BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Recession coverage

Jeremy Hillman Jeremy Hillman | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 23 January 2009

On the day the UK has moved into an official recession, I thought it would be worth returning to a subject which has come up before but on which we still receive a regular flow of e-mails and comments.

There's no doubt that a proportion of audiences for TV and radio, and here online, feel that the BBC is just too gloomy in its reporting of the economy. Some of you feel that the coverage is just relentlessly downbeat and while you don't question its accuracy, you tell us that it's just a switch-off and that you've heard it all before. Others, even more worryingly, feel that our reporting is positively undermining confidence and has actively contributed to the situation we're in.

On the first question, whether we're just too gloomy: it's something that we're acutely aware of and which we regularly discuss. It's a concern which has been shaping our coverage in different ways. A simple example may illustrate.

It's clear that reporting every single house price survey that comes across our desks, can, by simple dint of repetition, create an overall impression of a picture more gloomy that it is. For instance, if we report a 2% house price fall three times in one month from different organisations, it may be completely accurate. Yet some regular viewers will take away the impression that house prices are falling much more steeply, assaulted week after week by essentially the same story.

For that reason, we are very choosy about which surveys and statistics to report and we plan our coverage more broadly than a simple "on-the-day" reaction. Similarly, our "downturn" graphics with the plunging red arrow have attracted some criticism. Seen once or twice, they have a far milder effect than constant repetition many times a day over a period of weeks or months. That visual power and the reinforcing effect of repetition is something we've taken into account in designing our new "recession" branding which began today.

We've also made real efforts to reflect the nuanced picture of the economy. We understand that many people are unaffected by this recession and that some have even benefited. You can see some examples of the variety of coverage here and here. Only yesterday, we widely reported gas price cuts which will benefit millions.

Secondly, the allegation that our coverage has somehow contributed to the worsening economic conditions. It's a that view I reject, but I'm not going to pretend that we do our journalism in a total vacuum.

Clearly, confidence plays a part in any economy. Yet I don't believe that accurate and factual coverage, of the sort we provide, does anything other than help people make sensible, rational judgements about their own economic behaviour. The UK is in the midst of global financial crisis and financial reporting can surely have had nothing to do with governments around the world being forced to inject trillions of dollars into their banking systems?

The BBC has a duty to accurately report and reflect the facts and statistics of the UK economy in a proportionate and measured way and I believe we do that to the best of our ability. Our audiences would not expect us to talk up the economy any more than they would want us to talk it down.

Jeremy Hillman is editor of the business and economics unit.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Jeremy,

    ...designing our new "recession" branding which began today

    The way this branding kicked in today made me cringe. Honestly, I sometimes wish BBC editors would all be locked away in a sealed room somewhere and forced to watch and rewatch the 90s satire 'The Day Today' on an endless loop.

    I can understand sub-branding sections of the news for elections and inaugurations - but not things like this. It's all reminiscent of what the tabloids do with "Broken Britain".

    Please. Just report the news. The last thing a recession needs is RECESSION!!! branding accompanying it.
  • Comment number 3.

    No problem with your words in general, but why always images of boarded up shops to accompany them? Retailing is only a part of the economy, and actually an overdose of retail spending on borrowed money a large part of our problem.

    So a recovering economy won't be those shops reopened, it will be small firms that somehow can find something to export, and employ people to do it.

  • Comment number 4.

    I do wonder how many of these job losses are just because the companies involved can easily blame it on the recession? For instance - Earlier this month, at the same time that Stagecoach was making people redundant from their train operations they were spending millions in buying up rival bus companies in Preston (Lancs) and in Eastbourne. Increasing their monopoly hold on bus ownership in Britain, yet for some reason that's OK?

    A report in the newspapers two or three years ago investigated the relationship between the number of articles that appeared "about an economic downturn" and the actual downturn itself. At the time the ratio was quite small to in relation to the economic climate that was still booming. There was speculation though that the more the media discussed it - the more likelihood of the downturn happening. So, to a certain extent - a small percentage - the reporting could well have an effect.

    The very fact that all this was being discussed and predicted just a few years ago, just goes to show that plenty of people knew exactly what was about to happen. Yet the bankers have admitted that they were "surprised" that it did!

  • Comment number 5.

    Your article is interesting, but with regard to the second point I can remember at least two occasions recently when a report was headlined with the fact that there had been a big fall on the stock market. That would have been fine had it not been for the fact that the fall had already been followed by a rally and the index had in fact ended slightly up - a fact that only got a passing mention.
    There generally seems to be nothing particularly newsworthy for the BBC about a day when the stock market goes up - it is becoming more and more like a tabloid newspaper.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm not impressed. Regardless of the 'gloominess', I think you have failed to investigate the suspicions of many that Brown is partly responsible for the crisis been long and deep in this country and that his measures to deal with the crisis are ill-thought out. Every time a measure is introduced you report it uncritically.

    I'd rather trust somewhere like Guardian Online than the likes of Nick Robinson or Robert Peston for informed opinion - you are all govt lackeys.

  • Comment number 7.

    Please continue to report but do limit the amount of speculative articles / commentary that goes appear. If there is something new to say then that's fine but we seem to be on a umremitting single loop news cycle presently.

    Finally please report - no more "it will be annouced today that ....." Tell us after it has happened and report the consequences.

  • Comment number 8.

    The quality of BBC news reporting is inverse proportional to the amount of time given to report the news.

    Would such a dreadful situation be promoted if the BBC only had the 10pm news slot, not a 24hr rolling news station which has to fill time and does so with silly VT that only Chris Morris of Brasseye fame would copy.

    Honestly BBC, do us all a favour and axe News 24 - to bring us quality journalism once again.

  • Comment number 9.

    The Media helped to create the recession and talked us into it.

    Gloom and doom throughout - no support for the actions taken to cope with the recession, if they had we may have gone out and done our bit (Joe Public).

    Thanks BBC and the Media for your contribution to the repossessions, job lossess etc, etc. You were as much help as a chocolate teapot.

    Yet you waste millions on your so called stars and 'talk' them up even when they do wrong yet a bit of helpful propaganda to boost public confidence where it hurts us all most and were are you?

  • Comment number 10.

    I totally agree with dotconnect.

    For several weeks I have been shouting at the TV things like "Yes, we know there's a recession, downturn, whatever you want to call it. Just stop going on about it ALL day EVERY day, as you're bound to make things worse!"

    In other words, the BBC (along with most other parts of the media, to be fair) is adding to people's lack of confidence, thereby creating a vicious circle. Please tell us when jobs are being created, or remind us that many companies are doing pretty well. Even the banks are still keeping many of their staff employed - so far.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, that's all right then.

    You get a flood of e-mail, complaints, comments. You consider them and then you decide that you do your best to report in a "proportionate and measured way".

    Obviously those e-mailers, complainers and commentators are ... wrong.

    Or (and just consider this for one moment) - maybe they are right and you are sensationalising the story.

    My current favourite headline - "UK in recession as economy slides" is a case in point. Wouldn't it be enough to say "UK in recession"? That's the news.

    You refer to your coverage of house price reduction. Fair enough. But your coverage is not complete unless you explain the level from which prices are being reduced. A 12% reduction from an all time high actually isn't a bad thing. Without context your coverage is misleading and sensational.

    Don't kid yourself - your sensational, negative reporting IS having an impact on how we react to the crisis, becasue, er, it is from you that we find out about it.

    No "accurate and factual coverage" here , then, I am afraid. Sensational scare mongering being the order of the day. Even if you disagree with this, it would apear that enough of your viewers express sufficient concern about it that you feel it necessary to publish a rebuttal.

    So, perhaps you are wrong?



  • Comment number 12.

