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Breaking news guidance for BBC journalists

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Chris Hamilton | 14:18 UK time, Wednesday, 8 February 2012

With the rapid pace of change in digital technology, we're constantly reviewing the processes and guidance our journalists use in their jobs.

As part of that, we have just distributed some refreshed breaking news guidance to our correspondents, reporters and producers.

It says that, when they have some breaking news, an exclusive or any kind of urgent update on a story, they must get written copy into our newsroom system as quickly as possible, so that it can be seen and shared by everyone - both the news desks which deploy our staff and resources (like TV trucks) as well as television, radio and online production teams.

So what about Twitter, the micro-blogging site where millions of people, including many of our journalists, communicate via short bursts of text?

We prize the increasing value of Twitter, and other social networks, to us (and our audiences) as a platform for our content, a newsgathering tool and a new way of engaging with people. Being quick off the mark with breaking news is essential to that mission.

We're fortunate to have a technology that allows our journalists to transmit text simultaneously to our newsroom systems and to their own Twitter accounts.

But we've been clear that our first priority remains ensuring that important information reaches BBC colleagues, and thus all our audiences, as quickly as possible - and certainly not after it reaches Twitter.

UPDATE 9 February 1330 GMT
To clarify any misconceptions, this guidance isn't about telling BBC journalists not to break stories on Twitter.

It's about making sure stories are broken as quickly and efficiently as possible to our large audiences on a wide range of platforms - Twitter, other social networks, our own website, continuous TV and radio news channels, TV and radio bulletins and programmes across several networks.

Equally that we can deploy the resources we need to tell that story on some of those platforms - reporters, TV trucks - as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We have a large, worldwide pool of correspondents, reporters and producers. So we're fortunate to have technology that allows them to get text into the BBC newsroom system and to their own Twitter accounts at the same time.

But when the technology isn't available, for whatever reason, we're asking them to prioritise telling the newsroom before sending their own tweet.

We're talking a difference of a few seconds. In some situations.

We absolutely understand the value of breaking news on Twitter, both in terms of our very successful branded activity like @BBCBreaking, and in terms of our individual journalists, who become sources of news for their followers. This guidance is absolutely compatible with that.

But it should be remembered that we are talking current guidance, not tablets of stone. This is a landscape that's moving incredibly quickly, inside and outside newsrooms, and the breaking news guidance - like our overall social media guidance - will evolve as quickly.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Does it also say they've not to call people extremists or, worse still, fat?

    Even when true?

  • Comment number 2.

    I can understand that news editors need some way to retain editorial control (and their required bias levels) over the way that stories are presented or blocked.

    Twitter has revealed too open an environment and the powers that be cannot allow their reporters free rein with the possibility of going off message.

  • Comment number 3.

    1. At 15:24 8th Feb 2012, Roland D wrote:
    Does it also say they've not to call people extremists or, worse still, fat?


    One suspects there is a whole unseen section under other areas that covers what to write... if you think you can get away with saying 'the actual truth would not fit, so we ran with what looked more "on narrative"'.

    And what the BBC conjures up on its own twitter pages can concern as much as anything else. Not long had this in my feed:

    @BBCPolitics David Cameron attack on Welsh NHS bbc.in/xWGWbK

    Clicking the link, I find out the actual story is this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-16947484 'Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an attack on.... Labour's handling... of the health service in Wales.'

    That.. is a fair discrepancy. One that suggests a whole other story; one hard to see as an 'error' for so-called professional, impartial news broadcasters of any integrity.

    Without them resorting to now too familiar 'the truth wouldn't fit' reasons that are no excuse, I have asked for an explanation of how this transpired.

    As to why such things keep happening in what appears a uniquely consistent ideological direction, we'll leave to another time.

    Quick is fine, but not when using it as an excuse to turn news into 'stories' that are fiction above all else.

    That would seem to fall under more than the possibility aspect with 'reporters free rein [in] going off message'.

    Seems already well underway, and by a lot.

  • Comment number 4.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wonder which free spirit has what interesting views on which collection of folk/entities/topics... none of which are necessarily those of their most trusted broadcast employer, as linked and littered in their bios at the top. Uniquely.

  • Comment number 6.

    A few years back the BBC insisted that it was a good move to do away with the paragraph - you know, that useful method of grouping sentences together to make a point. So now if you look at an online BBC article you'll mostly see single sentences separated by the spaces that used to separate paragraphs. Articles also appear to be getting shorter all the time. Twitter takes this dumbing down to its logical conclusion.

