21/03/2014 Newswatch


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contribution. Time for a look at coverage by the


BBC of the budget. Hello and welcome to Newswatch. A welter of


statistics, claims and counterclaims over this year's budget. We look at


how impartial and comprehensible the BBC's economic coverages and... Not


a lot going on in that studio. Did no one from the News Channel notice


for nearly four minutes? The battered red box, the on the spot


analysis from economic and political editors, the reaction from so`called


ordinary families around the country. Wednesday's news was


dominated by all the traditional elements of the Budget. Have you any


rabbits in that box, Chancellor? The answer was yes and for once it had


not leagues. He knew the message she was taking to the house of, Ms


Russ`macro the House of Commons was falling unemployment and wages for


the first time in years set to rise faster than inflation. George


Osborne. How people responded to what followed may have depended


partly on how it would affect their pockets and on their political


allegiance but at `` but did the BBC maintain impartiality? No, said


Jacqueline. And although the opposite sentiment


was also expressed, that charge of being glass half empty on the


economy has been levelled by others, such as David Ross.


Another recurrent issue with the BBC's coverages whether there is


enough explanation of complex economic concepts and terms. One


anonymous viewer for not. To respond to all those points I'm


joined by the head of the BBC's business and economics unit. Thank


you for coming on Newswatch. It seems there is a politically lowly


strong political tone to every bit of economic news and we get more


complaints, saying they feel the BBC is too negative about how it reports


these items. What is your view? Our job is to give people the context,


to explain the background and provide them with the best analysis


we can and we do that through the facts and sourcing expert opinion


and providing them with as much detail as we can about how these


issues affect their lives. So on incomes for example, or job


security, and jobs growth, so it is not our job to talk about whether


the Budget is positive or negative, it is to make sense of it for people


so they can have answers to difficult questions as they judge


what decisions to make about their futures. Things like pension reform,


people think it is not as relevant to a lot of younger people, who


don't have the kind of pensions that people in their 40s and 50s do, that


every issue like employment has a negative side, which is thinking


about what will happen to interest rates of employment is going? Our


purpose is to provide us broader perspective as we can, to seek as


many different views as we cannot provide audiences with the answer is


that they think `` that we think they are asking. We also do it on


the website and if you look at the way the web coverage was consumed on


Wednesday in particular and again on Thursday, with some of the questions


and answers that were done, they were consumed in great numbers.


Equally, on phone`ins like five live, they did phone`ins with the


pensions minister to answer questions, Robert Peston was doing a


question and answer on Facebook. What difference do they make to the


range of information people get? How much do they really add? It is


trying to access audiences in different ways and ask questions in


different contexts. Those opportunities have been valuable. We


have done it on Twitter in the past. We are trying to allow me new ways


to allow audiences to contact us to get the benefit of our expertise,


secure in the knowledge it is hopefully impartial coverage. Our


research suggests audiences turned the BBC when they want impartial


coverage, in ever greater numbers as they did. Some of these new ways of


reaching them have been invaluable. Tell me more about competence


ability. We heard a complaint about people who feel there is a lot of


jargon and date and it is not always explained to them. We strive to make


it compensable. If you hear jargon term in a news bulletin. Such as


GDP? You should hear it explained, what it means, so you should never


hear the term GDP in isolation without instant explanation of


growth in the economy. That is something we have taken to heart,


particularly as interest in the economy has remained at high levels


since the crisis five or six years ago. We are trying to make sure we


explain terms. In the pension reform on Wednesday, we made sure to always


explain what an annuity was, a defined contribution scheme was, the


specific areas of interest that we knew they would be asking questions


about, we tried to give as much clarity in the answers as we could.


Thank you for coming on Newswatch. You had plenty of other things to


get off your chest is this week. Time to mention a few of them. The


saga of the missing Malaysian airliner has continued to make


headlines, notably this incident in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.


Distressed Chinese relatives, trying to complain about the lack of


information to journalists outside a news conference, were dragged away


by security guards. Afterwards correspond in Jonah Fisher tried to


find out why. Can you, excuse me sir, why are you not allowing the


relatives to speak to us? Why are you not allowing the relatives to


speak to us? Excuse me, why are you not allowing the relatives to speak


to us, sir? OK, no comment? It is a bit strange, isn't it? They wanted


to speak to us. Ansa came their norm. A fall number of viewers felt


uncomfortable at the way the situation was handled. Gareth


Crosthwaite disgusted. Earlier in the week Rupert


Wingfield`Hayes pursued a different angle on the missing plane, finding


out how to change a flight path in a cockpit stimulator. In a simulated


today, it took me just a few minutes to learn how to navigate and to


change course. O M M L I N. These are waypoints, and insert? And now


the plane is heading, it is turning towards the new wage point. It is as


simple as that. Or is it? Tom, an Airbus captain, writing to us said


it is not. Chris Lawrence made a different


point. The BBC's coverage of the debate


over Scottish independence will come under increasing scrutiny as


September's referendum approaches and last Sunday some hackles north


of the border were raised by Andrew Marr's interview with the first


Minister, Alex Salmond. After some discussion about European


president's Jose Manuel Barroso's view that it would be difficult for


an independent Scotland to join the EU, the presenter asked this. You


are but then I think it would be hard to get back in, I have to say,


but let's move on to Theresa May. Sorry, can I just examine that for a


second, Andrew? This is what the Andrew Marr analysis, as opposed


to... Having talked to the Secretary`General. Is that ended the


big `` is that an individual expression? I have no views on this,


nor does the BBC. I was reflecting what Mr Barroso said. You gave your


opinion. Not everyone accepted Andrew Marr's explanation, with one


viewer leaving us this phone message. I think Andrew Marr was out


of order and on Sunday in his programme. He doesn't have the right


to comment on whether Scotland would be accepted into the EU or not. I


think the way he handled Alex Salmond was an absolute disgrace and


I think it is high time the BBC took a look at itself and thought to


itself, whose side am I on here? In a statement BBC News defended the


interview, reiterating that... Finally, if you were watching the


news channel at about 9:55pm on Monday evening, you would have seen


the weather bulletin interrupted. Weather fronts are mainly active


off. For almost four minutes nothing else was seen. All that could be


heard was the clicking noise of a computer keyboard and a few


off`camera words from Huw Edwards, preparing for the News at Ten. Paul


Thorpe was unimpressed. We asked what went wrong that night


and were told. Thanks for all your comments this


week. You can share your opinions on BBC News and current affairs.


Have a look at our website for previous discussions. We will be


back to hear your thoughts about BBC News coverage again next week.


Goodbye. Good evening. It was a cool,


blustery and showery end to the week and that's how we will get on into


the weekend as well. Last weekend it was quite warm. This weekend we will


be on the cool side. It was cool and breezy,


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