    I do think the gloomy news isn't helping us one bit.

    From a personal point of view, this constant barrage of negitivity is having an effect on my spending, I might want to buy a dvd for £5 but I have what I call a little BBC news voice in my head (so named as you're the only news channel I watch) saying "You shouldn't really be getting that there's a resession happening you know".

    yes you should report the news as it comes but I would like to know how many employers have been letting staff go so they don't suffer so badly when they're finanical figures might be ok. This would be a case of the news aiding unemployment through negative press.

    It is false I believe to think that the actions of the BBC do not have a negative effect on the ecconomy as you influence peoples decisions wether you like it or now.

    Do you think the situation would have declined so quickly if there wasn't 24 hour a day reporting on the issue?

    You don't need to talk up or down, but I have no seen a single report of a company who is holding there own during this time, have you investigated this?

    What about people who are attemting start ups during this time has all human enterprise failed because of it?

  • Comment number 13.

    Interesting that you seek to justify your coverage. Could I suggest that you take a hard, long look at the all too evident bias in reporting from Messrs Robinson and Peston? I stopped believing in your news when I realised how rarely you reported accurately anything other than the latest spin from this discredited Government.

  • Comment number 14.

    I have no problem with your reporting, but to your point re-dressing multiple sources of information multiples times in one month (e.g. house prices) can be overwhelmingly downbeat, especially when you report on both the Halifax and Nationwide 'scary' numbers which are to a degree exaggerated. More balance would be nice e.g. also quote the FT housing index which is based on actual closed sales and is far less downbeat... or even report the fact house purchase enquiries in Jan were the highest in the last five years - it is not only accurate but nice to digest in a period when most news is gloomy. Dare I say it, deliver a 'glimmer of hope'. All about balance.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is all part of a wider debate on the journalistic standards on the bbc website. There seems to be a pressure to generate a constant stream of content at the expense of meaningful journalism. Regurgitating housing price surveys or second hand stories from the press association does not cut it.

    On the point of bbc coverage contributing to the current economic problems, Robert Peston's early and irresponsible breaking of the Northern Rock story was instrumental in the first run on a bank in living memory and the start of the current loss in confidence in the baking industry as a whole.

    He could have acted in the best interests of the country and allowed the BofE to effect a rescue.

    Instead he chose to make a name for himself.

    And on a more general point, recessions are partly a state of mind. When this is constantly reinforced through the omnipresent media there must be a chance that this leads to a reinforcement of negative sentiment, reduced consumption and greater saving.

  • Comment number 16.

    No I don't think you are being too gloomy, indeed your journalists seem to be positively ecstatic every time they announce another thousand job cuts. I can only conclude that like some other commentators that there are far too many journalists at the BBC for the amount of news to report on. It would be nice to see the BBC shedding staff in line with the national trend, I'm sure that would bring a dose of reality home to those gloating over the misfortune of others.

    Whilst I am sure that the recession has been caused by many factors, your continual downbeat reporting only exacerbates the issue. Very much like the please don't rush out and buy petrol stories - which lead to everyone rushing out and buying petrol - yes you really can create an issue out of nothing.

  • Comment number 17.

    the trouble is, we are TALKING OURSELVES into this recession.

    the more people go on about it, the worse it gets.
    Look at Peston and his 'breaking news' that Northern rock were having problems?

    The BBC made such a fuss about it that all those poor people ran to the bank to withdraw their shares and savings, whereas if it hadnt been so sensationally covered, do you really think there would have been such a great impact on the bank? I think not.

    Every time i see Robert Peston on the telly i cringe because i know that the stock market listens to what he has to say - and there's no getting away from the fact that the man is seriously switched on and knows his stuff - his words effect the stock market.

    The BBC, while i appreciate the coverage and avidly watch news24 every day, really must start thinking about how their coverage is effecting everyone.

    my humble opinion is that this so-called recession is probably just what the country needs, to clear away all the failing firms and under achieving companies, leaving strong flourishing firms to move on and spur small buisnesses to flourish after this is all over.

    who really thought that woolworths were ever going to last that long anayway?

    This could be a blessing in disguise and we should be looking at the lessons learned from the 90's to decide the best way to steer ourselves out of the current situation, not throwing money at iut like Gordy seems to think is the best way.

    keep up the good work but for heavens sake stop being so sensational about the coverage!

  • Comment number 18.

    theSkipper @1,

    First the BBC should publish the Balen Report.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just report the news and be objective.




  • Comment number 20.

    it does go on a bit...everything is over the top....ok things are bad.......or so we are told.....are they that bad? it seems the media get a bit bit bored and interview some bloke whose worked 20000 years in the same job and now(god forbid) he has to do something else. i mean ok some of us dont know where the next holidays coming from...but get real....people are better off now than they have ever been.....and any problems about the credit crunch are due to us being greedy.....and im not supporting brown...he s a disaster...but i dont need people like victoria derbyshire interviewing some bloke who was on 30 grand ,(and she earns that in a month probobly) saying how terrible things are....i mean my old man told me(god rest his soul) pressure son ..."is a jap machine gunner pointing his gun at you!"!!!get real bbc and also dont go on about mps misusing public money as if the bbc never claim expenses...do me a favour.

  • Comment number 21.

    The BBC is becoming like Alice in Wonderland. Jeremy Hillman is waffling on about accurate and factual reporting on the economy whilst the inaccurate and bias reporting of the slaughter of the people of Gaza is actually adjudged by the BBC' internal investigation to be bias against Israel. And in the topsy turvy world of BBC decision making they refuse to broadcast a charitable appeal for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee because it might suggest bias towards the Palestinians. It's about time the public pulled the financial plug on the BBC and dispensed with this discredited organisation.

  • Comment number 22.

    SPEND THE 200 BILL ON BUILDING COUNCIL HOUSES.

    If Gordon Brown has 200 billion to spend, I suggest he uses it in a helpful way rather than squander OUR money. There is a council housing shortage, and a rise in builders going bust. Use that money to build 300.000 (or more) council houses around the country and the building trade will be revitalised, its been long said by many governments that its the builders that keep the economy afloat. LISTEN to themselves for a change and do what makes sense. this will kick the economy into life and solve the chronic housing shortage councils have. Also they have rents collected to repay the 200 billion. who knows in 10 years they can sell to the tenants.

  • Comment number 23.

    #21 i agree...the fuss the beeb made about mps expenses claims.......i mean ok im no mp fan but i bet the bbc journalists claim just as much....i notice most out in washington on tuesday were back thursday...how much is this costing us....? forget about the 697bn disaster from brown. the beeb is costing us in other ways.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    It's difficult to be able to convey the true effects of the recession, unemployment and it's other consequences because those who deliver the news are patently not unemployed. This is not as trivial as it may at first seem. People switch off because the news is depressing and when one is depressed the last thing one wishes to watch are highly paid individuals telling one how tough things really are.

  • Comment number 26.

    The media and all those who edit and present the news do seem to be enjoying the economic woe,s of the country at the present time ,
    over dramatic musical intro to any piece of news ,always pushing the negative side of the days events ,
    ramming all this at us on every news
    bulletin (it seems nobody wants to re write the script) there does not seem to be enough news to fill the time given to news programs,
    always cutting short any person who may be trying to put any positive views across,send your reporters out to find some more positive new i am sure there is some
    out there ,we all know there is a problem so lets get some upbeat views and ideas ,stop making things
    worst with your armageddon news
    reporting .
    one last thing could you please give
    you reporters and presenters a few new strap lines the terms,
    CREDIT CRUNCH and
    THE BBC HAS LEARNED (nothing) are wearing a bit thin .
    lets start getting a bit more positive

  • Comment number 27.