    I guess the eventual aim here is to only be able to communicate in very short bursts. The short-attention-span method of communication will rule in time. That will be a dream come true for a propaganda outfit like the BBC. BBC hacks will no longer have to try to make a case for their indoctrination, just spread it as far and wide as possible in one-line bursts of text - as JunkkMale demonstrated in comment 3.

    George Orwell foresaw this in his perceptive novel, '1984'.

  • Comment number 7.

    Has anybody other than me been "blocked" from following a BBC person's Twitter feed? http://lunchtimeloather.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 8.

    A couple of things worry me, first it's another rule to remember. The more rules one has with a job, the more the stop their natural reactions and responses and hesitate - what rule will this break? Less rules are good.

    Secondly, what seems clear cut at first may not be. Is it always clear when something is a news story? Surely there are times when a reporting things they are tweeting about the mundaine but it develops in to a news story. What if they file a story, tweet afterwards (as the guidelines suggest) but the tweets include minor details that emerge after the story has been filed. Those writing the guidelines may think 'we wouldn't treat that as an issue' but it just takes one editor who does't like this new social media to use it as a tool.

    Finally, I do somewhat question the desire for News 24 and similar to be so focused on breaking news. I'd rather quality reporting of what happened hours a go, than the nonsense chat we get for hours during a live breaking story.

  • Comment number 9.

    Chat is cheap by the hour. Real stories cost money to cover.

  • Comment number 10.

    Does Andrew Roy act as the brake on independent journalism at the BBC, holding meetings to dictate view and direction of journalistic opinion and what can and cannot be said?
    On whose behalf does this person act, most definitely it is not his customers we the fee paying public of Britain, who on these shores does he believe he is representing with his protection of the sensibilities of known "EXTREMISTS".
    This kind of approach belongs with the ilk of Mr. Orwell and his fictional regimes, not in the bastion of British broadcasting.
    Your existence is only possible through the support of the peoples of the British isles and it is us that you represent, outside of those borders you may have many participants and non paying customers but these people may not have the best interests of the UK and its traditions/culture at heart, in fact some of the people and issue's that you ideologically represent would revel in our hardship and failure as a nation.
    It is time to look at who you really represent in this democracy; those who love you for what you were are confused and amazed at the direction you are taking. Those who take part in HYS are probably ahead of the game in their appreciation of the control imposed by the BBC on content and direction of stories to espouse a desired ethical bias in favour of some global utopian myth championed by certain BBC bigwigs.
    The truth is the media especially the one who is state funded does have a part to play in the security of this nation and it cannot ignore the fact we have many enemies as a nation and those within our borders are the most dangerous, to give them respite and understanding is to thumb your nose at our culture, traditions and safety.
    Just like the NHS your reputation protects you from the fancies of the political class because they know public support would make any major changes to your brief or financial support very difficult.
    Those days are reaching an end on your current path because the next time the question is asked, who will stand for you but the minorities you represent.
    These words may be to the wind but when next you open your hand for support from the general public, should you be under threat from your detractors, expect a reciprocal approach to your value from the majority you supposedly represent.

  • Comment number 11.

    '7. At 22:56 8th Feb 2012, JVineBlogMan -
    Has anybody other than me been "blocked" from following a BBC person's Twitter feed?


    Not personally... yet... but I know a few who have (I mix in dodgy circles, maybe).

    Thing is, as twitter appears to be becoming more and more the bedrock of the BBC 'reporting' offer (ironically being a free source that folk get charged for to read rehashed), one wonders how this 'blocking' works with licence payers still required to stump up the fee when being denied a major aspect of the 'service' on whim of... who? The author? A line manager? Chris Patten's PA?

    Seems that when the 'fix' is in, it's worse than that, you're dead to them, Jim.

    Apropros nothing related at all, there is always this lady at the top to appeal to:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2011/06/helen-boaden-director-of-bbc-news-at-the-lse.shtml

    Thing is, and it's a bit embarassing I know, she is rather famously quoted as claiming to have a special e-mail address to nowhere for any questions that may be asked of the BBC back that may reach her level.

    Unique.

  • Comment number 12.

