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Read this: Panic and the truth

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Panic and the truth…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 withhold the truth, it's a concept that goes against everything out trade stands for but the spread of coronavirus is posing some huge ethical questions for journalism.

Let me give you one specific example the weekend the newspaper corriere della Sera got a leak of the government plan to lock down the north of the country 16 million people about to be quarantined published the news spread and the result people fleeing the region before it was locked down and potentially taking the virus with them so in a public health emergency should join this be restricted on what they report.

Let me introduce you to our guests and we will say the budget today, so I should be grateful for them taking the time to do this and it's got 23 years busy busy NewsDay and just brother is.

Huffpost UK Jess welcome back to me, this is your first visit since your promotion and since the Revolution that you're expecting a baby so many many congratulations on both fronts your manager of using Jess b team of people probably HR point of view as a poster editorial.

How are you dealing with creditors because I've been asked lots of questions about editorially Howard in a bit of course.

We're all managers of people and so we're dealing everyday with the Ethical concerns around how we cover the story but they said it concerns of our own staff who not only are human and has anyone else but who were also immersed in this coverage all day everyday.

I think what we have to do all of us is say if you have any concerns if you don't want to that's fine you can work from I'm very lucky.

I run a completely disco music we are totally able to run the site with everybody at home now.

They're not they're not some people are some people are just as they

Seasonal sniffles and we've said that's fine.

Maybe don't come in and also if you don't feel like you when I get on a train every morning.

That's fine.

Don't have you got planned for three weeks from now when apps not meant to be coming if that happened what you going to do.

We have but as I say to be honest like we might not come into your first people are at home and also we are based in London so we're quite used to do meetings with one or two people on a Google Hangout of course Newquay is there global Health security editor at the Daily Telegraph pool with a little bit later and talk a bit later at about your approach to reporting duties after what's been the most read other articles about symptoms, so people are obsessed with the end of the bar and the natural thing and so that article above all others right from the beginning has been clocking out Midlands

Unfortunately, we are not babies and get it.

She something yeah children look like this or this time around they can still get the virus, but there are likely to become for you.

I wish I was at 3 yesterday morning Tom Phillips full fact checking charity.

Tell me information about keeping you busy at the moment.

I noticed that you just want a video of the prime minister that people have been cheering wildly.

Yes, which is exactly it's simply that the video was being shared had edited off his final few sentences.

Look like he was proposing taking it on the chin.

I think the phrase I used that are proposing that we should just let everybody get up and get it out the way quickly he went home to say at the end of that passage that that was not the approach of them were taking it was nearly a theory that have been put forward and that got locked off and it was shared as they love people as the prime minister is.

We should just accept it was on this morning with me.

How do I know that clip video just confirmed not to be with preferences on Twitter who took against it just you know exactly if this is the case is talking about you know sort of the Threat of deepfake something like that.

You can be misleading without you know and technology.

Just just at the end of the video or to the speed of the election.

You know it's so yes, it doesn't take much to mislead people can get into all that surely also here.

I would like to say is Gaby huddart, who's the editor-in-chief of good Housekeeping lays claim to the title of the biggest selling lifestyle magazine in the UK is also a little director of the lifestyle and homes division of Hearst magazine so titles like red primer and Country Primark Primark Primark

Asking you back, but I should because you were here.

I think about how are you? How are you coming as well? We also have a very big website housekeeping with 1 million unique users so obviously I'm that we're having a lot of advice that our readers come into very much take the public Health England approach, but so we got Oscars on that thing from how to wash your hands steps that you should take things like how to clean your phone because obviously you can wash your hands if you don't pick up the phone that is actually got germs on it.

You could actually just be the virus from that how to self isolate so how do you go about self isolating we also obviously a lot of people I'm using earlier about feeling anxious at this time and psychotherapist.

Do you get Samuel talking about how to cope with anxiety in times like this and I think you know people want trusted information from all of our sources at this time so.

So yeah, we do have quite a lot of activity on the part of the Suffolk good Housekeeping has had an impact on advertising so far not so far not say I don't you worry let you know as a brand good Housekeeping all our brands are very long established very trusted we have partnerships with our clients so at the moment.

Obviously you know we're all in a changing situation is at the moment.

We're working just the commercials were before you get onto the editorial you had any good news on the budget today actually so I haven't been obviously I walked up to her earlier and upgrade been removed from magazines and books so should anyone be spending more time at home and that is rather good news, so stock up some reading material and get into our title with her while you're you know isolating ok good Housekeeping

Was and what it is now.

How's magazine changed because it's no longer literally a guide to doing good Housekeeping is it so we're proud to say 98 years old with giving up to 120 22.