    Two things came to mind when reading this blog...the first was a headline on the BBC news website 'house prices to fall by 30%', this turned out to be a comment by the head of Barclays. I understand he is in a good position to give an opinion but the fact that it was just that, an opinion, and not hard fact did not come across at all in the headline.
    The second was an interview last week on the Today programme with two economists where the interviewer consistently ignored the two economists upbeat comments in favour of the more dramatic. They both agreed that even the worst predictions by economists is that GDP will shrink by 2-3% (in the 1990 recession GDP shrank by 3-4% and the economy has grown by 50% since then). The only proviso they gave was that they could not predict with certainty because the recession could be deepened by the coverage given by the media...the interviewer glossed over this by consistently asking them to predict 'just how bad is it going to get....' Balanced, impartial coverage?

  • Comment number 28.

    Until Northern Rock all we ever heard about was Iraq. And since then, all we hear are cherry-picked doom and gloom from the economy. My opinion is the financial sector created this recession, the government allowed it to happen, and finally, the media exaggerate it's extent on a daily basis. The economy is largely fueled not just by credit, but by confidence. The daily battering we get on the TV, Radio and newspapers is eroding this confidence and exaggerating the problem. People stop spending in shops, decide to delay selling their home, etc.. We are all behaving differently because we are told the end is near every minute of the day. I don't feel the positive stories are relayed to us. They do exist. Not every store experienced a downturn in the last quarter of 2008. It's not all bad. We are still fortunate in the grand scheme of things. Let's be more positive please.

  • Comment number 29.

    It's all your fault.

    Nothing to do with those naughty bankers.

  • Comment number 30.

    Keynsian economics. Build rent to buy houses. Power stations (The Hoover Dam was a depression buster) People earn money, they spend it, more people are needed to serve them, make the things they want etc

    Simple!

  • Comment number 31.

    The news on the BBC over the past year or so has been incredibly downbeat every evening, and it seems very hard to believe that this hasn't contributed to a large extent to our current situation. I agree with the others who have noted that quoting individuals out of context now seems to be considered news, and that everything is very sensationalist. Can't we return to sticking to the facts, not speculating on what might happen and a little more balance? We weren't told every day for the past 10 years how many jobs were being created but apparently we now need to be told about every single job loss across the country, as though this is somehow a completely new phenomenon. I've given up watching and just get my news online now.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm afraid your reporting tonight struck me as odd. You seemed to be doing a party political broadcast for the government which has relentlessly tried to characterize this recession as the fault of the US. You did exactly the same-it was all about the US sub-prime as the main cause. Not a word about our own sub prime-ie 'self cert' mortgages, the house price inflation bubble , the sea of debt we are on. You could hardly have more Gordon Brown friendly. Then we got the phone call between Obama and Brown with no mention of the fact reported in Reuters that he had spent Friday calling world leaders. I find all of this pretty disgusting.

  • Comment number 33.

    BBC News Monday, Bad news
    BBC News Tuesday, More Bad news
    BBC News Wednesday, Worst Bad news
    BBC News Thursday, More Terrible news
    As people start looking towards the weekends, I think it time, that a law is passed that only good news is broadcast on a Friday and hopefully sending everyone into Saturday with an upbeat feeling and waking up positive ready for the challenges facing them in the week ahead.

  • Comment number 34.

    I look at the BBC news site everyday and whilst I believe that it is one of the best sources for news I do think that it is going a bit overboard with the crisis. There must be a whole department dedicated to making graphics of arrows pointing downwards and photos of job centres and depressed areas. Everyday the slightest murmur on the stock markets is reported as headline news whilst anything positive is on a link hidden away at the side of the page. Like Terrorism the primary purpose of which is to gain publicity, the crisis will only get worse with constant media sensationalism. The BBC must share part of the blame for the falls in consumer confidence.

  • Comment number 35.

    We've seen images on BBC WorldTV and on BBC sites of homeless people in America eating at various charitable cafeterias available to them. Now how about some comparable footage of homeless in Britain and how they are treated or does BBC just sweep that under the rug. Don't tell me, there are no homeless in Britain and everyone is well fed even if they've been without a job for a year.

  • Comment number 36.

    RECESSION BRANDING

    what do you think this is...

    fast moving consumer goods

    Recession is a condition not a brand requiring an image.

    Do you all have huge student debts from doing media studies

    Did you all have shares in banks?

    Do all of you have huge mortgages or something? Ot lots of credit cards?

    Many of us don't have huge debts. If we do, then the cost has gone down as interest rates have reduced, Petrol prices have come down again, Gas bills etc are coming down again, VAT is down

    THIS MEANS THE NUMBER OF POUNDS IN OUR POCKETS JUST MIGHT BE UP.

    We might be able to reduce debt or spend on a UK holiday or something made in Britain or just shove it in the bank to increase deposits

  • Comment number 37.

    Oh and by the way regurgitating a press release from the Halifax or the Nationwide or the Council of Mortgage Lenders or the British Retail Consortium is not reporting the news. Its providing an outlet for spin

    If I am a chief exec of a plc and I think that dividends might be lower, I don't wait until they are paid.... I soften the shareholders up with 'difficult trading conditions' press releases months in advance

    Maybe trading conditions are difficult but maybe there's an acquisition too far or libor has gone up or exchange rates have impacted on costs etc.

    Get off your butts and look behind the announcements. If I can find relevant info on the web so can you.

  • Comment number 38.

    And .....

    The BBC aren't a tabloid, you don't have to attract a purchaser with a snappy pic or 'sling your hook' type headline

    Write measured prose. Take your time. I used to be proud of the BBC but actually, right now, the little englander, narrow, biased, miserable, brown broadcasting corporation approach to reporting on this web-site is a bit embarrasing.

  • Comment number 39.

    And finally...

    How many people do you think the BBC might have offended world wide by refusing to run a DRC ad?? Its not just people in the UK that use the site

    Do you now decide what are worthy disasters or emergencies

  • Comment number 40.

    If the BBC had not played the PC game throughout the global economic decline there would be no need for recognising this or any other day in terms of how long it has been. For most people today was probably pretty much the same as yesterday and the day before. But the BBC do not do "most people" do they?

    We get the "house price guide" when the majority do not own property. We get the "share price guide" when the majority do not have shares. We get the "school league tables" when most people do not have a choice. You may want to consider why your reports are always so darned middle class.

    Most people includes the person who has had a job for thirty five years and now finds themselves out of a job. They read the hype about how the Government helps the unemployed to retrain and then finds that when they attend the job centre they are just another number on an increasing spiral of pain. They find there is no real strategy for retraining because no one actually knows where the jobs will be in six months time. But no matter you can still spend the redundancy money on a training package that will keep you busy for a while if nothing else.

    The media really are clueless about what the UK is really like for the disadvantaged. From somebody who could hold their head high in a job you are suddenly a nobody, a scrounger, a statistic that'll simply stick in a politicians throat for a second or two. And then Mr Brown will condescend to say "do not worry you are safe in our hands". Of course he will not be there when the bailiffs arrive, and nor will anyone else of any clout.

    And your local authority will still be pushing up your Council Tax bill as the Government cut their supporting finances once again. So although you are already pretty darned poor you can rely on the politician to make it even more painful. And the worse of it is that your taxes are going to the bunch of thieves who started the collapse in the first place! No what was it that democracy was intended to do?

  • Comment number 41.

    "For that reason, we are very choosy about which surveys and statistics to report and we plan our coverage more broadly than a simple "on-the-day" reaction. "


    So you just do you choose???????

    So how do you decide what we should know or not????

    And actually you do do on the day reactions... they are there every day

    Sometimes you report on movement on the stock market or the pound that are completely out of whack three hours later

    Perhaps you don't read your own coverage

  • Comment number 42.

