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Hello and welcome to News watch. What priority should BBC News the
giving to foreign stories such as the activities of Boko Haram in
Nigeria. We are walking into Cabo city. John Simpson, who has covered
the globe for many years gives is his view.
And he looks back at what has changed for better or worse since
BBC television news started, 60 years ago.
The range of the BBC's international journalists is unrivalled amongst
British media organisations. But how often they appear on our screen
reporting from far`flung countries divide viewers. Putting as a top
story as `` and African Union story to eradicate child marriage and
brought brickbats as well as bouquets.
We will be raising that with world affairs editor John Simpson. We will
also be seeking his perspective on some of the changes BBC News has
undergone since its first transmission 60 years ago next
month. This is what it looked like on the 5th of July 1954.
Moving pictures were at a premium and the graphics had a craft table
feel about them. The newsreader, Richard Baker, was a disembodied
voice for fear that his appearance would give away his views and
threaten the appearance of neutrality. After a few weeks, the
BBC did allow a presenter to be seen on screen. It started a process of
personality presenting which has gone too far for some. For some
time, the style remains safe and highly deferential. And now we are
going to show you a film of some of the main stages in this great day.
The relationship between broadcasters and politicians has got
much more spiky since then and not everybody is in favour of that.
Princess Margaret has followed a weekend in Yorkshire... There was
not much visual about television in the 1950s. Now, output is at least
partly differential `` driven by the availability of pictures which for
some has been taken to extremes. What else has changed? To cover
international events like the Hungarian uprising of 1956, a film
crew might have had to disappear for weeks before returning home with out
of date footage. This did not deter foreign correspondents like Martin
Bell from taking considerable risks as he did in Vietnam. The BBC has
just liberated the place! By the time John Simson reported from Cabo,
technological advances have made broadcasting much more immediate if
not necessarily more safe. Developers in transmitting kit made
possible last week's trip to the extreme north`east of Nigeria. The
look of news and the way it engages viewers has come a long way. What
has been gained and lost? John Simpson is with me now.
We do get complaints from those who feel there is too much news from
abroad. Also those who think we don't get enough from regions like
Latin America? How do you think it has changed over the years and is
there more trouble getting some more international stories on? People
always complain about exactly the same things, going back 50 years.
Too much foreign news, as if it has nothing to do with us. Which seems
to me dopey in a world as interconnected as ours. Too much
political news, as though politics doesn't affect us. But I believe in
news, it is my raison d'etre. Some people were very nostalgic for the
old way of news writing, deferential to politicians. I could not bear
that! My first day as a reporter in 1978, I got punched in the stomach
for daring to ask Harold Wilson a question about when you would call
an election. He punched me in the stomach, trying to wrestle the
microphone out of my hand. I was working for radio. The world's press
were there because they were waiting for an announcement and nobody, not
one of the newspapers, not one of the television cameras, used these
pictures. I looked at my watch afterwards, I was gossiping and it
was 10:50 a.m.. I thought, I have lost my job and I have been
assaulted by the Prime Minister and it is only my first morning at work!
What difference has technology made? People used together with a
big film crew and you are out of touch for weeks and then you had to
come back with your footage and edit it. You can now fly in and start
costing immediately, is that better? It is different. There is no doubt
that in terms of the actuality of telling people what is going on,
things are far better now. By the time you have worked your way to a
place that you can get your film processed and sent it back, usually
by plane to London, everything had changed. By the time ago broadcast.
Now, you can be right up with events as they come along. But that means
you don't know where the events are going, you are in as much of a
quandary about what is happening, and what is going to happen, as
everybody else. What have you made of the impact of 24`hour news. It
can put pressure on correspondence to start filing immediately. Perhaps
it is all chatter and no inside? Do you think there is pressure on
journalists to start talking as soon as they land? Yes. I don't do it
because I am old enough and ugly enough to be able to say no, I will
find out what has happened and what the name of the place I am in is,
before I start telling everybody what is going on. Not everybody is
in that position. Yes, I think we have got a lot of games from being
able to have instant news. `` we have a lot of advantages from it. It
has opened up the world, changed our politics. But I'm a little nostalgic
for the days when you could have time to think about what you were
saying. Do you feel that reporters are under pressure and there has
been a cost? Oh, yes. Precisely. They are under huge pressure and
there is a big cost. The cost is simply not being able to think about
you are saying. Just to get it out. That wonderful character in
privatised who is `` in Private Eye who is the 24`hour news
correspondent. We are talking on the anniversary of the massacre in the
square in China. How does that feel for a correspondent like you, who
tries to report what they saw? Would not have been thinking about Taman
Square after 25 years if it were not for reporting. I am proud of mice
colleagues and `` I'm proud of the stuff my colleagues and I did that.
The man standing in front of a tank. It is a reality check which
government is not always enthusiastic about. John Simpson,
thank you very much. Before we go, time for a couple of
other comments. The end has been dominated by commemorations of D`Day
Landings. On Thursday, the eve of the anniversary, there was a
broadcast from the Pegasus Bridge, on the French coast. Not everything
went smoothly with the BBC coverage. What a key moment! You are watching,
disappearing behind intent, and 89`year`old. Later on, the veterans
were parachuted in with the aid of the red Devils.
`` the red arrows. Finally, what are news plugs,
promotions for other programmes on the news? Monday's early evening
programme contained two examples. An item about Jimmy Savile derived from
a Panorama examination which was followed by a Trail free programme
that evening. Then a story about David Beckham's journey into the
annals on. `` into the Amazon. Thank you for all your comments this
week. If you want to share your opinions on BBC news on current
affairs or even appear on the programme, call us. Or e`mail. You
can find us on twitter as well. On our website, you can search for and
view pew `` previous discussions. We will be back to hear your thoughts
on BBC news coverage again next Friday.
A cracking end the day for most areas but tomorrow, a humid day in