there are certain circumstances where things are


clearly more dangerous than others. This was a dangerous situation it


seemed to me. Gary Smith, the BBC's UK news editor


joins me now. You are responsible for deploying many of the reporters.


That particular scene in Scotland, it just looked really reckless,


reporting from the seafront and it looks dangerous? I am glad you have


given me the chance to explain that we take safety incredibly seriously


when we are deploying any reporters and news teams around the country.


That particular clip in Scotland, when the team arrived they assessed


the depth of the water and found a location with slightly higher


ground, protect it by a hedge, that you could not see in front of the


shot. It is not just the producer, there is a cameraman watching the


weather as it changes and develops. On that occasion they had to


policeman as well who they consulted with beforehand who said they could


go there. I kept watching throughout the whole broadcast. It is partly a


matter of instinct. You look at that and it does look like you cannot


predict what will crash over the sea wall. As the viewer was saying, at a


time when the public were told to stay away from the sea fronts, this


seemed to be contradict hurry? They chose their location very carefully.


It can look dramatic, the scene behind the reporter. But they always


choose a position where they are out of danger's way. Even before they


get there they have taken advice from the Environment Agency, from


local authorities, the police about the scene they will encounter and


what the weather is like. Everybody has safety training on the BBC


before they go out to report. The cameraman, producers and the


reporters undergo a course of training before they go out of the


building. Every journalist gets issued with the journalism safety


guide which details all sorts of situations they might come across


and it includes a whole page on the dangers of flooding. You are happy


everybody behaved responsibly, nobody took any unnecessary risks


from what you saw and what viewers have complained about? All my


reporters are careful that when they go out they don't take unnecessary


risks. They assessed the situation on the ground and take advice from


professionals. It is important for them to do the job they are doing to


tell the viewers what is happening. Can you tell the challenges in


deploying on a story like this because events were changing very


quickly, it was a very large geographical spread. How did you


deploy on this? You will have seen in the extent of our coverage, there


is a use of the BBC helicopter. There are certain parts of the


country we cannot get to or are too dangerous to get to on the ground.


The best way of telling the story is from above. The places we do go to,


we talk to the weather team about where the weather will be


particularly bad and choose appropriate locations. Where is the


balance for news coverage in reporting what has happening, here


is flooding and you see reporters awaiting around, and giving more


predict of information about rising tides and weather information and


information people would use to plan? It is a bit of both. Our job


is to report the news as it happens. But with weather stories, people are


interested if the flooding is getting worse in their area. We put


a bit of that in as well. We try to leave the forecasting to weather


experts so we're not giving contradictory information. How much


emphasis should be given to the issue of climate change and its role


in extreme weather conditions? It was mentioned after a few days, but


there was some disagreement about whether the BBC was giving it the


prominence it should have? What are experts in the science team always


say is these climate change things are different. It is something that


happens over many years, so you cannot read too much into climate


change. Thank you so much. We welcome your thoughts on what you


heard and on any aspect on BBC News. Details on how to contact us at the


end of the programme. Starting now with reaction to the


coverage of the Mark Duggan inquest. The verdict that the 29-year-old,


whose shooting by police sparked riots in London in 2011 had not been


unlawfully killed came as a surprise and the disappointment and anger


felt by his friends and family, was fully reflect it on BBC News. Too


much for hundreds of viewers who did complain.


Following the Prime Minister's announcement at the weekend that the


state pension will rise by 2.5% a year, if the Conservatives win the


next election, the subject has remained in the news all week.


Increasing the state pension will benefit all pensioners, including


some who are already enjoying comfortable lifestyles. And it will


have to be paid for by those who are working.


But the image and language used elsewhere and on BBC News annoyed


viewers such as this who wrote: Finally, beards are rarely seen on


television, particularly on the face of news and current affairs


presenters. But that changed, Newsnight gets on a lot these days,


usually it's presenters dressing up or dancing. This is about Jeremy


Paxman growing a beard. Everyone got used to it and the fuss died down.


This week, he appeared to present clean-shaven and the media were


alerted by in an interview in the Radio Times. The presenter told the


magazine beards are 2013. Debates raged cross media outlets and made a


feature on the BBC News website. There were 11 stories about his


beard on the website on Friday. 20 of viewers tweeted about that. --


plenty of viewers. Why don't you tell us what you think


is so 2014 about BBC News in a good or a bad way. You can contact us on:


That is all from us, we will be back to hear your thoughts about ABC news


coverage again next week. Goodbye. Rain is making its way across


England and Wales at the moment. Showers across Scotland and Northern


Ireland and then as we move into the night, temperatures will come down.


Ice will be our next talking point as we look at the weather moving


into Saturday morning. Most of the ice


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