    "The UK is in the midst of global financial crisis and financial reporting can surely have had nothing to do with governments around the world being forced to inject trillions of dollars into their banking systems?"

    Oh really

    Have the japanese, indians or the chinese injected trillions of dollars into their BANKING systems?

    Really?

    These are big economies. check current account balances, trade balances and compare these to the UKs. Compare these per head of population.

    And if you had written governments around the world collectively having injected.....

    it might be a better way of writing

  • Comment number 43.

    and really, finally...
    as editor of the business and economic unit how about....

    considering the impact of rising commodity, food, fuel, and oil prices on increases in GDP and then considering what happens when they reduce again. They don't just impact on consumer price inflation you know

    AND your employers did talk up the economy and added fuel to the fire of property ownership (not home ownership) through endless Homes Under the Hammer, To buy or not to Buy daily programmes for years on end.

  • Comment number 44.

    AN AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCE

    BHP BILLITON BOARD – “AUSTRALIAN TRUST FOREVER LOST”

    A) QUESTIONABLE FRIEND OF AUSTRALIA OR AUSTRALIANS?
    B) QUESTIONABLE FRIEND OF ANYONE? (Except their “A” class shareholders)

    BHP BILLITON BOARD
    Don ARGUS Chairman
    Marius KLOPPERS
    Paul ANDERSON
    Alan BOECKMANN
    John BUCHANAN
    Carlos CORDEIRO
    David CRAWFORD
    Gail de PLANQUE
    David JENKINS
    David MORGAN
    Jacques NASSER
    Keith RUMBLE
    John SCHUBERT
    Jane McALOON

    CAVEAT EMPTOR – to all elected/non elected Australian citizens, when listening to the business spin by these citizens of the multinational business world listed above.

    Just a month ago (18th December 2008) Don ARGUS stated in a letter to its shareholders:
    Extract - A strong future
    As to the future, I want to be very clear that BHP Billiton, as a standalone company, is in a strong financial and operating position. We believe we are better placed than our competitors in these challenging times to respond to the fluctuating demand for our products. We have:
    (1) A portfolio of long-life, low cost, expandable, tier one assets. As a result of this portfolio, and low-cost position, BHP Billiton’s margins are the highest among the industry and in these difficult times, we expect to outperform our peers.
    (2) A very strong balance sheet, with a net debt level of just US$6.3 billion at 31st October 2008 against a market capitalisation of around US$115 billion as of the date of this letter, as well as robust cash flows to support investments through the commodity cycle. (NOTE: US$ dollars)

    SEE CHARTER - http://www.bhpbilliton.com/bb/aboutUs/charter.jsp

    Based on the ARGUS statements to shareholders, the board of BHP Billiton has shown a complete lack of governance, morality and ethical practice in its business operations:

    (1) BHP Billiton - Has sufficient cash reserves to maintain its workforce for many years, without destroying whole communities and the individual livelihood of thousands of Australians and associated small business houses established to service such communities.

    (2) Instead of merely looking at “bottom line profits” this inept board could have completely upgraded their operating and processing systems, thereby improving business efficiencies – instead, it chose to “off-offhandedly” close-down and payout some A$300+ million in redundancy payouts to over 2,000 of its discarded workforce, whilst paying little or NO heed to the plight of hundreds of external contractors and their families.

    The board of BHP Billiton has put pure greed for $$$$’s before society and human lives and effectively destroyed the complete economies of large tracts of regional Australia.

    HOW MUCH LONGER ARE AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS GOING TO LET OUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVE/S TOLERATE SUCH BUSINESS BEHAVIOUR BY UNETHICAL MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS? TELL YOUR “POLITICIANS” WHAT YOU REALLY THINK…THERE ARE ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS.

  • Comment number 45.

    to be frank the smugness of this article has irritated me intensely - it must be obvious and I have something else to say...

    so you are choosy about stats and data, yeah, right and not exactly the way we might think

    1) the Halifax data (and you do report on this) is based on their lending data - not anyone elses and they are part of HBOS. What does this mean do you think??????
    WHY don't you preface your comments with this info

    2) Nationwide data is based on their lending data. Why don't you preface your reports with this info too

    3) It took months of moaning before you started reporting the independent Land Registry data which is all sales whether a mortgage is needed or not and the report you finally made on their data was down in about 36 hours

    If I know this, so should you and your minions

  • Comment number 46.

    This is something we keep talking about in India: does the media, especially the electronic one, have a role in determining the psychological and emotional climate of the country? In India, it hugely does. Take the recent tragedy of the Mumbai terror attacks. That the nation temporarily underwent a phase of blood-thirsty hysteria was largely due to the childish and unprofessional coverage of the fledgeling news channels that have mushroomed in recent times.

    Media not only has the responsibility of addressing democratic citizenry's need to be informed, but also to assess how reporting facts for its own sake impacts on a people's emotional make up.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Influence: Science and Practice" by the psychologist Roberto Cialdini: should be required reading for all journalists. If you don't think the way you report the "facts" (or even which facts you choose to report) has any direct influence on the behaviour of the population, you're living with your heads in the clouds.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think we have to be mindful that, especially in the case of the housing market, when prices were booming reports on the BBC and elsewhere said 'prices up another x% this month making it 15% this year to date - buy now or miss out!' This was complemented by other areas of economic growth 'best christmas ever - expectations exceeded' just one to mention.

    In short we had become extremely materialistic, this driving the economy forward driven by easy credit and the house value 'feel good' factor' - now in a falling economy, these factors are reversed and quite rightly, many feel frightened as for a those under 30, they may not have known anything else but good times.

    As stated above, some of the 'bad' news has become too repetitive to be reported. House price falls are now old news - it is only news if the rate of fall begins to slow so we don't hear about it. Places like the Halifax realised they were shooting themselves in the foot by predicting widely expected house price falls so stopped doing it!

    Overall however, I don't think the BBC is too gloomy, just realistic. I did also notice in the past week they are reporting in a 'it's not as bad as all that' kind of way especially yesterday when we got confirmation of a recession being real as we all expected. The stock market is trading as carefully as if they were walking on eggshells right now so little to report.

    Also we are moving away from materialistic stories to those of well being and how to live in the new credit era, had to happen!

  • Comment number 49.

    As a small businessman who imports and exports product Worldwide, I am frankly outraged at your myopic coverage of the recession. Especially in prime time news programs. You have made no effort to cover what is happening in this regard in the rest of Europe or the world and have instead spread gloom throughout the Nation with no balancing effort in terms of the effects of the worldwide situation or indeed any "good news" stories in this regard, from the UK.
    It is my considered opinion that the BBC and news media in general is responsible for a fair part of the "zero confidence" in the Pound, just by pumping out a relentless surge of DOOM. For sure the UK economy is in the toilet, but so are most economies in the World. Why not do your country a favour.
    As a "proclaimed" news organisation which purports to have reporters in every part of our Globe, why not bring us some reports of what is happening elsewhere as a counter balance? Or maybe that is outside your budget!
    Frankly "BBC Prime Time News" in the UK has decended to an all time low. Those of us who do still have a job (and not live in a cosy, isolated world where some big boss pays our wages no matter what piffle we turn out) need to see NEWS between the hours of 7 & 8.30 AM.
    We really don't care about what the presenter had for breakfast, what minor celebrity is desperate to promote their new film or play or who did what on X factor or Come Dancing. If I want to know that, I can purchase on of a zillion rubbish magazines that feed from that kind of trivial rubbish.
    I would ask the BBC to broadcast News!
    Real news from a Global perspective that may actually assist those of us who work like dogs to find out what is happening in the WORLD, not just some cosy, isolated part of a BBC studio somehwere in London.
    Please don't fill those valuable minutes with trivia, leave that to ITV and just give us REAL NEWS about the WORLD and what is happening in it, from a global perspective. Most of us couldn't care about what happens in the next terrible installment of come dancing, we want NEWS! - factual and independant with a Global view.