Yes exactly we must talk about mutual celebrations, but we the DNA of good Housekeeping us a band when it launched was is about if you if you look after your home well for the finer things of life.

That is all about making life easier and that DNA is just as true today as it was then try and give people the latest advice on technologies on any anything.

They can use to make their lives easier and it if they do that obviously that frees up for everything from fashion to beauty to travelling to anything out of you know we're very much focused on on that from Leighton on sea and the other thing to say is that we have we are powered by the research the good Housekeeping

The one magazine brand with a team of scientists and researchers in a separate building so any claims of products services were actually testing them all the time so we have this incredible powerful trust from our audience and we actually hold a trademark.

I tested trust it more money the magazine of the Institute and its in round and I can't give you specific figures at the boundary of a very profitable brand with making more money stay the money they want but I can't tell you how much am I would love we not have editors can't talk about me questions about not a publicly listed company with privately owned by a trust well.

You won't know the last year but we are all I can tell you is that a very profitable as a business and very successful and Powerful brands at her.

It doesn't really wouldn't put a big profit number out there if you want people to know your possible.

Privately owned business standard if you have you got as you go through the choosing the cover Alex Jones BBC news on The Great British Hughes name.

How do you how do you choose your colour is people who we think I think the audience will be interested in you know I want as many people to pick up the brand new stand so somebody eye-catching somebody in the news Alex when we did this this was her first big shoot when she came back from maternity leave.

I think her with a positive Media outlet and so I'm looking for somebody who's got a very positive view on life could be a Dream cover probably Kate Middleton because he is universally loved and respected.

I think you know I mean that says I'm there so many the Queen I think you know.

The queen on that I'm sure she's listening so funny.

I thought you might ask me about it and I think the original do you know what I think it's a brand that so well loved that almost the end is bigger than the two words good Housekeeping housekeeping might sound quite often although housekeeping actually refers to people looking after them money but but the fact it's good positive, but I think now I don't even think about what does the word mean? I think it's such a well of Brand and it's so well known that we've done with all sorts of research.

Obviously among consumers about the brand when a product or services are a logo on it, but I tested trusted good Housekeeping Institute logo 87% of consumers are more likely to buy that product or service even those who aren't consumers.

Keeping as a magazine Brand and I think it's one of those brands that people you know it as I say it is possible the Nation's DNA and everybody knows it as a brand if you tonight for example not suggesting you would have a bottle of red wine at home and spill it on your cream carpet.

Where are you going to go for advice about how to get the same out of your carpet? You probably goodhousekeeping.co.uk probably would have you got any white wine to get rid of it first of all good.

Just before we move on once upon a time a long long time ago in media years magazine editors went for long lunches and once a month they might put some copy on the page.

However you how much of a job these days going to be on the Magazine podcast events dinner with advertisers.

It's far more than magazine me obviously that the website is no point 7 million unique users we got social tunnels, so obviously Facebook and Instagram we've got life events.

We've got brand extension so we do cookery book of the year in addition to the Monthly magazine.

We produced several years that food special.

There's a lot of different Arms to it.

If one of your report is a few hours before you went to press that with the next edition said you know what is a phone call from top figure at the health the whole of London can you put on shut down if this would you put that in the magazine as a newspaper? It's going to be out of this is new you know the website.

You know the next magazine to be fair.

I'm really losing so I'm pulling is not specifically it's the longer.

Impact of it, but you know we have to win the title missing title be relevant be relevant audience now, so there's little point putting in a feature in our next issue about you know the holiday money which may be something that we would if I'm around you know.

What what how best to protect your finances in a economic trouble times which is something.

I really know very much focused on so I think good journalism whether you're on a website or a daily newspaper or in the magazine orna radio channel is all kind of actually friend it through your audience.

That's my job back to that question we supposed to the top of the show are there are circumstances when Genesis have to withhold the truth because I said the crowd was posted some Future ethical questions for journalism, and I want to start with something that have the weekend at you know that the country is now in total lockdown initially the quarantine was just at regions in the North that was implemented at the weekend, but it was a newspaper corriere della, Sera

First alerted the public and they've been roundly criticized for doing so Dany mitzman is a report in Bologna and she's on the line from her home day good afternoon.

Hello there very nice to talk to you say ok, so what's the story before the government had made it official? Can you please give us a sense of the Times goes to what actually happened.

What happened was that the newspaper received the leak on Saturday during the afternoon and it was it was a draught decree at the time which means that the minister of health will look forward the recommendations which were based on expert medical and scientific opinions and then make those out the regions for consideration.

