21/07/2017 Newswatch


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Hello and welcome to Newswatch with me, Samira Ahmed.


Coming up, news presenters featured prominently in the BBC's list


This week, are they really worth the money?


And how will the BBC deal with the gap in pay revealed


Wednesday was a difficult day for the BBC, as ordered by


the Government against its wishes, the corporation published


the names and salary bands of all its on-air employees paid


This led to some uncomfortable interviews with those unused


to being on the receiving end of questions.


On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that huge amount of money


if you compare with me with lots of other people.


I have never doubted how lucky I am to work in there.


I think the BBC is really hurting today.


John Humphrys and Jeremy Vine, the two leading news


presenters on the list, earning over ?600,000


They were followed by the likes of Huw Edwards,


on more than ?550,000, Andrew Marr, earning over ?400,000, Fiona Bruce,


with more than ?350,000, and Laura Kuenssberg on over


?200,000, who was in the same range as Andrew Neil,


Many BBC outlets indulged in what some viewers felt


was washing their dirty linen in public, including Breakfast,


with a surreally self-referential paper review


Naga Munchetty and not on the list Charlie Stayt.


It's not every day the BBC Breakfast sofa makes


the front page of the Sun, but there we go.


And many of the papers, as Naga said, are looking at some


of the detail and some of the discrepancies highlighted.


The Daily Mail say mutiny - bitter recriminations


of the politically correct BBC as this gulf between men


So that's us on Newswatch broadcast during breakfast,


showing a clip of Breakfast, featuring a newspaper front


Apologies for adding to the self-absorption,


which on Wednesday prompted this from Rowena Kay.


And another Twitter user called Jerome thought:


between men's and women's earnings revealed by the list


was being pored over to access, with Helen Blamires asking:


Well, Amol Rajan has been reporting on this story all week at the BBC's


Maybe I have a certain advantage in that I have not


been here that long, so I haven't become best friends


with some of the people I was reporting on.


I knew I was talking about people like Huw Edwards


You come across lots of awkward in situations in journalism.


You think, how would I cover this if it wasn't the BBC


and I was somewhere else, and you do it


You have come from newspapers like the Independent.


Has it affected how you view the row over BBC pay?


I don't think it has affected how I reviewed the row.


I approach this as a hack, not as a company man.


It is fantastically gossipy and exciting detail,


and this is a list of names and I find it fascinating.


As an old-fashioned hack, I think this is, I would not say


A lot of viewers said there was too much


the media talking about itself to itself at the expense of other news.


I don't think it was self-flagellating.


If you are the BBC, you have to cover yourself in a way that


I had two interviews with Tony Hall on the News at Ten,


There was no way I was going to let the director-general get on the News


So when I was editing the packages, I'd make sure that we were seen


to be giving him a hard time, but I don't think


There is an important story here, which is how public money is spent.


There is a question of whether we did too much,


which is complicated because it is to do with what else


is on the news agenda, but I think we got it about right.


There is also an accusation from some viewers that news coverage


actually focused too much on the gender gap to distract


Were you under any pressure to report the story any way?


I can tell you hand on heart that no one tried...


Having been a kind of media adviser and having thought


about comms in a previous job and having gone through some


difficult things in my journalistic career like shutting a newspaper,


I was thinking to myself, what is the is the line the BBC


I am conscious that they feel they have a decent story to tell


If you find out at base that Chris Evans is paid ?2.2 million, that is


a big number. Not just gender but other issues revealed, like


diversity and class. Many of those who contacted


Newswatch expressed their dismay and disgust about the levels


of salary if you are finding out that Chris Evans


is paid ?2.2 million, Many of those who contacted


Newswatch expressed their dismay And there was also concern


about the gender disparities in pay, with the top seven on the list


all men and on the issue of race, John Rick Warren had a similar


are paid partly according one might assume that people are paid partly


according to show is presented. One might assume that people


are paid partly according For instance, John Humphrys


and Jeremy Vine by present TV quiz shows, which contribute


to their wage bills, are how replaceable each


person is and how much That cuts no ice with


David Goodchild, who told us: The BBC's director-general Lord Hall


responded to all these points in an interview


he gave on Wednesday. He said the gender pay gap was lower


at the BBC than it was nationally, and pledged equal pay on the air


between men by 2020. He pointed to the increased


competition to the BBC not just domestically,


but from companeis such as Apple and Amazon,


and he said We are constantly working


at ensuring that we get the balance right between our public,


who want to have great shows presented by stars and great


presenters, and them also wanting to know that their money,


and it's their money, public money, Well, Mark Damazer worked


at the BBC for many years, including as Deputy Director of BBC


News, and he was later a BBC trustee and is now master


of St Peter's College Oxford. You used to be management and make


these kind of pay decisions. Were you surprised by


the numbers revealed? I thought there would be a gender


gap, but it was considerably more embarrassing and bigger


than I had anticipated. Some of the individual figures,


of course, caused some surprise. Not necessarily new,


sometimes outside. I can see entirely from the point


of view from an average licence payer that they would have


looked, on average, high. But in terms of negotiating


these one by one, no, Because several viewers have


described some of these salaries as obscene,


and they are eye-watering, Well, it's a truth and it's not


necessarily a happy truth that the way people get paid


across the economy is not a reflection of moral virtue


or moral value. It would be hard to say that a nurse


or a police woman or a fire officer isn't worth more by way of moral


value than they stand You have to take that


to one side and look And once you get to that and strip


out the notion that these people are intrinsically more


virtuous, then the figures People still thinking the BBC


is a public organisation and, in the end, there is no


justification for a newsreader to be The problem with that is, if other


people are paying a great deal more, I'm afraid the BBC has to operate


by trying to get the best talent that they can for a price


that is always likely to be discounted to what


everybody else is paying. But it has to be reasonable enough


to get people into those jobs, And it isn't always happy and this


is difficult and embarrassing, but I think the BBC is right


to have a policy that says - we need talent and we're


going to have to pay. A lot of viewers and a lot


of BBC staff, women, people from minority backgrounds,


have been quite pleased to see these Transparency's quite


revealing, isn't it? Yeah, so I was on the BBC Trust


for a couple of years and I was not an enthusiast for this,


I was perfectly happy about bands in which you could locate


the numbers of people but not I was absolutely, and am


happy, that the gender That's not the same


as individual salaries Although I think that some good,


because of the pressure that will now be on the BBC management


has come out of this, because the gender gap


will have to be sorted. I think it will be


extremely difficult. In some cases, I think,


it is likely to lead to inflation. I don't think that Tony Hall can


admit to that, but it's going to be very hard to do this if you don't


inflate some people's salaries, And that may not be good


for the BBC's total pay bill and it may not be good for people worrying


about overpayment in general, if they think everybody's


being paid too much, but I think women are going to have


to be paid more, on average. One of the things that's likely


to happen over a period of time is that some of the better paid men,


not that I wish ill on any of them, but some of the better paid men


may leave and it may be they will be replaced by other,


dare I say it, cheaper men or women. That will, in some way,


compress the gap between But I think the BBC


can't go on like this, even if it is true that the BBC,


and I think it almost certainly is true, that the BBC's record


is more defensible than most, if not all other broadcasters


and many other big corporations Thank you very much.


Pleasure. Thank you for all your


comments this week. We're off the air for a few weeks


now over the summer, but do please still share your opinions on BBC


news and current affairs by calling You can find us on twitter,


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


about BBC news coverage


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