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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
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