    BBC maintains that it's constantly reviewing processes & guidance its journalists use in their jobs - refreshed breaking news guidance to our correspondents, reporters & producers.
    I hate Twitter because it is micro & fast I wonder if a journalist uses Twitter too much if his/her brain might tweet. Being quick off the mark is the best way to miss the mark - the core, the analysis, the type of reporting that has made me a faithful BBC follower. e.g. The swap story among central banks that made the markets go up, but I still kind find any legal authority for such a swap, (I believe it was illegal.)but I can analyse it & determine that it's another inside game among banksters that seems to much like Ponzi.
    I don't know it today's technology is for the better or for the worse when it comes to excellence in reporting, though I know it has excellence in destabilizing govts that western countries may want to see destabilized.
    I long for the days of Walter Cronkite when reporting was an "art" as well as accurate, sometimes emotional.
    The best journalists must remain ever skeptical, not just of their data and sources, but of their own biases, roles & decision-making in reporting a story - more so their editors. Journalism demands judgment - decisions whether a story is newsworthy, & judgments about the truth of information included within that story. So, if you're going to do the job effectively, you've got to be able to tell who's telling the truth e.g. Syria who are these transitional people and why do over 50% of the people support Assad? This is a situation in which I see - wrongly or rightly - bias against Assad, just as I saw bias against Gaddafi.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why would journalists be working on beats where they didn't have the deep knowledge and experience they'd need to be able to make consistent calls on the truthfulness of the information they collect? The usual culprit - "money."
    For more than a generation, newspapers have been going cheap on newsroom talent - laying off experienced (and relatively expensive) reporters in favor of inexpensive rookies to keep profits fat. And it's not like many newsrooms have been bringing in people with law degrees to cover the courts or physicians to cover health, either. That would cost money.
    It's the news industry's failure to break honest, factual news consistently over the years that left the market open for many start-up blogs & online communities to who thirst for the honest truth, but seldom find it. We've developed an industry culture where we're second-guessing when, or even whether, journalists ought to be making expert judgments.
    Journalists are as good as to whom they report. If they see employers demanding deep knowledge & experience in specific subject areas, trust me, they will respond...unless they get laid off.

  • Comment number 14.

    Twitter is cropping up all over.

    Like here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16946279

    Not sure it's quite working out in the comments as intended.

    Meanwhile as twitter becomes more what is served than serving...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16951807

    I wonder... when it gets to the 'it won't fit on twitter or the mobile app' edit, which two words below the line would be sacrificed, along with accuracy?

    Even without, the practice of ['blatant tribal punt... says...'] hardly counts as news really.

  • Comment number 15.

    Under the technology section it says "... for clarification please use the following terms .. Computer = iMAC, Computer Industry=Apple , tablet device = iPad, Digital music player=iPod, on line music store=iTunes, GOD=Steve Jobs, DEVIL=Microsoft"

  • Comment number 16.

    Why can't I post comments on this page? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-16969723 There is no comments button that I've been able to find. Thanks.

  • Comment number 17.

    @JunkkMale: A good suggestion, thank you. I'm already subject to the "expedited complaints handling procedure" so anything I send to the BBC now is basically ignored. My appeal on this ruling is awaiting review by the BBC Trust.
    http://lunchtimeloather.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 18.

    #16 ‘Why can't I post comments on this page?... There is no comments button that I've been able to find.’

    I think you’ll find you’ve just answered your own question there Jen.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just for the record I am one customer that values accuracy above speed. I would prefer a delay in the publishing of a story, rather than instant rubbish. The race to be first has undermined the BBC's reliability. Twitter may be a news gathering tool but it is not informative.

  • Comment number 20.

    '19. At 09:11 11th Feb 2012, barryp -
    Just for the record I am one customer that values accuracy above speed.


    Agree. Of course, there is accuracy in fact, and honesty in how it is articulated.

    I am more and more intrigued how headlines are 'crafted', often with an eye to the twitter post or mobile screen. Take how far one has to get before one gets to the 'claim' bit of the 'news' which, in itself, is just a punt.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-16993391

    This trend for punting out any old bit of 'sources say' PR for others who are approved of, vs. those not (oddly, here, the UK government, its subjects and the armed forces stationed in their defence in harm's way) is going to be the norm is it?

    Can lead to some 'quaint' phrasing...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/country_profiles/4087743.stm#facts

    'Argentine troops set foot on the islands on 2 April 1982.'

    That is one way of referring to it, I guess.

    Maybe the 'South American League' can send in observers to award points for content and star quality as Ms. Kirchner and her merry band of Morris Dancers scamper up the beaches, with PR (and bomb fusing or Goose Green positions intel) provided by none other than the BBC.

    Stictly Come Invading (Again)?

  • Comment number 21.

    ps: I must disagree that Twitter is not informative. It is, hugely. But how that information is viewed and taken, and further researched is key.

    Hence a £4Bpa 'news' organisation taking one's money to rush out what it gets for free via twitter, often with no caveat of even a 'sources say', 'critics claim', 'research shows may', etc, is.. unique indeed.

    Especially with the author's opinion often layered all over as well.

  • Comment number 22.

