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Read this: Return of the expert

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Return of the expert…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 in these extraordinary times the need to hear from experts has never been greater but we are largely Reliant of course on journalist to help us with that be at the TV producers who put them on are all the reporters who summarise message so today.

I want to ask how good a job is the media doing at explaining the science behind what's going on.

Are we hearing from the experts the right experts or is the Westminster lobby still setting the news agenda for those questions that means use our panel her joining by all manner of different technologies in different parts of the country Emily Wilson the editor of The New Scientist Emily welcome.

Where are you at the moment? I'm in Dorset in my sitting room in the very small village in Dorset

Yeah, so we moved to a fully work from home company last Thursday so we just sent yesterday.

Sent our first magazine from many different remote locations and it was very stressful, but it Touchwood Hessle in the traditional order and with the pages the traditional way up so far.

No fingers crossed with me which I guess right now becomes something about rarity is Gareth Mitchell Gareth presenter BBC World Service show digital planet available as a podcast cause he's also feature in science communication at Imperial College London imperial is very much in the news of course some of your colleagues are advising the government on how to respond to covered 90.

What about you use electric well, we were saying about the new Scientist operation going fully remote as it were and we had to do the same thing so all face-to-face teaching at university has.

Been stopped their elements department of being really just told just bought the whole department to do it remotely so I'm trying to work out how to teach a practical radio module radio production.

Do that online next term scratching my head that's going to be pretty tough, but it's usually appreciate your giving up your time to come in.

Thank you and we've also got Dr Ellie cannon on the line any rights of the Sunday makes videos for Mail Plus an additional cost of being an NHS GP but wash your hands into your Monica on social media and a key theme of what you're right.

I don't panic.

Do you think my messages getting through probably? I think it probably will do in the last few days.

I think I'm unfortunately were suffering with social media fake viral posts which even doctors like me get sent from their friends.

I'm sure Gareth Emery

Well pharmacy times Birmingham to debunk those things like that.

I just have to delete them and say this is incorrect and I just delete them because I think I'm fortunate to be careful not to oxygenate which is something I learnt with the new fighting the anti Vax movement every time you answering get involved in your oxygenating that sort of bad story so it's best just to I think deoxygenated them and not give them the Light of Day are we due a bit too smashdown conspiracy theories on the show rest assured very good.

Have you later in the show will also be looking at how the BBC itself is adapting to the situation.

You may have heard something else was today about new information services in scaling back the other services damage open is the BBC's controller of iPlayer and programming Dan at good.

Hope you'll show EastEnders is just one of many shows how to stop.

Be level with the street that are we going to get used to a summer of lots of repeats well.

You're going to get loads of great shows coming up.

It's really exciting for you at the moment because there's so much content there and more dropping all the time about to drop a whole nother load of boxes and it cost to have to remember many shows you know televisions made well in advance, so the drama is coming up that have already been made so killing Eve normal people the nests on this Sunday on BBC One so absolutely would be lots of new shows and it's also a chance to catch up on anything.

They may not seeing anybody that's seen everything on iPlayer and there's plenty of fantastic.

So scared not even using charger ok, even me when you talk to you about the Beast shortly.

Thanks for your time to go back to a panel of science journeys to it.

Going to help us try to make sense of the new reality let's start by looking at how the government is getting information out to us at number 10 is now.

A daily press conference is coming up shortly in fact but has the government been quick enough and clear enough with this information a question and I mean it's been quick with information of course that information has shifted in there has been a lot of criticism really that's the the picture hasn't been amazingly coherent and and it's interesting that there is an over the weekend about the extent to which people trust messages coming from the government 36% trusted what the prime minister had to say on the subject 37% trusted information given by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock where is the signs of come out of this world so the chief medical advisor Chris Whitty and 59% place their faith in what he's saying is 55% in the director-general of the world Health Organisation take me back to your question about how well number 10 is doing I suppose what it is doing right.

