21/10/2016 Newswatch


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Coming up at 10pm, Sophie will be here with a full round-up of the


news. First it is time for news watch.


Hello and welcome to Newswatch, with me, Samira Ahmed.


After years of Newswatch complaints about the cost


of sending news presenters out to foreign locations,


And is coverage of the US presidential campaign as edifying


First, the extent of coverage of the Olympics on news programmes


and bulletins caused some consternation back over the summer


and that issue was back on Monday when a parade of Britain's Olympians


and Paralympians took place in Manchester.


Again we sort of take it for granted now, but it is so so difficult


and Rebecca Adlington is a multiple medal winner.


When you look at what athletes do in other disciplines, you must have


Every single athlete, even the ones that aren't here today.


Obviously some of the athletes have decided just to go to the London


one, but it is like every single person has their own


There was more than two hours of that, broadcast not just


on the news channel but also in a special programme on BBC One.


Some viewers wondered if all that airtime was justified,


including one who left us this telephone message.


I would just like to show my disgust at the BBC's simulcasting once again


I do not think that my licence fee should be


Either have it on BBC One or on the news channel,


or better still hit it on the red button.


It is not news and it certainly should not be taking over two


After the first US presidential debate, we discussed on this


programme if too much coverage had been devoted to the insults


and bickering exchanges between Donald Trump


This week saw the third and final TV debate between the two candidates.


The Russians have engaged in cyber attacks against


She has no idea if it is Russia, China...


Then Donald Trump was questioned about the procession of women that


have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.


These women, the woman on the plane, I think they want either fame


Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger.


Last Sunday, Trinity Gay, the 15-year-old daughter


of Tyson Gay, was killed after an exchange of gunfire


One aspect of the BBC's reporting of her death annoyed


a number of viewers, including Grace Bradley who left


I'm just reading on the BBC website that he tested positive for a banned


substance and was banned from the competition


You think, the man's daughter has been murdered,


what relevance does that got to the coverage of that story?


I'm horrified by the insensitivity of the BBC in this case.


When a major international story breaks, we've become used to the big


beasts of TV news being dispatched to present programmes from abroad.


like the fall of Berlin Wall or the release of Nelson Mandela


from prison, but it has become much more frequent.


Newswatch viewers have often objected to what they see as a waste


of licence fee money, for instance just over a year ago


when three BBC One anchors were sent to three different


Were the migration crisis has brought more scenes


A very good evening to you from Munich's


main railway station, where throughout the day hundreds


of migrants and refugees have been arriving from Austria.


Tonight at ten we are live in Lebanon, just three miles


from the Syrian border in one of the thousands of refugee camps.


BBC's bosses would come on Newswatch insisting that such


deployments added value to news bulletins, while many


viewers complained that they were just profligate


windowdressing with money wasted flying presenters across the world


mainly to read links that could've easily be done in the studio.


One of those viewers posted this comment on Thursday:


There has also been criticism of the number of BBC reporters sent


to cover foreign stories, with tales of


corporation journalists battling for positions with each


other at news conferences around the world.


So prompted by the need to save money, the BBC has this week


announced new restrictions on the deployment of reporters


A move greeted by Max Johnson as being:


Jonathan Munro is with me now to explain the changes.


Jonathan, what exactly are you proposing change


I think the summary is we are trying to raise the bar on the judgments


made about the deployment of numbers of people overall


and presenters and the teams that work with presenters in particular.


Obviously sending people away is a big expense for the BBC


and secondly when we spend that money we want to ensure


we are spending it on generating meaningful content and obviously


that involves sending lots of people on big stories,


including presenters, and we will carry on doing that.


But we will not do it as often and we will not do it


Can you give examples of the kinds of stories you would not send


I think the best example recently and we've used this


when briefing our own staff is the summit David Cameron went


to when he was still Prime Minister just after the vote to leave


You may remember he went for dinner in Brussels to the summit,


he was there for a few hours, it was contained in the same


building, we knew it was called to happen in advance,


We ended up with 17 English-language reporters, correspondence


and presenters in Brussels carrying that summit.


I think that falls below the bar I'm trying to raise, otherwise,


But on a big breaking story, like the attacks in Paris a year


ago, you do need a volume of people to make products as very


as breakfast in the morning through to Newsnight in the evening,


the World Service is a major consumer of global news,


so I don't want anyone to get the impression that we are no longer


deploying on foreign news, we absolutely are, we're going to be


more careful and more restrictive about the numbers.


Viewers have been complaining for years the presenters


It sounds like you're admitting the BBC has


Presenters can add a lot but they don't always add


I think, for example, if you're going to the location


of this story and you are doing live interviews with someone who's


involved in a story, you're calling someone to account,


you are analysing the events, you know better than anyone that


you only do that effectively if you can look at the whites


of the eyes of the people you're talking to, and it is real added


If, on the other hand, you're going merely to interview


other BBC people who are already there, that appeals to me


On reporters, though, what is the plan, because the BBC


has talked about avoiding duplication, but it is


understandable that different programmes have got their


own take on the story for the different audiences?


Those audiences are really varied in different and we will absolutely


continue to be conscious of that will be sent.


So in a sense, this becomes an issue about the numbers, how many people


physically getting on a plane, for example, one of breaking


There comes a point where the number of reporters actually becomes


a problem on a story because you have too many


people there to manage, but you want a distinctive take


For example a programme of late night this analysis is different


from a breaking news story in the morning.


The demands of rolling news are different from the


Radio is different from television and so on.


But we can do better at making some of that distinctive journalism


You must have thought to a model, for example, of how many TV


reporters would be sent, presuming there is a correspondent


on location in a foreign country to supplement that for TV outlets?


We are lucky to have correspondence around the world in lots of places.


They are the starting place, and the nearest person


there is probably the expert and what we are dealing with.


We also have a lot of people who work for the non-English


language services at the BBC, but whose English is excellent


and we use them more and more on our services the UK.


Putting a model in place is really hard.


No single story is the same as any other story, so it


depends on time zones, it depends on other news


that is happening in the world, it will depend on whether it's


a story that has actually happened and is over or if it


has just happened this would move any further,


or whether it is quite a dynamic situation,


including whether it is a situation where safety is an issue.


So all those factors make it difficult to come up


Is there a danger of the BBC not being there for those landmark


Things like Newsnight which are late at night, Jeremy Paxman


being there when the Berlin Wall fell, is that the kind of thing


that is potentially under threat because of costs?


The Berlin Wall falling was one of the iconic news stories


of the last few years, last few decades.


They come around every so often and when they come around we're


going to be absolutely resource of those stories.


We may have one and a couple of weeks when the Americans vote


on the new president, that is the next big thing


I don't think I'm giving away anything too confidential to say


that Newsnight will be there, lock stock and barrel and reporting


It is a very important story, a defining story, potentially,


in the politics and diplomacy of the world.


Finally, BBC One's lunchtime bulletin included news of a freak


accident in which Harry Redknapp's wife Sandra was injured


when she was dragged along the road by a car driven


Duncan Kennedy was live at the couple's home.


Obviously a very dramatic moment for Harry and Sandra,


It was from this house that the couple went


to do their shopping trip yesterday and when this tragic


After the report that followed, a number of viewers got in touch


with us about that item, with Brian Winter describing himself


That is all from us, thank you for your comments this week.


If you want to share your opinions on BBC News and current affairs


and appear on the programme you can call us or e-mail us


You can find us on Twitter and do you look at previous


We will be to hear your thoughts about BBC News


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