    Further to comment #21, I am still confused about how the BBC really views the relationship is has with Twitter. The last time I looked, Twitter was still a for-profit corporation based in the US. Yet it has been heavily promoted by the BBC and it's journalists. Why?
    Does it produce a financial or copyright benefit for "BBC journalists" who may be essentially freelance? Or does it maybe suit the BBC admin in that these journalists are then producing material that the BBC cannot be held directly responsible for? [And I note comment #7 in this context]

  • Comment number 23.

    By a timely coincidence, I have also just read the BBC article titled:
    "Luis Suarez is a disgrace, says Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson." Putting the substance of the story aside, two sentences within the article caught my attention:
    "Dalglish, who did not attend his traditional post-match press conference with the written media, told Sky Sports...." and
    "As is customary for him, Ferguson did not attend a post-match press conference either but told television interviewers..."

    Curious. Not because of Ferguson's well known relationship (or lack thereof) with the BBC, but because I am curious as to how the BBC defines itself in this matter. Is the BBC "TV" media or "Written" media in this context? Or both? Is there a distinction that is manifested in financial and/or copyright terms, and what are the ramifications for the BBC, the two football clubs, and the journalist that supplies the article?

  • Comment number 24.

    I wonder if the twitter feeds of these specially-invited guests are 'must-reads' in BBC editorial..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01c9w6c/Dateline_London_11_02_2012/?t=22m20s

    ..and which are not, as such, viewed with such reverence to invite on to 'represent' views.

    To get a 4 (5 including the chair) to 0 critique of the UK's stance on the Falkands (ignoring the inhabitants completely too), on the BritishBC takes some doing, but seems to have been managed.

    At least twitter can be used to quickly offer intel on bomb fuse settings and garrison strengths in future, when required.

  • Comment number 25.

    Chris, what you say makes sense - as a reputed media house it would hardly be in the BBC's interest to have multiple streams of information bombarding the public from different sources. One of the most important factors in online news design is ease of navigation sensibly combined with social media feeds. Whilst I would certainly continue following my favourite correspondents on the likes of Twitter, I would be more appreciative consolidated reporting from a source like BBC.

    Reading some of the comments above, I do believe that there are still some news hounds that are firmly anchored in the past and have yet to embrace technology in all its glory. I wish the BBC would host a poll of some sort that at least give an indication of the demographic of the commentators on these blogs- I'll guess there will not be many here under the age of 30!

    Michelle

  • Comment number 26.

    @Michelle Summers (#25) - I think you make a very valid point regarding the demographic - not only of the readers of these blog posts but also of the general public consuming news.

    I just came across a study in South Africa recently about the youth and their engagement in current affairs. It seems you'd be hard-pressed to find young people that read or simply watch the news on traditional media these days. If there is a facebook or iphone app that spurts out the latest newsworthy event, they'd be almost twice as likely to be aware of it - that is significant.

    I believe local news companies in South Africa - both traditional media and popular news blogs have responded to the changing demand in the news marketplace. There was a buzz of social media activity last week, for example, when it came to president Jacob Zuma's 2012 State of Nation address - producing a record number of tweets... one can only imagine the impact of such political events in places like the USA. Whether commentators like it or not, social media, particularly the likes of Twitter is here to stay in the newsroom and I do believe BBC's approach to embrace the technology as best, and consistently, as possible is the right way forward.

  • Comment number 27.

    Blogs = debate
    Twitter = soundbites
    Maturity = consideration
    Youth = inexperience

  • Comment number 28.

    The sad news of the premature death of another musician cannot possibly carry as much weight, or receive as much coverage, as the plight of an entire country, and indeed the European Union and the global system of financial remedies...

    You are not doing "pages out of Greek history" -- why so many "scenes from the life of Whitney"?

    People who are very interested in her can look her up on Wikipedia or on YouTube, not to mention all the specialised celebrity channels...

  • Comment number 29.

    "To clarify any misconceptions, this guidance isn't about telling BBC journalists not to break stories on Twitter."

    Oh. Then you screwed it up.

    Go back and re-write it to make sure they're clearly instructed : Don't break stories on Twitter.

    If they want to work for a multi-million dollar commercial company, let it put them on their payroll. And then take them off the BBC's.

    Unless they - and you lot - are already on their payroll; which would certainly explain why the BBC website has been doing quite so much to promote them for the past year or so.

  • Comment number 30.

    A vast majority of Twitter users are spoiling it for the rest! Cyber-Bullying is a very REAL phenomenon and some are using this platform as a medium to abuse, discriminate, expound racist views and beliefs and bully celebrities and teenagers. When do we say enough? When a few more teenagers take their own lives to STOP the abuse? Is it still a crime if it is happening on Twitter? Our reaction to it is not to say 'no' - our actions to it, tell others we are a society saying 'It's ok.' Come on - Enough is enough!