It's getting the scientists out there and causing dizzy everyday now or is John

Thanks by the expert only how do you write the government so far is fantastic? I think it's all I think they mean terrifically well.

I think that the net effect of ended up being quite baffling to two lots of people.

It's really difficult situation.

It's easy to cast stones if you're not in the room.

We've never been in a situation like this and you know the epidemiology saying doing the rounds as if you want and you seem so no one knows exactly the right course but they've been deciding to the metre out their message and as a result my husband's in Dorchester today and it like a normal sound a people sitting in cafes that isn't how we're going to get on top of this and the government's got to take some share in that what you would you do differently.

Well, I think that for a long time the best thing was all around very narrow range of symptoms.

I'm sure they were doing that just because I don't want the NHS 111 overwhelmed but the fact is this is a disease that can prevent just as a runny nose so for all staff at work.

We said for about 3-weeks if you have a and we have the luxury to be asked to work from home.

Obviously not everyone can but we've said if you have any cold or flu symptoms, please stay at home stay off public transport.

Don't bring them to work and I think a lot of people like I will I'm just walking around with the cold, but they don't think that they think that they got a raging fever they don't have to stay in so I do think it's a bit has been a report of the conference.

No, we haven't we have much smaller resources than many other organisations, so we're having to wee power info about what a generous response so probably should be there, but it's not the end of the world if we're not political editor.

Do you think health and science reporters should be leaving the questions of this sort of event is a goddess but I think that it would be good.

Yes, it would be good if more of them were there.

Yes because it's the you know how how much are the policing of this really is the least important.

That's why they're big suspended questions that need to be asked the thing that I think.

Think it's fair to say currently has been to the bungalow.

It feels the right places about testing last week.

They were messaging that they were going to change a really test is only a few admitted to hospital and you seem very ill meanwhile the director wh0 the world Health Organisation same test as I've got an interview and I made this week with the assistant director general Health Organisation saying that the reason trying to get on top of this is from testing from chasing down every day so all around that.

I think the more questions and maybe a few of the principle that should be health and Science Specialist that are leaving the questions of course.

It's going to be a mixed you know this is political stories.

What is a scientific one, but it is and I would say this is an indication that it is vital that the health and science correspondent are prominent in if not leading the coverage.

People with either science backgrounds or people who have been on the science be for a long time over there, where will the new Scientist and it's just things like understanding the process of science understand fully exposed and epidemiology understanding the basics of epidemiology even Concepts like absolute vs.

Relative risk hazard ratios p-values all these seemingly rather boring but very important statistical things what about this one herd immunity.

I mean the phrase herd immunity with first ever heard of it was last Thursday when Robert Peston ITV Twitter later tweeted and Johnson Cummings and Hancock UK people to require quotes herd immunity took over 19 their entire strategy is designed to achieve that in a phase and delayed way to prevent NHS prevent NHS collapse have been setting the agenda around her and advised that the information has got out via a political editor and b.

It's been interpreted to stop becoming one thing that really worries me is when you hear something like that and I don't have in this particular case this happened, but where you hear something like a little girl wants a from an anonymous source of an unnamed Source at number 10 has told me and I think that desire to get the Scoop I fully understand that I might hack myself but at a time like this.

I think you have to put the national interest National Health over make it a dominant over your desire to get the use of a plan to isolate the over 70s earlier this week, and I think it's worth doing and he treated my job which I've been doing for 35 years.

It's a try and find out what's going on and tell you about it.

Slightly really some of us into attacking me for communicating what I find find out if you wanted that what I write is the product of questioning many relevant sources not being spoonfed, so you seem to think and I speak to his many scientists and doctors and they do officials and politicians.

It's my

I'm not saying this defensively but to explain that person is one of the Script letters of his generation write really fed hold it against him if he gets decent Gear from those in power as long as it doesn't end up causing damage and the herd immunity story meme call It What You Will ended up being damaged in a Corsa Patrick vallance chief science advisor themselves on the Today programme last week.