  • Comment number 50.

    I would advise reporting the facts as they happen and not speculate on what might happen. There are so many experts out there but nobody really knows what will happen in the future.

    There is lots to report on that has occured up to the present point.
    You could investigate Gordon Brown to establish if he is responsible in anyway for the financial crisis, his role in the Equitable Life affair, why he sings the praises of a "novice" new president, why his government manipulate crime figures.


  • Comment number 51.

    Disingenuous.

    BBC News was signalling Recession weeks before the official event to add impact to the reporting. The "R" word?

    Once the event was statistically announced it was welcomed with open arms by News Editors and the woe went into over-drive.

    Yet, economically, nothing had changed from the previous day.

    Callled, making news.

  • Comment number 52.

    Your recession coverage has not gone far enough, the UK's PM has much to answer for, this is the man who has squandered billions of tax payers money.

    This on it's own is bad enough, however, the very real crisis impacting PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS who are the first to be laid off has been woefully under reported, private sector workers are the ones who have to suffer for Labour's mismanagement of the economy.

    And for all the Derek 'Dolly' Draper clones who have left posts accusing the BBC of over reporting the Recession ( as if you could over report such a crucial issue), I suggest that you try working in the private sector where job losses are occurring every minute.


  • Comment number 53.

    #47

    Without wishing to diminish the credentials of the good psychologist, influence is the responsibility of the receiver NOT the giver, and this is just another handout to the PC club. The only person in control of you is you, and even if you are incarcerated and tortured, it is you who will finally give in or die. The injustice of being incarcerated and tortured will not help you one little bit since it is something you cannot control. In other words the only reality that matters is the one you experience.

    The BBC's duty is to report fact as in "the cat sat on the mat" and not get into uncorroborated opinion such as "the cat was comfortably sitting on the mat" or "the cat's body language showed it was not comfortable sitting on the mat".

    When the BBC shows largesse in reporting good times then it will exaggerate in the bad times too. This is the "drama queen" response to everything. You will notice that politicians do it all the time and it is "impact" behaviour rather than "influence". So what about subliminal effects of broadcasting? Is there evidence that if you repeat something often enough then it will imprint subconsciously? Well no, actually, unless it is done while your conscious self is distracted (i.e. you are not listening or watching). Since you are responsible for your conscious self then even here it is the receiver who is responsible for what enters their head subconsciously.

    In Eastern cultures the concept of individual responsibility and control is an empowerment (i.e. a benefit) since it allows you to "appear" to assimilate when you are actually not doing anything of the sort. The PC brigade have done much to decimate individual responsibility for self control, as can be determined by our blame culture.

    If our world really is dictated by the media then the answer to everything is to switch if all off now. Trouble is the recession will still be there even several months after the media have been dispatched. We do have individual thoughts and the ability to act on them. That so many people behave like clones is down to them and not down to the broadcaster they choose to listen to.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why not just report the NEWS.
    Good or bad I would like an unbiased, honest report on what is happening.
    Manufacturing news is insulting to people who are seeing with their own eyes what is going on.
    People are losing faith that an instituation like the BBC can simply report the truth without fear our favour.
    HYS is a good example of this, it simply refuses to allow any meaningful questions on it's site and only the most insipid views get passed the moderators.
    Do the BBC not want the views of the general public?
    Who are they listening too?

  • Comment number 55.

    Great post. I for one believe you have the balance about right - whilst I think the 'perfect storm' combination of factors in this recession will make it unlike any we have ever witnessed, the sun will go on rising, the world will go on turning, and we'll get through it whether it takes twelve months or twelve years.

    I only wish you'd take the same measured approach with 'moral' panics such as binge drinking, obesity and climate change, especially where studies are concerned (let's face it, anyone can buy themselves scientific credibility nowadays).

    Some days it's difficult to tell the BBC's front page and the Daily Mail's apart where certain topics are concerned - I thought liberals weren't meant to get all morally righteous about things but to coolly examine the facts?

  • Comment number 56.

    When are your news bulletins going to report only the facts of the recession?

    This contant speculation about how bad it is going to get is further undermining the confidence of the consumer.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hey!

    Why are the BBC's Editors silent on the biggest scandal since Hutton?

    Is it really about towing the line? Do you really think that the most senior BBC management haven't been receiving phone calls from Palace Green or Tel Aviv? Can anything else really explain this outrage?

    Isn't it time the whole management team fell on their collective sword?

    And why silence from the editors? Have you really been so emasculated? Have you really got no personal integrity left?

    Why aren't you at the forefront in organising your staff to confront this blatant attempt to undermine the integrity of the BBC? Why haven't you halted all production until management reconsider their base capitulation to pressure?
    Its time the BBC staff walked out.

    Where are your principles?

  • Comment number 58.

    Dear BBC, please see above!

  • Comment number 59.

    I am tired of the endless repetition on the BBc news - tv and radio - during the last 10 or 12 days of the Baroness Vadera's remarks about "green shoots of recovery"' By contrast, on the day this so-called news broke, I listened to Channel 4 evening news with Jon Snow. He mentioned it once.

    This woman is a junior politician of no great political significance - very few people will have any idea who she is - but she is excoriated by the BBC as though her remarks had some overwhelming political influence. It is still being referred to by your economic commentators. This adds nothing to our understanding and assessment of the present economic crisis.

    I am accustomed to high standards from the BBC News. They don 't have to try to emulate the Daily Mail.


  • Comment number 60.

    I wonder how many people Robert Peston has made redundant? He's made his name at the expense - literally - many others.

  • Comment number 61.

    Actually Jeremy, I do regularly question the accuracy of these reports, downbeat or not.

    I believe the parameters of the debate are very narrow - eg: X was down by Y percent; the average is Z.

    Many of the concepts are ones people do not understand - eg: Mortgage approvals fell 50 percent from 140000 to 70000 then rose 50 percent, perhaps, in the future.

    Many conclude - down 50 percent, up 50 percent = back to square one, but of course this is not so. People do not understand statistics anyway for the most part, many do not hold water (eg why did the journalist or his interlocutor choose a particular base year?)

    The housing market reporting is also full of fallacies: A key one is - the average price was down X percent hence the market is in a slump.

    But in truth these figures are based on relatively few sales - hence this is not a whole of market figure, and the "average" drop typically factors in the disproportionately negative effect of an (originally overpriced) large dwelling getting a huge amount lopped off to sell at all, as oposed to a much smaller amount shaved off a more modest property.

    Inflation: CPI, RPI, core inflation, call it what you will - but how come it never reflects the cost of living? Many journos factored out things such as petrol and energy costs when inflation was hitting the roof ("officially" about 4.5 %) but suddenly include such variables on the way down again in concluding deflation is on the doorstep.

    I have taken my hat off, in contrast, to the Daily Telegraph, for recently calculating a series of inflation indexes for different social strata. Why include the likes of an IPod in the basket of products for (eg) a pensioner who may not want something new-fangled? And why include one when it is not something anyone of any age is likely to replace year-on-year, rendering price comparisons redundant.

  • Comment number 62.

    Forgive me a second post but on Vadera's green shoots the whole story was a blatent example of non-journalism at work (I am one, incidentally).It was ITV who used the expression and she repeated it in the context of saying, yes, actually there were some little chinks of light in the dark depressionary tunnel. She did not come out with it off the top of her head a la Lamont.

  • Comment number 63.

