02/09/2016 Newswatch


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This week, did BBC News win a gold medal for its


Hello and welcome to Newswatch with me Samira Ahmed.


Coming up: Looking back at the event which dominated news


Yes, there were gold medals galore for our competitors in Rio,


but was BBC News coverage of the Olympics quite


First, the fallout from the Brexit vote in June's referendum continues


On Wednesday Daniel Sandford reported for the BBC News at Six


on the murder of a Polish man in Essex.


The fear is that this was a frenzied, racist attack


While detectives are not ruling it out it may be that Arek Jozwik


wasn't targeted because of his race, but simply because he was there


when a group of youths was looking for trouble.


A number of viewers reacted in a way described here by Chris Wilkins.


On Sunday, BBC One news bulletins marked 100 years since the founding


of the coastal Marine force which began as a fleet of high-speed


torpedo boats in the First World War and sank over 500 enemy


They first fired up in 1916, were the idea


They were just 50 feet long and carried one or two torpedoes.


Enough to hit large enemy ships then escape at high speed.


Unfortunately, the archive footage of the explosion there was not


a British torpedo hitting a large enemy ship, as a couple


of eagle-eyed viewers spotted, as John Bryant wrote:


And now, as they say, for something completely different.


On Wednesday morning Breakfast showed some rather striking footage.


Explain what this is, this is a professional unicyclist.


Malcolm Thomas thought showing that was:


Now, for many the highlights of the their summer television


viewing would have been the triumphs of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah


on the track, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny in the velodrome,


or Britain's women on the hockey pitch.


All gripping stuff, but what else was there on the box?


Well, there were BBC One's news bulletins and the news channel.


But for 16 days in August they, too, had a distinctly Olympic flavour.


Hello, this is Breakfast with Louise MInchin and Charlie...


-- Hello, this is Breakfast with Louise Minchin and Charlie...


For the duration of the Olympic Games BBC Breakfast reinvented


itself as Olympic Breakfast with many of the big events


happening overnight it was the first opportunity for most of us to catch


But there was also plenty of reaction and background material.


Too much for Kathryn Coury who wrote:


to see the race, but a bit more non-sporting news.


British success soon started, of course, but a couple of days


later Carol Mabbutt had this reaction to the news at six:


And here's Bill Dickie on the following day:


On the 15th of August, Grant Privett echoed that by adding:


And on August 21st we receive this tweet:


Well, to discuss this I'm joined in the studio by viewer


and the editor of the BBC six and ten o'clock news,


Paul Royle, and in our Cambridge studio is another


Cathy, first, what was your concern about the Olympics


The amount of time that was devoted to it.


And also, that it seemed to become the prime focus of all news that


It almost seemed as though the rest of the national and international


news sort of got lumped into other news, you know,


for about ten minutes onto the end of the Olympics.


And then reverting back to the Olympics afterwards.


I just felt that when I switch on the news that is what I


I want to see the whole of the news, not just a repeat of what I've


Tim, what about you, adding to what Cathy said.


I very much agree with what Cathy has said.


My concern was that the news bulletins seemed to be dominated


Particularly given the BBC was providing virtually wall-to-wall


coverage of the Olympics in any case, I didn't really think


it was necessary for the news bulletins to be dominated


by the coverage of the Olympics in the way that they were at


the expense of other important news coverage.


For instance, you sometimes had to wait ten or 15 minutes before


you got onto any other items of news at all.


Paul, this is the general feeling, the Olympics people


were happy to see coverage, there were lots of great stories,


but the disproportion and particularly the sense that


you got ten minutes of Olympic pride and then suddenly a couple


of minutes of Aleppo just stuck in in a tiny amount.


Burst, the Olympics is a global event. -- first. Once every four


years. There is a huge amount of audience interest in the Olympics.


In this case, from Team GB's sporting performance all the way to


issues around Rio, Brazil, tickets, the Paralympics afterwards, and so


on, there were a number of stories and news attached to the Olympics. I


would reject this idea that are the news wasn't covered, or we weren't


thinking about other news when Aleppo should be the lead story, the


chlorine gas attack, for example, it was the lead story on the ten


o'clock news. We covered international and domestic stories


in the same way as... They were squeezed, work today, within shorter


bulletins often. On a number of occasions there was less airtime but


always with the proviso that on any given day, and we looked at this and


thought hard about this every day, on any given day if there was


additional stories or news and we needed to include it in the


bulletins, or we thought we should, we would extend the programmes. That


was always the role we carried through the whole Olympic Games.


Cathy, you had an example of a specific story, I think it was the


Labour leadership debate getting interrupted by Olympics. Can you


tell us about that. Yes. I was additionally frustrated by having


taken time out of my day I specifically wanted to spend time


watching the Labour leadership debate. Everybody was introduced.


Then they said, right, before we do all that we are just going to go


back and find out about the Olympics. And we had another, oh, it


must have been a five, ten minute report about what was going on in


Rio again with all of the same clips we'd already seen many times that


morning. One of the things you raised, ten, was just how far it was


cheerleading the British side all the way in this coverage. That is to


some extent true. They concentrated, it seemed to me, on the successes of


Team GB. Apart from Usain Bolt, or Michael Phelps, hardly anyone else


got a mention at all. Also, even when there wasn't a medal for Team


GB, you then had speculation about who might get a medal in the future.


I wouldn't have said that was news. There are two things viewers would


like the news teams to rethink. The proportion of the coverage but also


the accusation made just now by ten that perhaps there was a bit too


much cheerleading and not enough impartial coverage of who were the


most important athlete at Rio, and not so much on just British


prospects. Again, that is always a challenge. It was in 2012, as well.


Team GB had an amazing Rio games. Second in the world. 67 medals. At


the same time we covered stories about other countries, around other


athletes, Michael Phelps, said mobiles, other athletes who broke


records, we covered the controversies in the games, weather


it was the questions over Castres amend your questions around the


Paralympics. -- Simone Biles. On the night the Team GB hockey team won


that with medal, the top story on the ten o'clock news which followed


was about the problems of the funding to the Paralympics. --


Caster Semenya. A lot of the audience were appreciative of com


and we were getting big audiences into news programmes and news


coverage. That was part of it. It was a challenge. I'm not disputing


that. I accept there would be some frustration if you are expecting one


thing and you have to wait a bit because there are some Olympics you


feel you've already seen. Thank you all. And that's all from us. Thank


you for all of your comments this week. If you would like to share


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


We will be back to hear your thoughts about BBC News coverage


again next week. Goodbye.


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