12/02/2016 Newswatch


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are the headlines from BBC News. Now, at ten o'clock, Sophie ray


Sophie Waworth, but it is time for Newswatch.


Hello and welcome to NewsWatch with me, Samira Ahmed. Don't go out in


Storm Imogen, the authorities said, unless necessary, so how responsible


was this BBC reporter's appearance on the sea-front? Who has been


presented in a more favourable light over a dispute in a new contract,


the junior doctors or the Government?


Extreme weather, it makes the headlines and it regularly gets


NewsWatchers attention too. The week started with reports of powerful


winds and heavy rain hitting parts of Southern England and Wales. Not


for the first time, BBC News sent cameras and reporters out into the


midst of the storm, following in a tradition that spawned hundreds of


clips on YouTube. I haven't seen a lot of debris recently, but it was a


couple of hours ago that... With more dramatic weather events


across the world, has come more dramatic weather broadcasting. Sorry


about that. Wow, that was a heck of a gust. It is actually very


dangerous because you have the added bonus of frostbite. The American


networks and weather channels lead the field here with some presenters


apparently competing to put themselves in the most hazardous


situations. No, we're fine. BBC reporters have been known to put


themselves in the thick of it with appearances in the sea-front and


wading through the flooding Thames attracting the ire of NewsWatch


viewers two years ago who felt the coverage was dangerous and


irresponsible. One experienced news correspondent finds himself facing


the storm of complaints after a live appearance on Monday's news at one.


Let's join Duncan ken he had yes. Duncan, conditions look pretty wild


where you are. That's a bit of an under statement really. It is hard


to stand up here such are the force of the winds here. We reckon they


are coming in at 90mph gusts across the western approaches. More of this


is to come for the next few hours and the advice is to baton down the


hatches as the storm goes through. Don't come out and try and fight it


or travel if you have to. Jane Elliot contacted us following that


broadcast. Here is the telephone message she left us.


We were watching the reports on Storm Imogen on the BBC lunch time


news on Monday and couldn't believe that a crazy reporter was standing


just a few feet away from a raging sea whilst telling us how high and


dangerous the waves were and not to venture out unless really necessary.


He could easily have been swept away. This surely is most


irresponsible reporting by the BBC. An exert from the live appearance by


Duncan Kennedy featured later on the six and ten o'clock bulletins and


the fear for some, despite repeating the authority's warning, not to go


out unless necessary, the report sent the opposite message. There was


concern from the coastguard when a group of schoolchildren were spotted


on the beach as heavy winds and choppy waves swept in. In Cornwall


storm chasers were deluged with water, a car was almost submerged by


massive waves and a man taking photographs from the harbour was


brought to his knees so could those near disasters been encouraged by


the BBC and was a camera and reporter really necessary? No,


thought Christopher Arnold. This is really irspble and quite frankly


unnecessary. We don't need to see how bad the sea is. We know how bad


it is. So putting your correspondents at any sort of risk


is quite frankly unbelievably silly. Well, to talk this through, I'm


joined by UK News Editor for BBC News. It looked genuinely hazardous,


are you sure that Duncan Kennedy and the crew were safe? He was safe. He


was there with an experienced producer who lived by the sea for 20


years and covered, snow, floods, harsh weather. They spend a lot of


time risk assessing these situations. I think they spent of a


an hour to an hour ahead of doing the broadcast to check everything


was OK. What you don't see was there was about five meters of steps


beyond that wall. So there was no danger of waves hitting Duncan. The


water you could see was spray coming up from the steps. So, we take the


safety of our correspondents, our reporters, our producers seriously.


We wouldn't put them into a dangerous situation. I wonder if


more of that information needed to be spelt out if you're going to do


that live because it didn't look like there was much distance and it


gave a sense that the drama of the picture was more important than the


safety, because you could have shot from further away and people would


have been reassured that the reporter was clearly much further


away from the water? Sure. I understand that viewers are


concerned and want to know that our people are safe and they have


concerns about where we shoot lives and is it really necessary to be in


those situations? I think in this case, you know, it really did


illustrate the strength of the winds which was a big story that day. A


great interest to our audience. We know they are interested in the


weather and what Duncan's live did was really show how strong the winds


were and that was the intention and I can assure viewers that he was


safe. You see, the advice is not to go out unless absolutely necessary,


why is it all right for him to go out when no one else is supposed to?