    In 2006, a long term, 10 year PTC was discussed, and successfully passed in the end of 2008 for Native Americans. This PTC was designed to make help the poverty which is devastating Native Americans. Although the opposite has happened, poverty levels actually increased while Natives had the PTC.

    Also to help stimulate Native Americans to build wind the Federal Government even gave a higher PTC for the Native Americans, which is 4.5 cents/KwH.

    The Native Americans also had trouble finding bankers for their projects. The only know Native American tribe that tried to find a Banker failed to do so. Native Americans can not even find one banker to help them build a wind farm.

  • Comment number 64.

    Given that not a single financial expert managed to publicly forewarn us of what was about to happen it seems rather rich that these same people are to commentate our way through it, and deliberate whether talking up or talking down is contained in their submissions.

    Can it not be safely assumed that as no one knows how we got where we are then no one is going to know how to get us out. That we are lost in an economic storm of Force Ten proportions would it not be better to sack your existing staff and get people in who know what they are talking about.

    I first heard about the risks of economic meltdown in western economies from an American economist on a UK commercial radio station shortly before Enron collapsed. Sadly I cannot remember his name from the very short (two minutes or less) commentary, but I do remember him referring to "a worrying number of high risk loans in the US". He and others like him appeared very aware of the dangerous holes in western banking so why are people like this not being given more airplay now to help solve the crisis we have gotten into?

  • Comment number 65.

    Either ways (overkill of recession news or a positive report on a gloomy global crisis) your reporting will be damned!

    Your audiences will always have certain biases the same way as your reporting. People have the tendency to pick-up negative reports the faster way than the positive messages so it is not good that the media in general conveniently use that for a higher rating or profit.

    I watch BBC everyday because I still believe in your coverage. I process the gloomy news in such a way that it should not affect the way I look and understand the world. When I watch your coverage on wars, I just wish that these people will be given more strength to overcome the pain and grief. When I see the stocks falling, I just wish there is no way to go but up again. When I see cholera and unrest in Zimbabwe, I wish I could do something from my end and give these people some more hope. And I still see beauty in my life, even with all the grim news we watch and hear! Because news are news, and the way we live and decide for our own families, communities and countries are our own discretion and direction.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think the problem is not with individual coverage of the recession. It is that the media of all types is so much larger than ever before. In the last recession there was no WWW, no 24 hour news channels and so many more channels reporting the news.

    We are bombarded 24/7 with 99% pessimistic news, so that is what we believe in. The trouble is it can end up making us avoid the news, which is never a good thing.

    Balance is hard when it is a story that is all around us and very personal to people. If we are in a bad situation isn't it part of being responsible media organizations to give people things to lift their spirit, as happened in WW2. If they had the current media then we would have thrown in the towel in 1940.

  • Comment number 67.

    While the media in general appear to have achieved their goal of recession, some elements yesterday were talking about depression. Is this their next target?

    The reporting of extremely negative and in my opinion, damaging predictions of so called financial commentators is not helping. Please stick to the facts.

    I find it strange that this is supposed to be a global recession, when we seem to be in a worse state than any other country. The governments handling, I feel, is the main cause of this but the media in my view have got to accept some responsibility.

    Please bear in mind what the results of your negativity may be, before printing or broadcasting.

  • Comment number 68.

    Accurate reporting does help people make rational and logical decisions about financial matters. Unfortunately it is not the only dimension to that decision making; much of it is in the emotional realm as it impacts on individual hopes, dreams, fears and an underlying sense of financial security. Consequently the tone and the language used in reporting facts accurately matters.

    While I am sure that the accurate reporting by the BBC does not move markets in the sense of insider trading, this information is fed by ticker and broadcast onto trading desks in dealing rooms worldwide. If the veracity of the story is believed then it does form part of the decision making that does move markets.

    I agree with earlier comments on the need to set stories in context and a proportionate sense of scale. Markets moving 3-5% intra day may be historically abnormal but now it is usual and therefore not worthy of comment unless something new to say alongside.

    Personally I have almost stopped listening and viewing radio and tv commentary as the online blogs and articles are more considered and temperate in tone.

  • Comment number 69.

    Jeremy, I think the BBC coverage is generally fair and balanced when it comes to economics. One can hardly blame the messenger when it comes to reporting such news.

    Perhaps a positive twist with some speculation/ informed opinion on the horizon of the recession would be useful so viewers can at least picture the light at the end of the tunnel. Recommendations of what the man in the street can do as part of these reports will certainly make viewers a touch less suicidal.

    And BBC's Peston's Picks blog is certainly worth it's screenspace in gold!

    Jo - World Finance and Economics blog

  • Comment number 70.

    I am not surprised at the relatively easy ride given to the perpetrators in what is, I have to say, the most breathtaking swindle ever seen by mankind. As part of the wreckage of 92 the one thing that was noticable was that the Law meant to protect you was available if you had money.

    There were no Lawyers wanting to take up an Anglo French banking issue on a pro bono basis even when provided with the evidence that the Bank in my case BNP had misrepresented its loan to us. Frankly even if I do have a certain amount of sympathy with all those who got on the bandwagon between then and now I watched from the sidelines as house prices became totally unaffordable.

    Those like myself who knew this was unsustainable and then hearing Banks lending 5 or 6 times minimum income knew this would end in catastrophe. If we did, then the better educated in Politics should have seen it as well. Truth is they probably did but did nothing as long as the goose was producing. I did not loose my house because I was careless- I lost it because the Government department I worked for paid so badly that it was only when it merged with HMRC that we found out how badly we had been paid.

    The truth is that the Government now want the Banks to lend, but they say it has to be responsible lending. That means that current house prices are no longer supportable and that prices will now fall further. The average wage we are told, is 27,000 and that will probably fall as more lose their jobs. It may fall as low as 20K and the banks are requiring 30% deposits and we are told that 90% mortgages are a thing of the past. (This they would be if a 30% deposit is required).

    It is clear then that the average buyer will have to be looking at house prices at not much more than 90K in order to kick start the housing market again. Bring it on I say and lets have some clarity about the problems. As to confidence in the Banking market- how can we have confidence when so many of the architects of this are walking away with bonuses and looking for safer jobs. Sequestration must be the order of the day.

  • Comment number 71.

    One of the biggest problems posed by the current recession is the use of economists and economic surveys.The old joke was that put three economists in a room and you'll get seven responses.
    There is, therefore ,a fundamental question that has to be addressed.Do we learn anything by consulting experts on the economy or do they add to the confusion and uncertainty?

    Opening the discussion to the BBC coverage in general is odd to note the strange absence of reports from Europe.
    We are a major part of the EU but we hear nothing of what is happening in France Germany and Italy-to name the obvious candidates.
    If the BBC were to provide a European context it would assist the viewer and listener in making an informed judgement as to how we are doing.

    Finally there is the role of the small business.

    Small businesses are the major employers in the UK yet there is no real response or coverage of the problems and opportunities they are facing.

    I have worked in the entrepreneurship field for over fifteen years now and a different story is emerging at the grassroots level.
    Many people with redundancy looming are using this as a time to assess where they are with their lives. Do not imagine this is the preserve of the professional middle class.
    A recent discussion with a medium length employee revealed an anger at "being used" and a desire to take control of her own life.As it was so aptly put"If some fool is going to ruin my life I would rather that fool was me".

    One of the most interesting comments to me yesterday was "Entrepreneurs capitalise on chaos" so I would like to hear how entrepreneurs(not,please,the usual Dragons den lot) tackle the recession.
    Food for thought?
    Iain Scott

  • Comment number 72.