It seems that that's where the leak happened that someone probably from one that didn't like this lockdown idea and thought it was all a bit of an overreaction linked to the newspaper but then they published it the result of which was just mass panic because

People would have gone straight onto social media share the story and all the people who are living in the area, which was due to be locked down on the Sunday race to the castle most of them to train stations and so you had huge crowds of people at Milan for example train station trying to get onto trains so really Pat trains all the things that they tend to avoid in these days of coronavirus emergency happening because of that leak.

I said it's been initially well the prime minister Giuseppe Conte was very very upset by it he said that it was a disaster that should have been avoided in such a delicate moment during the emergency.

He said it was unacceptable for something like that to happen that it had put the government's work at risk and the safety of Italians and created uncertainty and confusion so ok.

Siri such a massive story 16 million people about to lock down in the second last my colleagues in the studio if they have resisted the temptation to break it for you.

Just give us a sense, please of what's going on in terms of Media this right now you are you indoors presumably lots of people staying at home.

It is what you're getting for me to watch it like what the TV channel showing really like the equivalent of the BBC has been really making an effort.

So they actually put on 5 hours a day from 9 till 2 p.m.

Of programmes Monday to Friday for the young people biology physics chemistry and aviation literature philosophy and history art programs my daughter had a look at the English program.

Only ever been in a to speak said it was a bit boring and she's only 6 but they've got plenty to watch if they don't want to do the homework, but their teachers and setting them online to really good.

Thank you very much for your time and it's Danny Michelin who's Ian Bologna

Let's get these ethical issues.

I'm going to ask all my guests the same question just editor-in-chief of huffpost, UK if you had a scooter that part of the country to be put into quarantine.

Would you publish if I think what I would say is all the way through this crisis and similar crises.

We are constantly making ethical decisions about whether or not we publish new Balance that with the public good and the need not to panic over.

This is a much bigger story then I need the ones we've encountered over the last few weeks.

I think on balance if you believe that journalism has to be in the public interest and you you believe in the importance of stepping back and making proper consideration about whether what you're doing is putting lives at risk.

I wouldn't have puppies that not because they are asking you not to publish, but because separate to that you then have to have a discussion within your senior leadership team in The Newsroom and I think for me the benefit of getting us throughout the day.

Getting a skip for somebody else does is in no way offset by the danger to public health think differently we have completed editorial boards would be there since you think they come to the same sort of conclusions about balancing.

I think so, I mean I have a really great relationship with them and if I were grappling with something as big as this I would probably turn to one of my bosses and maybe to just talk it through with them for some cancelled if your editor if you had this has Steven Swinford from the time and if you had this group, are you talking to her? She just went through the reasoning at Jessie's put forward very articulately, how do you respond? I think I agree with Jess the paper for paper.

We define like I think with the paper wouldn't put it live but in a practical sense.

I'll talk you through what would happen.

I mean.

I think we would take that scoop pretty quickly to the government.

Is it right and if it is you need to bring it forward because we're going to get this out now and we would work with them and make sure that the word time of the public and government and I got so much on interest readers interests at heart and I think that if there's a good reason for the government cold.

You know then we would look hard and and and probably published on Philips Hue editorial director BuzzFeed before moving to full fat.

What would you have done again? This is a really really hard decision and this is so much.

It would be context-dependent it actually isn't necessarily about the big principles on either side at least as I feel that there really is a question of like are the government being deceptive in this.

What is the government's response when you go to them? What is the the actual situation on the ground at the time? I think those are all taxes.

You have to be considering and I don't have any information about the

Your those kind of like granular details that would actually inform such a decision, but yes I fully agree with that there are bigger principles at stake here and it's not because of the government is telling you not to do it you have that in the public interest for would you if you were going to go with that story would you try to I don't mean to say that I'm telling you this is a story we've got I still want to get the scoop out something with a lot of Awards if you're doing it x oclock could I do it 10 minutes before it in a transactional way between transaction and exactly that way the Lion part.

We would put forward our case we got a dock in and it's relevant to our readers that relevant to the public.

What why do you government not think it should go out and I have you already got reasons to back out or is it? It's just a matter of well, you know we would rather do it then you know I think probably would put it.

In that context is crucial here if what you had uncovered in those conversations was some sort of dispute between public health officials and ministers then obviously you might consider that you should but I think obviously the huge threat to public safety would be at the front of your mind when you are considering whether or not to do that.

It would be if we've got this then it's somewhere else as well.

So you should be having to say exactly.

How do you report the chitima concerns by supermarkets about potential shortages without them causing actual panic by I mean this is this is a huge question because cause panic buying is a buy large a dumb thing to do until everybody else starts panic buying at which point it becomes sensible.

Yeah absolutely all of this it has to be done responsibly in Context you know I've been doing lots of pictures of empty shells and block me some of them have just looked like what a supermarket looks like at the end of the day.

