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Craig Oliver Craig Oliver | 10:57 UK time, Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Here's an example of the difference between appearance and mundane reality.

dome2.jpgWe got a couple of calls last night questioning the Ten's decision to put a reporter in a helicopter to cover the Dome story. An outrageous use of public money?! Do we sit here thinking up ways to waste your cash?

Not quite... we have a deal whereby we can use a helicopter for an average of seven hours a week. We were planning to get some shots of the Dome from the air (the best place to see it) for all BBC TV and online outlets and we thought why not get a reporter to go up and see it at no extra cost?


  • 1.
  • At 12:37 PM on 30 Aug 2006,
  • Darren wrote:

Why just not report on the Millenium Dome at all? It's a complete waste of money, time and effort.

I'm actually ashamed to say that our great country has something as embarrasing as the Millenium Dome.

Let's just hope Wembley actually gets finished sometime in our lifetime that allows us to be proud.

  • 2.
  • At 04:17 PM on 30 Aug 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

If the reporter being there means fewer stock shots for other programmes, then that could be said to be a bit of a waste of the resource. You are getting one piece to camera instead of a range of shots that could be used by many programmes and would be useful for the archive. Or maybe you got all the stock shots you wanted too?

But isn't there a whole debate about reporters who now spend much of their time talking live into camera? Whereas, in the past they would have been roving around with a camera collecting more interesting visuals?

TV has such potential to combine visuals and sound. So each adds information. But most of the time we see a boring talking head.

  • 3.
  • At 05:13 PM on 30 Aug 2006,
  • Tim Coulson wrote:

Great justification. Because you've no archive footage of the dome and we don't know what it looks like? Pull the other one.

Reminds me of the old Points of View where I never heard a representative of the BBC ever admit any fault ever.

Quite right Craig. You tell them.

  • 5.
  • At 11:55 AM on 31 Aug 2006,
  • John Brooke wrote:

You can get just as good a view of the Millenium Dome from any of the tower blocks in Canary Wharf - all you need to do is to organise a meeting with somebody! And if you really want to save time, money and reduce pollution, you could walk upstairs.....

  • 6.
  • At 02:04 PM on 31 Aug 2006,
  • Robert Bell wrote:

A recent news story on BBC Nesline in Northern Ireland covered the arrival in Belfast of the SS Nomadic. Although this old barge has some historical significance for the city the BBC saw fit to have no less than 5 reporters on the story including one flying high above in a helicopter, presumably not a part of this arrangement. This was accompanied by an extended evening news bulletin to cover the arrival which ended up being cancelled anyway.
Surely ample demonstration of the kind of excessive attitude that the corporation needs to tackle.
Also, I'm sure we don't need to send armies of both national and local reporters from each of the regions to the Olympics

  • 7.
  • At 02:07 PM on 31 Aug 2006,
  • Emily wrote:

I skim-read the story, and for a while was confused by the photo, and why was there a tiny model of the Dome in the back of the helicopter, behind the journalist.

I suspect that if you'd have used old footage, some Canary Wharf geek would then have written in to point out a building which had gone up since the pictures were taken... You can't win. Next time, just film a tiny model and make whirry noises.

  • 8.
  • At 02:16 PM on 31 Aug 2006,
  • Geoffrey Roberts wrote:

Even though it is called the Millennium Dome, it seems the illiterate British public still can't spell Millennium - perhaps the BBC could try to educate the public a bit more?

Don't worry about it. Any time the BBC does anything that doesn't precisely conform to certain people's views, they will go on a tirade about the injustices of the licence fee. Some aspects of the BBC's work leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion (the 6 o'clock "news", for example). But overall, I love the many and varied programmes and services provided by the beeb, so I'm happy to pay the licence fee.

  • 10.
  • At 07:41 PM on 31 Aug 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Craig Oliver blogged: ...we have a deal whereby we can use a helicopter for an average of seven hours a week. We were planning to get some shots of the Dome from the air (the best place to see it) for all BBC tv and online outlets and we thought why not get a reporter to go up and see it at no extra cost?

When you say "we", is that just the Ten that has that seven hours?

Does the helicopter company cover the increased fuel used in carrying more people? I guess we are, all humankind that is, cover the cost of the greenhouse gases.

Does this sort of contract also explain the totally unnecessary helicopter shots, such as those of the police vans transporting the current bombing accused to magistates court? Or the across the board use of satellite reports in which reporters are simply interviewed about their own reports that have just been broadcast, using words they have just used themselves, so all they can say, basically, is "yes, that's right". Or are outside closed, darkened buildings just for the sake of "location" - "our reporter outside the Ministry of XXXX". So much seemingly expensive fill-up instead of widening the news agenda at all. I guess no-estra-cost contracts have to be the explanation.

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