    It is obvious that the government keeps leaking information to the BBC prior to the it being released more conventionally. Whilst this may present opportunity for the BBC it is dangerously close to being a conduit for HMG policy. And it has to be said there appears to be convergence on the matter. Further when interviewing big business it does appear that what the big businesses rep has to say never seems to be questioned to any great extent. It is quite obvious that both HMG and big business are both interested in defending their own positions and promoting their own policies. It is the lack of analysis which is the problem. At times it appears very shallow.

  • Comment number 73.

    You could look at several other articles and blogs to consider whta might be appropriate

    For example the web-site has an article about GE profits...

    The headline to this could have been

    GE records third best ever annual results but still disappoints

    instead it said 'GE reports sharp drop in profits"

    You have to read the article to see that the big drop was in the last quarter when, interestingly, the dollar had strengthened massively thus diluting overseas earnings and that GE have cash at hand and that even RBS thinks the results look pretty good

    Likewise, Pestons blog today could have been written entirely differently....

    Today, its appears that Corus, the steelmaker that was taken over by TATA in a 6.7 billion takeover in 2007 may be in discussions regarding a subsidy for training for its UK based workforce with the British Government.

    This follows previous reports that Jaguar Land Rover also acquired by TATA during 2008 was seeking government assistance.

    The questions that needs to be considered are ' should the British Taxpayer subsidise the bottom line of a corporation based overseas thus minimising the effects on their shareholders including Daimler Benz'

    and ' given the outcome of taxpayer subsidy to industry, should the British Government subsidise any business at all'

    This approach would

    a) further extend the knowledge of those that have no idea who owns what or when acquisitions took place and;

    b) enable a decent discussion of principle

  • Comment number 74.

    Why is there a need to create these silly 'brands' for everything

    first it was 'credit crunch' TM, then 'The Downturn' TM and now 'Recession' TM - in nice new shiny graphics, I know graphics are cheap these days but surely treating issues such as these like you do for the olympics or elections is a waste of money?

    And i do believe that media reporting (by no means the BBC alone) isn't helping - this is the first major crisis since the world went online, we are in a constant news era, looking for new stories every second to fill websites and channels - did you go through the early nineties by producing a nightly segment called 'the recession' and commenting on it? It doesn't help confidence, and contrary to what you say economies are built exactly on that, eg. someone says the pound will worsen, then people get spooked and it does worsen

  • Comment number 75.

    I was very disappointed by Friday's 10 o'clock news item on the recession. It just regurgitated the government line that it's all because of the US sub-prime market, well what about the loans our banks have been making over here, what about the lack of regulation of our banks, and perhaps most importantly what about the massive increase in public spending by the government over the past ten years that contributed to the boom and left the government with no cash for tax cuts to help us all through the recession?

  • Comment number 76.

    In my opinion the main news bulletins and the breakfast programme on BBC1 has developed and maintained an unhealthy interest in the development of the financial crisis within the UK. The BBC would do well to air viewers comments on the impact that the reporting of the recession is having on the viewing experience. I think that many people like myself will be switching channels because the BBC continues to chase the story. The BBC is right be trying to keep up with the story but wrong to keep reporting the job loses as headlines and air the anaylsis of its editors as expert views. This way of reporting does paint a picture to viewers of our country's leaders and of the infa-structure in place failing to control the decline of the labour market. The presenters Bill & sharon, this morning interviewed a cartoonist about the cartoons he has drawn of Gordon Brown. At a time when, as a country, we are looking to our prime-minister to lead the country our of a financial crisis would it not be more helpful to show Gordon in a better light. It may be a bit strong to suggest that this story intentionally poked fun at the PM but it told the viewers that Gordon Brown doesn't like people making fun of his weight. Both of my observations help me make up my mind that that there are persons within the BBC news department who wish to express their displeasure at some sections of the current government in the form of a vendetta. This content certainly isn't news and has no place within the programming and neither do those who are peddling it.

  • Comment number 77.

    When the BBC invites 'experts' to comment on the current economic crisis would it not be sensible to establish their track record in terms of warning about/predicting the current situation to establish the extent of their credibility!

  • Comment number 78.

    Noble sentiments undermined by poor execution and lack of perspective.
    Most people I speak to realise that we are having a bad time economically and that it will probably get worse before it gets better. We therefore expect to hear (quite a lot of) bad news before the crisis is over.
    What we are trying to do is put daily events into a larger framework to enable better assessment of 'how bad' and 'how long'.
    BBC news and current affairs coverage offers no help in this - being relentlessly short term and lacking in relevant context.
    Unquantified adjectives - huge - cataclysmic -unprecedented, substitute for rational analysis, and you operate under simplistic labels eg 'the credit crunch' which act to conflate causal factors rather than clarify them for futher analysis. If all else fails go out on the street and speak to the first person you see - their opinion must be of value.
    What information value is there in a correspondent attending a daily news bulletin 'live' in order to give simplistic answers to trite questions from a newsreader whose core skills are reading an auto-cue whilst looking presentable? Surely it would be more useful to give considered analyses at appropriate intervals even (especially!) if pre-recorded?
    From your performance on this and other issues it seems to me that such complex topics are not suitable for analysis during time-boxed news programmes and you might serve us better by simply reporting facts/events and point your audience to other forums for analysis and comment.
    Who knows, the reversion to more real news content as opposed to spurious comment, might even gain you some new viewership.

  • Comment number 79.

    The only issue I have about the BBC New's otherwise good coverage is that some news (especially company job cuts) is being repeated every few weeks and treated like new news when in fact it is a different "release" of the same news from a few weeks ago.

    For example, a very well-known company based near me has been reported to be cutting thousands of jobs every few weeks, when thankfully they have only made one round of job cuts but the news was reported when they were first announced, a couple of times during negotiations and then when the cuts were finalised.

    Around 1,000 jobs have gone I believe, but many in the local community are convinced many thousands have gone, and that more are still going to go, on the back of the repeat reporting. The community is already devestated and the exaggeration of the job cuts by news programmes and papers looking for that extra bit of dramatic effect, really doesn't help other businesses still in the area.

  • Comment number 80.

    I would suggest that the depth of this recession could have been lessened if the BBC had done a better job of holding this Government to account over the past 10 years.

    The Labour party gets away with murder because of the bias of the BBC.
    How many of your editors have connection to them or are married to Labour activists?

    Mark Thompson was a member and I think a candidate for Labour.

    So you have to share some of the guilt for this gloomy economic new.

  • Comment number 81.

    The FTSE was up 3.8% today but got no mention. When it went down by the same amount one day last Autumn it was top news.

  • Comment number 82.

    the drip drip feeding of continual gloomy economical news and the pessimism that some reporters and experts appear to relish is becoming so everyday that many of my friends and colleagues have decided to stop watching the news, please show the good economical news without the caveat that worse things are to come.
    spare those of us who are desperate for the economy to pickup and gives us back our work, jobs and dignity.

  • Comment number 83.

    Firstly this is my first post, so please forgive me for any mistakes or rules not observed.

    I believe that we should (for once in a LONG TIME) actually be following the lead of the Americans in this one. Obama is leading the way on almost all of his ideas for reforming his weathered country.
    The Uk should be doing similar steps, not just reducing emmisions and becoming more green. But taking the steps to ensure BRITISH jobs are produced through this. If we do not act now then the recession will turn into a revolt as it wont be long untill we are held to ransom by rising fuel prices.

    There is a direct link between the recession and our energy crisis. We should be looking into creating as many jobs as possible to pursue the changes that will be needed to keep britain on the map. Every day the bbc is reporting on more lost jobs in the Uk, when will this end. You dont see 20,000 jobs will be created much do you?...

  • Comment number 84.

    Living in Ireland and earning Euro, the only relevence I have with the news coverage is the effect on the sterling price of my ticket to Oz in June. :)

    But seriously folks, I dont believe that reporting the facts increases the effect of the recession. But I would like to see some more detailed articles on what would need to be done by the right people to bring the recession to an end.