  • Comment number 31.

    I want to know why you will not publish the Malcom Balen report-

    Surely a report paid for by the license fee payer- and a report which I am sure will not harm national security- should be open to view. Or why else have it- I am sure there are other reports of a similar nature which are hidden away- If you wish to be as transparent as the demands you make on our politicians- whom you forever seek such transparency - Then stand up to the mark-

    If this post is not shown- Then I will understand why they are pre- moderated.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    A complaint about Nick Robinson, which is related to breaking news reporting. Nick heard of Moody's putting the UK on negative watch and dashed off a piece which went on your website, adding his conclusion that the economic argument is moving in Ed Balls' direction. Later, he gets the facts (that Moody's say Osborne must stick to his cuts and not follow Labour's plan of slower cuts) and adds a subscript, saying he is busy/difficult to reach over halfterm. But the damage is done. Why are your correspondents passing important opinions when they are by their own admission not in possession of the facts? Why the automatic bias from Nick towards a Labour-favourable conclusion? What exactly is going on in the BBC's politics department?

  • Comment number 34.

    Haste is the killer of the good story.

    I fail to understand why with many stories there is more of an urgency to GET IT OUT THERE NOW!!!! rather than get it right or even present it clearly.

    The news channel has regularly taken this to ridiculous levels, interrupting one important story to bring us ..... nothing, quite often.

    An empty chair at a press conference, a journalist scratching their ear ...

    At one point an important, in depth article about famine in Africa (you know, that thing that kills millions of people) was interrupted so that we could rush to the White House where "The President" (he is NOT our president) was announcing that some aid we have never heard of was stepping down to pursue another political path.

    This is not and has never been about getting news to the beloved audience as quickly as possible, it has always been about beating ITN and SKY to the story.

    The vast majority of articles do not need to be rushed out to air as soon as a hint appears on the wire - most stories are not about floods and terrorist attacks or assassinations, but could be better presented and be far more informative if they were treated with a bit more calm.

    Then you also avoid idiotic moments like when the BBC hired helicopters to follow the McCanns when they arrived at an airport and travelled to their house by car. Despite them already telling the news agencies that they would not be giving interviews, the BBC editorial team put the entire channel on hold for a couple of hours just so they could cover "McCanns drive from airport to house."

    Less speed might just mean better broadcasting.

    Like the BBC did in the days before News 24. It has been downhill since then.

  • Comment number 35.

    '34. At 20:40 14th Feb 2012, Hastings -
    Haste is the killer of the good story.'


    Indeed. But there are a few professional aspects already well by the wayside.

    '33. At 18:17 14th Feb 2012, Jewel-of-West -
    ..dashed off a piece which went on your website, adding his conclusion that the economic argument is moving in Ed Balls' direction. Later, he gets the facts .. and adds a subscript, saying he is busy/difficult to reach over halfterm.


    Raw vs. slow cooked offal is still unappetising if this is all the restaurant and its cooks seek to serve.

  • Comment number 36.

    Breaking news needs to be accurate, but so does old news: some Ceefax and Red Button Digital Text pages are well past the point of being the source of current information: Yorkshire, Anglia and Central regions, for example, all DSO'd in 2011 but are still mentioned on Ceefax page 283 ...

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm British and have been living in Bahrain for the last 4 1/2 years. Yesterday I spent three hours in the riot torn area of Sanabis on my own and with the FT and Reuters. I saw plenty of tear gas but not before i'd seen stones and Molotov Cocktails thrown by protestors. If your correspondent is in Bahrain for longer than 24 hours, I'd be delighted to go to another protest with him so we could compare our relative experiences.

  • Comment number 38.

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

  • Comment number 39.

    A BBC reporter is having a Dan Rather moment with a fake document

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17048991

  • Comment number 40.

    36. At 15:33 15th Feb 2012, Sue_Aitch wrote:
    Breaking news needs to be accurate..

    39. At 07:21 16th Feb 2012, Jack Hughes wrote:
    A BBC reporter is having a Dan Rather moment with a fake document
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17048991


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/11/copenhagen_countdown_17_days.html

    'until we can ensure that watertight oversight is in place.'

