Choosing the news
"How do you choose what to put in the news?" is the question I'm most frequently asked about my job.
It's also the most difficult to answer. Letters on this subject received by Feedback on Radio 4 prompted the programme to dispatch one of its reporters to the BBC Newsroom at Television Centre in west London to find out more:
My own view is that the choice of stories and the order in which they are presented is based on a number of factors, which inevitably, overlap: how significant does the story feel? How interested is our audience likely to be? How new is the story? What is the context? (Not just in terms of what else is going on but also, have we done variations on this story recently?)
These considerations are combined with something more difficult to define - a journalistic instinct perhaps - in the decision-making process.
On the Six O'Clock News on Radio 4 we aim, to mangle a phrase from the New York Times, to provide all the news you need to hear. By the end of the bulletin, we want listeners to feel they know about the important events that have happened that day in the UK and around the world, and why they happened.
Fortunately, our audience is rarely shy in letting us know if that is what we have achieved.