iPlayer Radio What's New?

When the BBC covers the BBC

Friday 3 December 2010, 13:55

Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

Tagged with:

Fifa flags, from Panorama

There was once a head of BBC News, called Tahu Hole, who implemented a regime of extreme caution. In his, much resented, view it was the job of his staff only to report what others had found out rather than what they had uncovered for themselves. Each story would only be broadcast if there were already at least two other outside sources. The BBC did not break news.

Even 25 years ago, when I was editor of Panorama and then Nationwide, I found there was a tendency to believe news was what was written in the papers, rather than what my own journalists had discovered. Mind you, if we did have a good story, we were pretty ruthless in keeping it to ourselves and not letting our colleagues in News know about it until after transmission.

All that has now changed. For example, when File on 4 has a good story the reporter will often be interviewed about it on the Today programme and play clips from the programme, before the original report has actually been transmitted. In the last few days the Today programme, and other BBC news outlets, have given considerable space to a Panorama investigation into corruption among Fifa officials who would be deciding, as it turns out, that England would not be hosting the 2018 World Cup. Some of our listeners were worried that the report could damage England's chances, others note how many stories about the BBC are on the BBC.

The Corporation is often in the headlines, whether it be over a controversial play, like the recent one about the army in Afghanistan by Jimmy McGovern, or because of executive salaries, or because of a radio presenter's lapse of taste. So how should the BBC report stories its journalists have originated and controversies in which it is embroiled?

I discussed those questions with the Deputy Director of BBC News, Steve Mitchell, who is, among other things, responsible for both Panorama and the Today programme.

This week's Feedback is the last of this series. We are back on air on the 28th January, but please keep in contact. We read everything you send us and our agenda is decided by you the listener.

Also if you fancy doing a report for Feedback (for love not money), investigating an issue that concerns you, then do let us know. Even I am getting bored with the sound of my voice, so yours would provide a welcome relief!

Roger Bolton is presenter of Feedback

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    Interesting to read how things worked in the BBC newsroom in the old days.

    England's chances of hosting the World Cup seem to have been torpedoed a long time ago. The BBC is not to blame for the decision taken by Fifa.

    When John Humphrys is interviewing the editor or reporter of a BBC programme he does a fine job. Nothing wrong at all with a File on 4 reporter telling Today listeners about his programme.

 

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Sue MacGregor steps down from A Good Read

Friday 3 December 2010, 11:13

Next
The Radio 4 Christmas Appeal begins on Sunday

Friday 3 December 2010, 15:07

About this Blog

Behind the scenes at Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra from producers, presenters and programme makers.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Follow Radio 4

Follow BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra on Twitter for programme highlights and interesting retweets. 

Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme