There's no doubt in a week of major news stories, that Madeleine McCann has captured the thoughts and hopes of the British public and there's a real desire for the latest updates. I thought it may be interesting and useful for the audience to have an insight into the decisions on coverage and the arrangements on the ground.
News 24's Jane Hill has been in the Algarve since Saturday morning as part of a sizeable BBC team and we have strived to try to get the tone right as well as the amount of coverage. Both in the Algarve and here in the UK, we have liaised closely with Madeleine's family and the British authorities on the wishes of the family and the facts and tone of the reporting. Early on, both ITV and Sky joined an informal pool operation in the Algarve around the family where we only showed Madeleine's parents and family by consent so as to try to avoid intrusion. The BBC helped to organise the televised statement by Mrs McCann which was pooled to British and Portuguese TV stations. Even in these difficult circumstances, the McCann's know that publicity for Madeleine is important as the search goes on.
We have called Madeleine by her full name (not Maddy), at the request of the family because it is what they call her. We passed on the accurate details of Madeleine's pyjamas, at the family's request, correcting the police's initial description. For several days there were many developments that we reported as they unfolded and large audiences watched News 24 over the Bank Holiday weekend, concerned for Madeleine. For the last couple of days, there have been fewer concrete developments (at time of writing) and the temptation for some seems to have been to report unsubstantiated rumours of which there are many to try to keep the story going - particularly when there is self-evidently high audience interest in the story itself. We have looked into many of these rumours on the ground and that is all they have so far turned out to be.
We all sincerely hope that there is a positive outcome for Madeleine and the McCanns and we will continue to try to provide the high volume of coverage and updates that the audience obviously wants, whilst respecting the family's privacy and needs and whilst striving to separate real developments from rumours.