30/01/2016 Newswatch


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Coming up on this programme, snowstorms hit the USA last weekend.


But the BBC get too carried away in reporting them?


And the bedroom tax is back in the news, or should that be


And someone in Worcester has won ?33 million on the lottery.


Sophie Raworth gets less information than you might hope for


from the BBC's reporter on the spot when she asks John Kay who it is.


We don't know because they've decided to remain anonymous, Sophie.


Last Friday night BBC News began reporting on the heavy snow linked


to Storm Jonas, arriving on the east coast of the United States.


It was one of the top stories on that night's News at Ten.


The east coast of America braces itself for what could be


leading most of them on Sunday and occupying lots of airtime on the


But there are some who simply cannot hide their joy.


At least 36 people died, though, as a result of the blizzard and there


But scores of viewers felt the BBC got this out of proportion.


While Rob Kitching posted a different question:


Yes, it has been snowing pretty hard in the US,


On Saturday morning, Dave Briggs was another one to object, asking:


A lot of businesses are opening, but your patrons can't get to


You can help us to get those streets clear.


Stay off the streets, don't put snow in the middle of the street.


And on Sunday, the News Channel broadcast experts


from two press conferences to the bemusement of William from Glasgow.


So, did the extremity of the weather and the availability of pictures


like these warrant the extent of the coverage, or did the BBC get carried


away by a bias towards all things American? Let's hear some answers to


those questions. It was the heaviest snowfall on much of the east coast


on record. Surely that's a news story? I guess it is newsworthy and


it would probably be worthy of a final mention in the news, as often


used to happen. But I felt that, like a lot of the people who wrote


in, the amount of time given to this subject was totally out of


proportion. It just seemed to be far too much on after all it is in the


northern hemisphere, it is winter and its nose in the winter. Equally,


Japan and Korea were suffering far worse weather and far more people


died. And it didn't get a mention. It didn't get a mention at all. It


will did die in the storms of the United States, but this kind of snow


is a regular occurrence in the United States and many other


countries, as Paul just said. You don't give them all that airtime.


The US snow story was significant and unprecedented. 60 centimetres


snow in Washington. New York shut down. A loss of life on quite a


large scale. You've got federal government is closing down,


legislation on hold. It is a significant story and, from a


television news bulletin, it had an extraordinary picture. -- for a.


There was an audience interest in it. As proven by how online


statistics, just to give you an example. Last week that two most


highly read stories on the BBC online, the UK site, both relating


to this no story in the US. Paul, how do you feel about that?


Unprecedented and audiences are interested? I think if you feed


people that much information, give it that much airtime, people will be


interested. There's a lot of other stuff going on at the moment. It's


not like it's a no new season. People are dying in the


Mediterranean. It is quite an interesting time. Begin up on that,


on the News at Ten on Friday night, this was not the lead story, it was


the third story on the bulletin. Yes, we had Google tax and the


migrant crisis ahead of this in the running orders. It didn't lead the


bulletins. I felt it had exactly the correct place in those running


orders for the significance of the story. In terms of pictures, that


panda video, for example, on the website was the most shared video of


the year and it was something that was incredibly well-received by our


audiences. It led to so much of the news coverage through the weekend on


the News Channel. People got plenty of coverage, a lot of it just


pictures of Americans dealing with snow. It didn't feel that important


and it is a bias because perhaps there are many BBC correspondent in


America and maybe it is cheap and easy news at the weekend, when BBC


budget have been cut? I absolutely reject that. Our model is to have


eyed -- eyewitness reporting on the ground. It would be a bad state of


affairs if we didn't have correspondence on the ground


reporting on these stories. -- correspondents. Owl Eamonn all of


the stories we cover internationally is that we have reporters based


locally so they can give their opinion and their view on the


ground. -- our aim on all. Is there a perceived Americanisation of the


news? What are your thoughts? I will make it clear, I am not


anti-American or anti-panda. It is horrible when one person dies, but


it wasn't a tsunami or natural disaster. You think it is a North


American obsession, at the expense of other stories in the world?


Absolutely. You made the point of lots of BBC personnel being in and


around the US makes it easy reporting. We will have to leave it


there but thank you to both of you for coming on Newswatch. We can


expect more coverage of the United States in the next week as the


attention turns to the presidential election campaign. Please let us


know your thoughts, or on any aspect of BBC News. Details of how to


contact us at the end of the programme. Before that, one of the


biggest stories of the week has been a row over the amount of tax paid by


Google in the UK. BBC News claimed a scoop on this last Friday night.


Google reveals to the BBC that it has agreed to pay ?130 million in


back dated tax. But what proportion of Google's UK profits was that


amount? That was much discussed later in the week, but it didn't get


a mention on that addition of the news at 10pm, or the following


morning, prompting this maths teacher to write:


On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government's


withdrawal of the spare room subsidy back in 2013 had just committed


against a domestic violence victim and the family of a disabled


teenager. The family challenged the bedroom tax. A female victim of


domestic violence was raped and stalked. Since 2013, households


deemed to have spare room is received blessing benefits. Those


affected lose 40% of their housing benefit for a spare bedroom. Well,


the terminology used their prompted Lawrence Williams to ring us. In


other areas of reporting the news the BBC rightly adds a so-called


disclaimer Web referring to organisations and the like. However,


why do BBC News outlets state the so-called bedroom tax were the


subject referred to has a perfectly acceptable correct and official name


and also when it is a tax anyway? -- it isn't. On that addition, the


change in laws was described three times as the so-called bedroom tax


and three times simply as the bedroom tax. But never as the spare


room subsidy. John from Guildford was another to object:


We put that point to BBC News and they told us:


Finally, the search for the second winner of a record ?33 million share


of a national lottery jack pot was declared the over on Thursday almost


three is after the ticket was bought. Our correspondent revealed


almost all on the news at six p.m.. The ticket was bought in Worcester


but whose is it? John is there now. We don't know because they have


decided to remain anonymous, which means there is a rather curious,


suspicious atmosphere here. A disgruntled viewer e-mails us:


That's all from us. Thanks for your comments this week. If you want to


share your opinions or even appear on the programme, you can call us


on: Or e-mail Newswatch at: You can find us on Twitter and have a look


at our website. You can watch previous discussions there. That's


all from us. We will be back to hear your thoughts on BBC coverage next


week. Goodbye.


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