10/03/2017 Newswatch


10/03/2017

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There will be a full round up at 10pm, but now, News watch.

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Hello, welcome to Newswatch with me Samira Ahmed.

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On this week's programme: What's the BBC's Economics Editor doing

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standing in the street trying to catch numbers?

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And do we need to know that this distinguished human rights lawyer

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is married to a Hollywood film star?

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It's an annual challenge for BBC News - how to make the complex

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economics of the Budget accessible, without dumbing down.

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It was only to be expected that there were plenty

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But what surprised many viewers was that in a preview piece

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on Monday, some of those numbers seemed to be flying right

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into the hands of the BBC's Economics Editor, Kamal Ahmed.

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Inflation could fit 2.8% by the end of the year. That could mean a

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squeeze on living standards. The price of fuel has already hit an 18

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month high. It now costs ?9 and more to fill up the average family car

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than it did a year ago. And what about the all-important issue of

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business confidence? Well, the latest survey suggest that

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confidence is declining. Graham Ford was incredulous

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at what he saw, and left us He was standing in the street as if

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he was in Sesame Street, with figures coming down out of the sky.

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This has lost all credibility for the news. Your convoluted is try to

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bowl of things going on around him. This is just another example of the

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news totally dumbing down. Just give us the news from people who know

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what they are talking about in the studio. Thank you very much.

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Elsewhere in the report other figures - and words -

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popped up in the nearby countryside, and there was also a strong line

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in finding descriptions in nature which also applied

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With little discernible Brexit effect, what has been behind the sun

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continuing to shine on the UK's finances. So the economic waters of

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the moment are not too treacherous for Philip Hammond. But this will

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not be a Budget is full of big giveaways, despite the brighter

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economic environment. After hearing those lines of script

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and watching the graphics, another viewer, Michael O'Shea,

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recorded on camera his views It was frustrating and distracting.

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So much so I cannot recall what he was talking about. They reminded me

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of year seven pupils when they first used PowerPoint, they used every

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feature and gimmick regardless of its suitability of relevance. I

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appreciate graphics has its place in news presentation, maybe in the

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studio, but a presenter talks to the screen and we do not need to be

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entertained with a news presentation.

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In another report the following night,

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more numbers were dropping down from the sky,

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although this time not into Kamal Ahmed's hands.

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And there were visual metaphors, too,

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with the BBC's Economics Editor on a bridge over the Tyne,

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which then became the backdrop for a rather spectacular bar chart.

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So, was all this invention a fun way of making a complex

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subject more accessible - or self-indulgent dumbing down?

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Richard Lynch enjoyed Monday's numbers-in-the-hand trick, tweeting:

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"Loving the graphics from Kamal on BBC News At ten tonight...

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While Andrew Watson thought there were:

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"Some great The Day Today-style flying graphics on BBC News tonight.

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"Fair play to Kamal Ahmed for keeping a straight face."

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Let's explore those reactions with the Deputy Editor of the BBC's

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News at Six and News at Ten, Hilary O'Neill.

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Viewers do understand that using graphics to try make it clear and

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understandable, but these ones, they were just dropping out of the sky.

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They didn't mean anything. They did mean something, every number there

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was a relevant. It was therefore a reason. The locations had been

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thought through and I thought it was informative and creative and

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entertaining, and actually, I don't have a problem with it myself. I do

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understand if some viewers thought it was slightly distracting, are but

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all we are trying to do with an awful lot of material and a big

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collection of numbers is to make it as clear as possible and hopefully

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do that in a way that engages the view and is not just the numbers in

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a studio. Is interesting that you deliberately went out of the studio

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for that reason, because fewer say it ended up being distracting. He's

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doing this in the street and in the end, it is the number he has just

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said out loud, there's nothing graphic on the representation of the

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number that helps you understand it better. I think if there was only

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one number, I would accept that. But if there's an awful lot of numbers,

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maybe the viewers who complained are just super numerous in way that I am

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not, and an expert in the economy in a way I am not, but we do know a