    It's a fluid concept at best... ask another BBC senior editor in his area of expertise. He's doing well on the ratings (if not for credibility) too...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17025472

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't know why you bother with advances in technology. Yesterday you were incapable of live coverage of the Prime Minister's speech on the destruction caused to people, the health service and the economy as a result of alcohol abuse - or 'binge drinking' in the hackneyed phrase you prefer.
    Today, the Prime Minister is making a speech in Scotland about the very important subject of the United Kingdom. He will be putting forward his reasons why we are better together than apart. Again, I gather from a remark made by your News24 presenter, you are failing to cover the speech live. No doubt you will film it and mangle it out of all recognition in your editing rooms. I want to hear what our Prime Minister has to say, not what the BBC wants me to think that he says. I am not interested in Norman Smith's opinion of what he thinks the Prime Minister was saying or Ed Miliband's opinion of what he thinks the Prime Minister was saying. I want to form my own opinion.

  • Comment number 42.

    In fact, as well as denying the public the opportunity to hear the PM's speech, you are already, before he's made it, presenting the story as though it is about a couple of squabbling children fighting over a toy. Is there no-one left with a shred of maturity working at the BBC?

  • Comment number 43.

    She asked, asked... rhetorically.

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    #42
    MaggieL -
    "Is there no-one left with a shred of maturity working at the BBC?"

    The BBC has a position, journalists have to toe the line.
    Watch the body language, asides, even tone and attitude.

    Ask people how the BBC will view various issues - you find they expect the BBC response to be predictable.
    Ask if they get facts from the BBC the answer is no - they get left wing opinion.

    Take the current NHS reforms - what Labour and the NHS Unions are saying is reported ad nauseum.
    But what are the reforms, how will they work, what are the benefits and savings, very little information or explanation. - when a Government spokesman is interviewed, they are harangued, treated like idiots, not allowed to finish a sentence before a new question is asked.

    Look at the way the BBC reports EU matters - very different from how the British people view Europe.
    Eurosceptics - wild eyed extremists, Europhobe - sensible reliable thoughtful people.

    Its not that there is no one with a shed of maturity - the BBC appears to have an agenda, an agenda that has nothing to do with providing balance, facts or reflecting public opinion. - Perhaps more to do with forming opinion

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

    '46. At 15:42 17th Feb 2012, You wrote:
    Your comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.


    Correction. It has not 'been referred'. It has been intercepted, as no one has yet seen it to refer, but are not happy at the image in the mirror held up. And as the House Rules are not going to work, it will doubtless be stuck on the back burner in hope it gets forgotten, left until the thread closes or after the this page is long lost in archive.

    So... explain soon, put up or hold counsel.

    Anything else simply confirms what more and more are thinking and some are saying... if not immediately censored.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm afraid that if 'off topic' is your best shot, you are going to have to take out a bunch of others, which will not endear you to their authors.

    All of whom have posted relevant concerns on the 'guidance' the BBC seems to be pursuing in its 'reporting'.

    Not sure that is exactly helping the case being attempted.

  • Comment number 49.

    On your pix of the week gallery, there's pictures of cyclists at a velodrome, headed "Peddling". They're not selling anything. Homonym hobgoblins at work.

  • Comment number 50.

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

  • Comment number 51.

    Glyn T 45
    Thanks for that rather colourful but eccentric view of the BBC. Your criticism seems to amount to 'I don't like it when you don't agree with me'. Take the NHS point that you mention. Opposition to the health Bill is massisve and cannot possibly be denied. Yet you seem to suggest that the BBC shouldn't mention this or attempt to explain why so many people and organisations are opposed to it? A suggestion that anti government views should be censored by the BBC? Frankly your description of the BBC's treatment of this subject is incorrect (due to bias?).
    Strangely not one shred of verifiable evidence is presented. What Mr Dacre would term a 'smear' campaign I think.
    Is the BBC perfect? Of course not, but I'll take their relatively neutral stance in preference to your partisan whining every time.

  • Comment number 52.

    51. At 20:33 17th Feb 2012, Idont Believeit
    Strangely not one shred of verifiable evidence is presented.


    Can get tricky when the 'referral' team is deployed, and 'off topic' imposed on a selective basis to allow a certain narrative prevail.

    What Mr Dacre would term a 'smear' campaign I think.

    And even condone. Along with the editors of most other media, if it suits their agenda or ratings, or both. Including some rarely fingered by those with ideological blinkers and a quant notion of being 'righter' than others, if not always politically.

    'I'll take their relatively neutral stance in preference to your partisan whining every time.

    Your right and privilege. Shame those not so keen to fund the imposition of their stance, including as customers propagandistic levels of 'reporting' and draconian censorship in offering feedback are only offered take it or leave it (but still pay) options.

    We'll see if this reply makes it through, as others to similar 'off topic' comments have not, for some quaint, 'unique' reason.

  • Comment number 53.

