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How does the BBC decide which stories are more important?

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Cathy Packe | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

In this week's programme, the first topic we address is a bit of a hardy perennial, although judging by the emails we receive on it on a regular basis, it's something that interests a lot of you. 

It's the question of news values - what makes one news story more important than another so that it runs more prominently in news bulletins.

A frame grab shows one of the 33 miners trapped underground in a copper and gold mine at Copiapo, about 725 km (450 miles) north of Santiago

This week the particular stories in question were the miners trapped underground in Chile, and the continuing devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. 

Listener Ulric Schollaert from Brussels in Belgium feels that the Pakistan story is the more important, so much so that when he heard it appear after the miners' story in a recent bulletin he felt this was "close to insulting". 

On Over To You this week, Rajan puts this to Andrew Whitehead, Editor of News and Current Affairs for the World Service, who makes some interesting points about how journalists decide on the relative importance of the stories they are covering.

Too American?

Another listener, Jayaram from Hong Kong, takes on Annette Mackenzie, the output editor of The Interview.

In fact he's a big fan of the programme - and clearly an assiduous listener - but he thinks they have too many American interviewees in comparison with those from other countries.

Annette explains why this might be - and she's keen to hear from listeners who'd like to suggest potential interviewees.  But you'll have to listen to Over To You to find out what her criteria are for considering anyone as a potential candidate.

Finally, I must apologise for the fact that last week we had the wrong podcast up on our webpage for several days: although the information accompanying it was correct, the actual podcast was from the previous week.

I know how annoying it can be, as I look forward to new editions of my regular podcasts and get very bad-tempered when they don't appear.

The BBC Podcast Team is extremely sorry, and so are we.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


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