    Most reports are basically just saying why the recession is there and playing the Blame game. I believe more advice and knowledge on what EVERYONE AND ANYONE can do would be more helpful in pushing bigwigs in the right direction.

  • Comment number 85.

    There is an old trap that organisations of all sizes fall into every so often. It happens when their management decides that they are doing a fantastic job, that they are beating all opposition and that most people love them. At that point absolutely nothing will alter that opinion, and anyone foolish enough to suggest otherwise either has an ulterior motive, or simply doesn't understand how great the organisation is.

    I believe you have fallen into that trap, and I offer your 24 hour rolling news programme as just one piece of evidence.

    As others have remarked, reporting the news per se. will not increase the effect of the recession, but the way in which you report it most certainly will. And bad news (never good) is frequently reported, seemingly, with great delight. By presenters who sometimes like to give the impression quietly that they are experts in the field, but are clearly not. Again, as others have suggested: please, stop trying to make the news. You only have to report it.

    (I have to say that I think most of your financial specialist presenters are very good, but don't let me lead you into any traps with that. I can't listen to Robert Peston any more).

  • Comment number 86.

    Its the same old story and I smiled today to hear Radio 4 presenters in a light-hearted conversation asking 'was that upbeat enough' the reply to which was 'any more upbeat and the audience will think I have taken something'

    So Gordon Brown is in Denial still refusing to answer the question about admitting that this is boom and bust, preferring to use the same ole 'ahhh ahhh - yes but under the tories things were much worse!' pre-programmed response. The press seem to be said to be too gloomy in reporting what the IMF and other respected institutions say and Industry tries to talk up the case for taxpayer money to support a production capacity for which demand has gone away.

    The truth as they say, is somewhere inbetween!

  • Comment number 87.

    You cannot win not unless they can keep the economy tickling along nicely forever,and nature alone will prevent that ie Katrina or the Tsunami.

    Its the system, its a pyramid scheme,it needs suckers to join to keep going but if you tell that to the suckers they wont join.

    So the system takes over the media and tells the suckers lies.

    And judging by recent events at the BBC the system has them well and truly in their sights.

  • Comment number 88.

    I wonder how many research theses will be entitled "How the media contributed to the UK's recession in the first decade of the 21st century?" I'm an avid listener to R4, over 30 years, and now I switch over from all the coverage on radio and TV. The BBC is listened to all around the world and confidence is dropping rapidly. Thanks.

  • Comment number 89.

    I forgot to add...
    Shock the day Robert Peston "BROKE" the story, and the BBC reported being "the first" to cover the story. What is this about? A very sad day. I never thought it would take a US approach with sensationalism. And I'm an editor. Please change this approach; the Beeb is worth more and respected for its non-commercial, non-tabloid, non-personality-driven style.

  • Comment number 90.

    Why publish gloomy 'predictions' of the future and get back to bringing us the news, which is what we pay for, by the way. Headlines such as 'UK houseprices to fall by a further 30%' are not news. They are a 'prediction' of the future.

    And, as for the use of the word 'recession' for nearly six months before it was official - a recession is six months of negative growth across all industries combined. Not before nor after.

    And why make headlines out of market fluctuations after only one hour's trading? The market is open until 5.00 o'clock and, as the boys on the floor used to say, 'it 'aint over 'til it's over'.

    No thanks to the BBC for playing a role in the current state of financial uncertainty.

  • Comment number 91.

    Have the Manchester Road Charges really gone away, by public demand, or are they really about to surface again in a slightly different format.

  • Comment number 92.

    So why would Obama the 'hopebringer' have economic gloom in his mouth?

    Fear, fear, fear… they simply don't know any better.

    Dial 911.

  • Comment number 93.

    When Gordon Brown says he wants to give British workers the skills to do jobs that might otherwise go to foreign workers, he continues to confuse skills with one of the meaningless qualifications about which he obsesses. British workers already have skills. *Research shows that even before the recession, gaining one of Gordon Brown's pointless qualifications as an adult had little or no effect on earning power. In fact, gaining an occupational level 2 qualification had a negative effect on earning power.

    Whilst I agree that the current strikes are indefensible, we need to get back to a system which recognises, develops and rewards the ability and talent that already exists in the British workforce.

    Increasing skills is not the same as increasing qualifications.

    *Journal of Education Policy
    Vol. 21, No. 5, September 2006, pp. 535–565

  • Comment number 94.

    moriaeeconmium - perhaps Obama the 'hopebringer' also realises that the most efficient way out of the crisis may involve nationalizing banks - hardly something the American people pinning their hopes on Mr Obama want to hear right now.

    Olga

  • Comment number 95.

    Perhaps, then again Obama the 'hopebringer' may also realize that the most efficient way to curb and heal the economy is to get rid of addiction and retire those ''merchants of death''.

    How much money is US spending on 'preemptive defense'? Eh, just one look at the numbers and anyone can clearly see that we're dealing with nothing but a bunch of junkies incapable of empathy or reason.

    Ruled by the administrators with utter lack of vision. Those fundamental flaws..,

    Do remember, those chumps from the 'big three' had to jump on their jets and come to plea for the money, yet the US quietly passes some 500 billions 'defense budget', and you can double that number if you summa summarum all of the military expenses.

    Tell you what Olga, among the news you may actually stumble on a line or two about the extended need for exports of the US most efficient industry, I wonder who really needs some 25 billions of equipment from Raytheon Co? Who would think there's such popular demand for missiles?

    People are saying it for years, it's dimwitted to make economy dependable on military, and yet everyone speaks about banks and mortgages as the same malfunctioning and enslaved mainstream media stares into the mouth of behemoth, wordless and speechless because their voices were torn from them on 9/11

    Uf!

    From Oklahoma City to 9/11 and all the way to 7/7, nothing but a mass murder and treason, treason of whole humanity it is.

  • Comment number 96.

    On Jan 30th the 4 month closure of the Honda Swindon plant was covered at length on both radio and television news.
    Why?
    On 21st November you gave prominence in your reporting that this Honda plant was closing for all of February and March. On 16th January you reported that Honda had announced an extension to this closure to cover April and May.
    So far so bad for the Swindon plant but why then re-run the same story on Jan 30th as if it was news?

    Was there so little bad news for you that day that you felt the need to recycle some old news just to kep the pot boiling?



  • Comment number 97.

    "Only yesterday, we widely reported gas price cuts which will benefit millions."

    Er this "reduction" was in fact less than the recent rises, so the net result is still an increase, thats according to reporting I saw on the BBC website.

  • Comment number 98.

    Although there seem to be a number of comments about Robert Peston's motives and effect no one else seems to find him incredibly boring and annoying to watch. His droning voice and drawn-out presentation "style", coupled with his obvious arrogance, cause us and many people I know to switch off or switch channels. You have a variety of presenters who are far more interesting to watch and who can explain the news in a less depressing way.
    Put Mr Peston into the back-room where his skills can be appreciated and give us someone who is not going to make us feel like jumping of a bridge every time he appears.

  • Comment number 99.

    You need to examine whether proposed remedies are only designed to try to sustain an unsustainable standard of living bubble, or to try to manage a soft landing as our standard of living reverts to what our productivity can support, without a disastrous downward overshoot. You also need to examine abandonment of fiat currency and backing national currencies with something real but not as acarce as gold or silver, such an joules of energy.

  • Comment number 100.

    On your articles on the prospects for alien civilizations you should include estimates of the average distance between civilizations, and the odds that some of them might bridge those distances by interstellar travel, even if sublightspeed, and what that might mean for the spread of the civilizations that might occur.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.