    MaggieL, 41 and 42 and GlynT, 45,

    Excellent comments. The BBC is a news-laundering organisation, washing and ironing out anything that doesn't suit its left-wing agenda.

    Idont Believeit, 51,

    You should.

  • Comment number 54.

    #53

    Re: #51

    Click on link then scroll up.

  • Comment number 55.

    #51
    Re my #45
    Read what was written - the point is not that there is no opposition, but that the BBC is not telling us what the reforms are, how will they work, what are the benefits and savings.
    It seems the BBC is more interested in stirring the political pot than informing the Public.

    Its an old left wing propaganda ploy;
    Condemn the proposal, never explain what the proposal is! - say every one agrees with you and they know what its all about.

  • Comment number 56.

    with the banking rip off, should more time be given to people like rowan dartington who give far better returns for investors money, main stream banks seem to be useing cash isa's like there own safety money and make bonus money from poor returns to the customer. we always talk about big banks isn't it time we changed to places that give real returns and stop being blinded by poor advise just because these other banks are so big!!!! if these banks where builders we would soon call them cowboy's. i moved part of my savings to rowan dartington and i will not move back after the service given and the high returns which i cant get anywhere on the high street............

  • Comment number 57.

    JkMale52
    Returning to the original topic... If your 'beef' is about the BBC's ridiculous obsession with all things Twitter, then I'll drink to that. BBC blogs used to be distinctive, often closely argued and evidenced, interesting and enlightening sometimes and often filling in the detail left out in the headline piece. Sadly no more, since the introduction of Twitteresque character limits. A great shame.
    Similarly while, we are told above, BBC workers have access to the latest software and gadgets, we, the customer/end user have to put up with blogging software that is slow, glitchy, irritating (all that scrolling) and simply poorly designed and implemented. Ironically this is one of the few sites left that operate as a blog should.
    The BBC should be aiming to be a leader not a follower!

  • Comment number 58.

    Why is it when Murdoch announces a brand "new" newspaper The Sun on Sunday, previously sold as the News of the World that the BBC has absolutely no comment , let alone reports the fact?

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    The BBC will improve a lot if it set guidelines for political fairness and positivity in its reporting. I have never seen such one side reporting as the BBC does. No matter what news is reported somebody makes sure there is a negative comment at the end. If GDP was up by 10% in one month there would be a massive caveat at the end of the report saying "but the country still owes .... or something, anything would be dragged up to wipe the smile of our faces.

    BBC reporters, newsreaders and website writers on the whole are such a bunch of miserable negative anti Britain media people I'm surprised some of you can look yourself in the mirror each day. Do you not realise that you are the cause of so much negative outlook in this country by your constant indoctrination of all is doom and gloom? You are responsible for the lack of confidence in the country because you drum it into us day after day that this country is so bad at healthcare, education, banking, business, retail, sport and everything.

    In your current state of mind if we were fighting the second world war you would be telling us that we are all doomed and that the government is trying to lose and that everything bad that could possibly happen probably will - imagine how that kind of reporting would have helped us in 1940.

    Why don't you write a set of guidelines that you will report fairly, and that you will try to be more positive. If there is anybody in the BBC who has ever done any leadership or management training, they will tell you that if you promote negativity you should not be surprised if you get negativity but if you promote positivity you might actually be helping the country.

    Are the BBC for Britain or against Britain?

  • Comment number 61.

    What do you mean by "breaking news"?

    The term could equally be used to describe the words of the first accredited person to break a conspiracy of silence, that has subsisted for years among the media, in relation to a matter about which there has nonetheless been widespread popular outrage for a long time.

    Here's a for instance:

    In adoption cases it has been ruled, perhaps rightly so, that two homosexual men are just as good adoptive parents as two like women, or a heterosexual couple, all other things being equal.

    Why then, in divorce cases, is one heterosexual man not judged to be as good a single parent with residence as one heterosexual woman?

    Who has taken the decision that this story of legal inconsistency is not to "break"?

    The story of not breaking news, as Tony Benn often pointed out, is the real one I'd say.

  • Comment number 62.

    I would just like to add my voice to Chris (60).
    I also get tired of all the gloom, doom, alarmism, etc.
    I have lived in France, Germany, Spain and England.
    England is the only one where we run ourselves down so much.
    Our food is awful, our weather is awful, etc.
    Well I can assure everyone that south of England has better climate and better food compared to the south of Germany but a Bavarian will never run down his country.
    Gazoopi, blogging from the South of France (where the food and weather is really great!)

  • Comment number 63.

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

  • Comment number 64.

