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awards next month. Those are the latest headlines. Now, we will have
a full round-up of the day 's news but before that, news watch...
Coming up, Dame Janet Smith has been looking into how the BBC handled
reports of abuse by Jimmy Savile, but does every news broadcast
on the subject have to feature his grinning face?
And the pay of junior doctors is just one statistic that has been
Does the BBC report the numbers in a clear and impartial way?
The abuse committed by Jimmy Savile and the circumstances surrounding it
have been extremely difficult for the BBC to report
More than three years ago the corporation set up a review
headed by Dame Janet Smith into its culture and practices
This week a draft of the report was leaked and that led
to an objection we have heard before from viewers.
Another fraught issue cropped up again this week
when the Prime Minister again criticised the BBC for referring
to the organisation known as Islamic State rather
Here he is clashing with Sarah Montague
on Monday's Today Programme on Radio 4.
Can I say again that I think Muslim families around the country
would have held their heads in despair this morning when,
once again, you just called it Islamic State.
You didn't even say "so-called" Islamic State.
David Cameron is not the only one who thinks that changing
the terminology is due, as this email from a viewer
One subject we will be hearing a great deal about this year
We won't know until November who is going to be following
President Barack Obama into the White House,
but the business of voting gets going in little over a week
when Republicans and Democrats both hold a caucus in Iowa,
the start of the process of selecting candidates.
This week, the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump received
the endorsement of someone who has been absent from the American
She's still a darling of the Tea Party right
and the evangelical wing of the Republican Party.
But she is gaffe-prone, as was seen when she ran
They say the difference between a hockey mom and pit bull?
You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.
Rather like Donald Trump today, Sarah Palin has always been widely
mocked by sections of the British media.
No, as several viewers pointed out, including Peter Jackson
Numbers are at the heart of much news reporting but their use
is proving increasingly controversial.
Take the disputed figures for what the Government has been
spending on flood defences or its claim that stroke victims
are 20% more likely to die at a weekend, which has been
challenged by some in the medical establishment.
And then there is the argument over how much junior doctors will be paid
under the proposed new contract, which Home Affairs Editor Mark
The Government calculates that three quarters of junior doctors
will actually be better off, many will see no difference at all
They certainly do, and on Tuesday, viewer Stephen Lochear spotted
And Martin Green had this to say about a report on high levels
of Omega 3 fatty acids being associated with a 70% increase
Well, the BBC Trust has set up a review to look into this whole
area of the use of statistics on BBC news and current affairs.
It will be overseen by an independent panel
which includes Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute
of Fiscal Studies, and he joins me now.
From a journalist's point of view, it can feel that there is a lot more
data out there available for analysis.
Do you think that is the case, there is almost too much
There is a vast amount of information or rather
there is a vast amount of data and turning that into useful
trustworthy information is incredibly difficult.
You really need people who are experts in understanding
There are a number of difficulties here.
One is that Government departments and statisticians have access
to that data a little bit before everyone else they can put it out
and put their particular spin on it and if you need to respond
immediately, it is often very difficult to know quite
where the spin ends and the facts start.
And because we are in this 24-hour news cycle, the data comes out
at nine o'clock in the morning and people are responding
It would be nice at least to leave it until the one o'clock news,
to give it time to understand it and one my frustrations
is when we have the Budget or the Spending Review,
we at the IFS put information out the next day but two days later,
everyone has forgotten about it, by which time you might actually
have done more serious looking at what was it was about.
Let us look at some specific complaints we have had.
We have had this email from Stuart Orange from London.
He feels that the BBC misuses graphs online.
He points to a recent graph on climate change.
Do you have a particular concern about graphs?
It is a classic problem about graphs because where you set the origin
and the bottom of the vertical axis makes a huge difference
to whether a change looks big or small.
If you do this in the context of climate change, people worry
about whether the climate will increase or temperatures
will increase by 2 degrees above preindustrial times and 2
degrees on a chart which starts at zero and goes up to 30,
it is a tiny change and in some sense that is one way of looking
at it but 2 degrees is very important and maybe it is important
to put that within a small amount of space so it does look big and it
does look very different according to where you put the axis
In many ways it is an editorial judgment about what is big
And the problem is you can show things that are not very big
as being big, so unemployment, from 6% to 8.5% can look huge
if the graph only goes between 5.7% and 6%.
We have another e-mail from Jeff Simmons.
It is a good point about what analogy people
I think analogies are very important and that is a good example.
I have no idea what 10,000 square metres looks
like but I have a pretty good idea of what a football pitch looks
like so if you say that something is 12 hectares,
it is actually quite helpful to see how many football pitches or how
many bits of Wales or whatever area is often used that relates to.
In many aspects of measurement, if you cannot bring that analogy
so that people can visualise it, it is very difficult if they are not
working all the time with measures of area, for example.
It is interesting that after the Autumn Statement,
we had complaints that the BBC described George Osborne as lucky
and that this was biased and of course you are an economic
data expert and you used the word lucky to talk about the statistics.
What is your view on how data issues are reported and do you have
concerns that sometimes they are misreported?
The forecast changed a tiny bit and in a way it was helpful
it was a little bit so if I have concern about the way
it was reported it was reported as a much bigger thing than it
actually was and that is partly because the Chancellor talked
about ?27 billion, that's a big number but it was cumulative over
seven years and by the end of that period it was ?4 billion.
Out of ?800 billion of spending, that is tiny.
We'll look out for that review for the BBC Trust which will be
Thank you for all of your comments this week.
If you want to share your opinions on BBC news and current affairs
or even appear on the programme, you can call us or email us.
You can find us on Twitter and have a look at our website.
We will be back to hear your thoughts again next week.