It sends out the wrong message? Well, they have done a lot of risk


assessment and I have got great trust in my producer and Duncan who


are experienced. Look, we gave all the warnings. We were very clear


that people shouldn't go out. We took advice from the Met Office and


from the relevant authorities. Why was it all right for the reporter to


be out if everyone isn't supposed to be? Well, Duncan was safe. He was


out there to illustrate the strength of the winds which I think he did,


the package included clips of the dangers posed, by the winds and


Duncan himself spoke about the dangers posed by the winds. Zl There


were so many incidents of the public with cameras trying to film the


wind. You are giving the message that you can make a judgement and


get great pictures that the BBC said you have got to see? I don't think


there was any sense in which Duncan was encouraging people to go out.


Well, the BBC was, by giving that coverage? No, I don't think. I think


Duncan was clear in his messages which he said, don't go out, baton


down the hatches, stay safe. He was safe. We took a lot of precautions


to make sure he was safe. And as I've said to you, even the people


who we interviewed later on, they were safe as well. One thing that


struck me watching it, on the one o'clock, he was live. And that's


what added to part of the viewer concern because you didn't know


whether something might happen and he could actually be injured before


our eyes. Wouldn't it have been more responsible to have filmed that and


put it into an edited package like you did later, not to have done it


live? Well, I mean, I think again, it was to illustrate the strength of


the winds... That's the point, but to have done it as a pre-recorded


item would have made it clear, yes, it was fine and it was all safe,


wouldn't that be a possible compromise? We showed it live


because we really wanted to illustrate at that point the


strength of those winds and Duncan did that very well. Duncan is a very


experienced correspondent and he knows what he is doing. I've come on


here because I understand viewers were concerned and I appreciate


that. I'm coming on here to reassure them that we take the safety of our


people seriously and we spent a lot of time assessing this situation and


making sure it was safe. In the en, given that this is not the first


conversation we have had on NewsWatch about this reporting,


viewers might say is anything going to be different? Are you going to


re-think these situations, otherwise there is a fear, it is only when


someone is injured that the BBC might re-think or compared to two


years ago, for example, is it already being as far as you are


aware rethinking each year about how you approach these stories? We think


about the safety of our people. They have to report from around the world


in potentially dangerous situations, but if it is not safe, we won't put


them in there and that's not changed and when we get feedback from


viewers, of course, we take it on board and that's why I have come on


here to explain Duncan was safe. Thank you very much.


We are keen to hear your thoughts on any aspect of BBC News. Stay tuned


for details of how to contact us. More of your reactions to what you


have seen over the past few days. Starting with the week's big story.


The dispute over the proposed new contract for junior doctors. After


Wednesday's strike and Thursday's announcement by the Government that


it would be imposing the new contract, passions are still running


high on both sides, both about the issue it's he have and the -- itself


and David Kenny: On the other side of the argument,


scores of viewers this week alleged a bias in the other direction. Here


is Sue Robson writing: Finally, the BBC News Channel along


with other 24 hour channels is keen to tell us when it has breaking


news. But what developments are considered significant and newsy


enough to qualify for that status? Last week the announcement that Matt


LeBlanc was going to be one of the present irs of Top Gear prompted a


breaking news alert. Scientists are claiming a stunning


discovery in their quest to fully understand the origins of the


universe. They have detected evidence of so-called gravitational


waves. Ripples in the fabric of space. If this was was a newspaper,


you would be hearing cries of, "Hold the front page." David Macmillan


said: But, Ned BH was more sceptical.


Do let us know if you think BBC News lives up to its own hype. You can


send us your views by calling us: Or e-mailing:


You can post your comments on Twitter:


And catch up with any eds of the programme you've missed at our


website: That's all from us. We will be back


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


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