    Twitter is essential in the newsworld. Look at Egypt. How else could the news have been spreaded so fast without twitter? In countries where the gouvernment censores all the news, twitter is a great way for news to come out anyway.

  • Comment number 65.

    '64.At 11:47 22nd Feb 2012, jayjayg
    Twitter is essential in the newsworld.


    I value twitter greatly, but in terms of objective, substantiated information that can count as 'news', I apply serious caution, especially in areas of high passion or where public mood is a key factor.

    Sadly, this seems less the case with a media monopoly that sees no real problem charging to rehash what it gets for free, often with the only additional input being a staff member's personal opinion overlaid.

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    Sorry, but telling the newsroom before hitting the Twitter feed send button isn't far enough.

    The first publication of news for the BBC HAS to be it's own website, or News Channels. Allowing a commercial organisation to scoop the BBC is not good enough.

    Too many references are also made about Twitter, again still a commercial company, when the perfectly adequate term "post" instead of "Tweet" (it's the same thing) could be used.

    It's just a shame journalism is in a race to the bottom with this new toy.

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    This is a false flag alert from Webster Tarpley's website:

    A reliable Russian source in Syria warns that al Jazeera is about to launch within hours a major false flag provocation. Al Jazeera will allege that 17 children have been killed by Assad’s forces. These children are already dead, and have been killed by NATO death squads. The goal is to create an atmosphere of hysteria at the Tunis “Friends of Syria” conference today Friday, which otherwise threatens to be a fiasco due to the boycott by Russia, China, and Lebanon, and due to the fragmented nature of the Syria opposition.

    Please spread this story as fast as you can as a highest priority False Flag Alert.

    –Webster Tarpley

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    Twitter should only be used to point to proper researched stories on the main site, not as dissemination of news itself. People seem to be forgetting that activists can spam all these services, even taking a leaf out of the Beeb's own book and sometimes making up stories... Look at Homs. The Beeb would have us believe there is a huge groundswell opposition, whereas when you stop and think, the story is very different. It's incredibly unusual for there to be no way out of a place for the injured. That means far from being a massive opposition, it is in fact small, the town is completely surrounded, and the oposition clearly has little support in the area. These journalists have crossed the line from factual reporting to political agenda, and I have little sympathy with them.

    Unfortuantely like most of the media these days, and I talk from 20 years' experience working in it, there is almost no proper verification of the truth. We know that stories can be manipulated, spammed, photos retouched, videos altered, but it seems the Beeb has forgotten that and takes everything on face value. They forget that their "proof" and "evidence" is sometimes circular arguments, they no longer go to the true sources. Footage and photos these days can come from anywhere, with the internet. And then the BBC charges us for rehashing the stuff!!!

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    Well please tell everyone to stop the incorrect use of English.

    Their is no such word as Is_la_mist.

    The correct pronuciation is Islam_ist.

    You know it, the whole world knows it. Oh are you just attempting to pander to a tiny minority who you might think will be offended by using Islam_ist. If they are offended they need to recognise the truth, most the worlds terrorists claim to be Muslin - a fact I actually doubt. Just as many mass murderers have claimed to be Christian. So BBC grow up and stop trying to be so PC

  • Comment number 81.

    This 'breaking news'?

    Does it include Government press releases that simply cry out to be 'interpreted'?

    Have to love this one:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17254977

    Where what appears concern about teen boundary extremes gets conflated with professional grooming by adults.

    'Older boyfriends' at (55sec) indeed.

    A few have noticed here, too.

    http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16182408

  • Comment number 82.

    We thought this blog couln't have got worse, considering the high level of criticm from BBC members, this new format competely ignores these criticms & infact now ignores us completely & transfers all comments to the private (non connected to BBC) Twitter & specific very old most non Sports articles. In this blog the last S.E.B page was last entry 8th February, so much for current affairs blogs. The format has now changed making things much worse for the members & we can only comment on the editors selected articles last one 8th February Twitter the news, then 10th January 2012 & 24th October 2011 Lord Chief Justice free press.

  • Comment number 83.

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

  • Comment number 84.

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

  • Comment number 85.

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

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

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

  • Comment number 88.

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

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 90.

    Just want to clarify the BBC concept (coined by Richard Black) of 'watertight oversight', when it applies, and when not.

    Now I am all for holding the powerful to account, but less so when the holding turns to holding back on a more 'selective' basis.

    So, from various eco-'gates' to Wikileaks to letters viewed without the author's permission by Editors, when is it deemed fine and dandy to splash, all 'sources say' from the towers, and why is it sometimes a sudden matter of ensuring all facts are confirmed.

    Just askin'.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

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

  • Comment number 93.

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

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