And you know you're not those asked as they not filled with photos of writing here at the moment all the shelves are full.

I mean you know I know my local Tesco still hardly roll, and I don't know why people are particularly it.

Would you call a search get specific it? Would you qualify that as a classifier that is missing information and there was no why not? I mean it would have to be what's going on.

It could be necessarily.

I think that all news is by it's nature selective you select what is a story.

What is not a story about this all the time you focus on one thing so obviously you are always selecting.

That's a story.

That's not a story so it may I can see a situation in which it might rise to the level of actually being misleading information necessarily is but just how do you report panic buying without causing public hysteria? What we've we've got a few actually.

We sort of tried to look at what's going.

Find the panic buying so we did a piece about the psychology of anything we spoke to some psychotherapist about why people do it whether it reflects Society whether it's selfish.

We also did a piece about how if you're panic buying hand gel that doesn't have the highest percentage of alcohol in fact.

It's useless against coronavirus, but you're taking it away from people who really need to have compromised immune systems.

He might be hit by other things so I think there are ways of reporting.

What's going on with a bit of thoughts bit of context and not kind of just that you won't if you go look at her face UK today.

You're not going to see loads of pictures of empty shelves you're going to see more considered coverage of what's going on as you can go for but other people chasing clicked might go for I would agree toilet roll in almost.

Everything is not a lifesaving medicine.

Supported the greater the chance of seeing more of it happening the more you report panic by the more you going to get the gist of the story about Planet Bike is good for ratings.

That is good for clicks.

Well.

That's great pictures of pressure that you have to resist the pressure.

I think we've defuse the panic buying things a little bit with humour and the toilet roll thing is played by 12 internet.

You know we left yesterday that the 20 areas of the country most keen on stockpiling blue paper and near the 20 likely does a north South divide diffusing it with a bit of humour.

I think so, how much fake news is we seeing what tends to happen in this sort of situation is the missing information gets attracted to big stories and you know all that every conspiracy theory in the world has its own take on Corona virus or obviously Corona Paris and having link to anti 5G conspiracy theories let you know he calls coronavirus it, didn't you?

Is it anti-semitic stuff you know that the Rothschilds own a patent on it? So you do see that it's I'm not sure that the level of misinformation role has gone up.

I wouldn't have enough data to get to say that but certainly you do see that it gravitates towards the big story and start to do it.

What is it that public health is something that the combination of science which is sometimes complicated if you was anxiety about the why is it public health lens itself conspiracy so much.

I mean this has been the case as far as I can tell her human history and compares to you know as well poisoning panics in like mediaeval year.

You'll see the same things happening over and over again you see that you know this will fear of contamination is one of the core fears and fears a very often Drive this information and to be clear that the well-intentioned does a natural desire to share information that you think might help something might help love and quite often private to do chat forums at WhatsApp I mean yeah, we've seen things that.

We've been put things in surrounding WhatsApp that are basically presenting.

What's thought to be good information that will help you stay safe but actually isn't that? It's like a straight to UNICEF which did not where it's wrong.

They denied there anything to do with it, but nonetheless the desire to help people but I think it's really important for everybody but you have before you share.

That is really not that actually what is wrong then actually you may be doing more harm than good and should make full fact as we talked about this program before your an official partner of Facebook on this.

Just have you got a politics which is the most things itself as against politics and some fundamental way, but at times this your role can sometimes be too literally pass on what people in government tell you and there's also a dangerous and that you end up if you put the premises you allow them to look like wartime leaders almost at your end up slipping into WhatsApp Through My Fingers propaganda, but others with his public information such an interesting point the most.

You can buy that is just to have your wits about you to be honest.

There's obviously as Tom has talked about there's a duty for all of us to kind of current information and make sure the information with putting out his quality and is coming from the right sources and we are passing on stuff and public Health England but clearly there has to be a Distance we not going to start writing her geography is about how fantastically Boris Johnson is dealing with this crisis if he does deal with it then obviously I'll be political analysis to point that out, but I think it's just about making sure we had that distance all the time and also you know for all of us are Corona virus.

Covered is multifaceted.

Not just reporting what's happening at our politicians are reacting is lifestyle staff.

It's kind of here to help journalism as well, so I think we're not kind of running a running commentary of stuff going out of Downing Street certainly not responsible journalism to me.

Thank you very much.

You're very annoying this shows only 28 minutes long so we just editor-in-chief of Puppets UK tour.

Full facts at Paul Nuki global Health security editor Daily Telegraph and Gabi who is the editor-in-chief of good Housekeeping thank you very much indeed an earlier Dany mitzman, who was in Italy will be back next week.

Thank you so much for listening.


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