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whole range of people were glad about it were watching and we need

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to try to accommodate people who don't necessarily already know the

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numbers and lots of the audience research shows that firstly, people

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have a vague idea quite often but not necessarily the detail, and

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secondly, even if they do know the detail, they do not mind being

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reminded, especially ahead of the big day like a Budget. Specific

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complaint made was that it looks like the BBC's graphics team got

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carried away by what you can do, rather than what is useful. And with

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the scene on the streets, there was an inflation figure which was up and

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it dropped down from the sky which is illogical. The details of what

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goes up and down... But it's interesting. The graphic is meant to

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be clear, the figures about going up when it comes down. But the arrow

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was up. I think over all, you write these things keep changing and

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evolving, because the technology allows us to. We do want to be on

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the wrong side and do things for the sake of it. But that would have been

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meticulously planned and the only motivation behind it would be trying

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to make what is sometimes a dry chunk of information interesting to

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viewers. I'm sorry if some found it distracting and we always need to

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take into consideration if we've gone too far or are we serving our

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audience or pleasing ourselves and of course, that's what we'll

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continue to do. Viewers were saying that it was quite childish, pushing

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metaphors about sunny days and troubled waters. Is this not a

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regular viewer? We often talk about storm clouds gathering. In fairness,

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he was in those locations for a reason. He was in Hampshire

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specifically because consumer spending is up there and that was a

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reflection of the story he was partly telling and also when

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unemployment is low there. In the second piece, he was there because

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although the economy is growing a little, is below where the rest of

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the UK years. There are reasons why he was where he was. And it is

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unfair given that we sometimes come in for a lot of criticism as an

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organisation and as a news organisation forced King to London

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all the time and being in a studio and doing it from a metropolitan

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point of view, so we went out and about. Thank you.

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Do let us know what you think about the visual presentation

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of television news, or about any aspect of BBC News.

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Stay tuned for details of how to contact us.

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There was another example this week of the BBC's Graphics department

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being busy making numbers fly around the screen in a report

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from Justin Rowlatt about possible restrictions on visas being given

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to Indians wanting to work in the United States.

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But it was the way the piece started that annoyed another viewer.

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She graduated from a top American university and has worked as a

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software engineer for Microsoft and Facebook. But she is not sure she

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would be welcome in America any more. Engineers like me are being

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pushed out of the US today. It is really unfortunate. Sue Robson rang

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us after watching that to make this point. I comedy what I have just

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seen. An item about troubles-macro restrictions on Indian engineers

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taking jobs in the USA. He has just shown an Indian engineer putting on

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her make-up and getting dressed, buttoning up her dress over her

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chest. And this on International winning's day, to! If she were a man

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he would not have shown him slicking back his hair and doing up his

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shirt. They would have shown him doing his job.

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The charge of sexism was also made on Tuesday,

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after an item on the News at Six about the persecution

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Tomorrow, the lawyer acting on behalf of the Yazidis will adjust

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the United Nations in New York and call for formal investigation into

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the genocide. Amal Clooney who is married to George Clooney Tommy why

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she's going to represent the Yazidis why their causes important to her.

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Vivienne Davies was one of a number of viewers watching that who had

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Is it really necessary to mention the fact that Amal Clooney is

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married to George Clooney? She's an intelligent woman who is doing the

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job that she does because of her intelligence, together with the

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knowledge and experience. And because she is married to a Fulham

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star. Put it out BBC, you can do better than that.

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Finally, back to the Budget and to numbers - specifically,

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the amount of extra funding for social care announced

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You will spend 2 billion on social care in England. A billion available

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in the next year. There is a longer-term review off to pay to

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look after the elderly. With that plea, we

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leave you this week. If you want to share your opinions

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on BBC News and current affairs, or even appear on the programme,

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you can call us on 0370 010 6676 You can find us on Twitter

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@newswatchbbc, and do have a look We'll be back to hear your

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thoughts about BBC News Comic up a detailed forecasting

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weather for the week ahead. Followed

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