We talked about building up some kind of community, so it's the third with this idea that somehow the response to this crisis will be to allow the virus to spread to the population and you end up with a herd immunity where those who have had been having my location to protect those who don't and of course it was sharply pointed out that would involve millions of cases and potentially untold thousands of fatality so I suppose what episodes is just how responsible all of us have to be with her political correspondent somebody on Twitter or a science correspondent in really thinking through what you putting out before you put it out and about that.

Are you turn on the chassis things like you turn a little bit unhelpful? We're talking about epidemiology and science and political.

What do it but I'm just not convinced by the Eastern I think they've come up with a plan where they announced they've made answer drumbeat of things everyday and today.

They're going to announce the probably that schools in England what clothes go to plan the following through a plan.

I'm sure the camera that you are so I'm sure circumstances will change but it seems a bit silly calling a U-turn that the bunch of people wash the data making decisions coming to Daily Press Conference every what would the New Scientist do in its approach to reporting this that will be different to a lobby hacker play George Ezra do we don't have any luggage and I don't know I said ok, so what we're trying to do is wetransfer do two things at the moment we transfer.

An overview for our readers and uncontrolled way because I think a lot of people are overwhelmed by the deluge of information so trying to just do that in quite a controlled way then secondly.

We're trying to go deep into things like the Race for a vaccine when we can offer real value and real realism this is still to some extent trying to score points at the moment.

I'll give you a concrete example yesterday on this morning on ITV at premises father Stanley Johnson was booked you 79 years old you could say that been somewhat responsible like someone has been advised to isolate then after about going to a pub knowing full well, I'd like to say something controversial headline grabbing some reason and then in the afternoon at the number 10 press conference during this trying to get a reaction to what is father said it.

I mean it also infantile doesn't exist and the Johnsons philosophy towards a beer or something infected into intra Johnson family matters.

Yeah, absolutely I mean I think when we're at the stage where people are and still have not understanding crucial terms and crucial aspect of the plan.

They have so as an example the difference between social isolation and social distancing.

I think to be talking about whether Stanley Johnson's in the pub absolutely is following his noise and is noise that is diluting incredibly important messaging and I think that people standing up who have no understanding of them the pandemic whether their daytime TV presenters or people who you've mentioned.

I just don't think it's obviously don't think it's helpful at all and I've been impressed by the politicians have managed to rise above this of politicizing and have become non-partisan and say this is right.

This is what we should be doing.

I think at the end of the day that will encourage people who listen to them to follow the advice in a few years ago on a very different subject and the quote that is taken out of context Michael Gove said people had enough of experts.

Do you think they're back infection so I mean I think so, I think you know is interesting because as we've said you know after chew ated on a viral social media but I have to say that I think that the broadcast channels in the newspapers and news organisations are actually in this time of trouble really making sure that they're doing a very very good job given as much support to their readership to their audiences in the right way an expert.

Obviously you're a person that I think it's become very clear in quite a bit of broadcasting the last couple of weeks that you can no longer have a doctor.

Talking about a health situation on a panel with a celebrity.

I'm encouraged that mean there's not a lot of good coming out of the situation if there is anything to take some comfort from it is a kind of rehabilitation of the experts and you mention that again and I know it was a crazy new assembly missguided baby saying allegedly.

They are all schools should be better than average, but away from Michael Gove I think again scene Boris Johnson flanked by the experts is a sign that tie's empiricism is coming back in again and Away that has been lacking in things like the brexit discussion over climate change and so because people don't like it when the experts tell them they can't fly and they should use less plastic and sound effects in this particular pandemic.

It seems to be the experts that we hear from that she talking in perfectly crisp sentence is the words come out like soldiers on the parade, but is it a general problem with scientific?

Which is it sometimes they're very complex internal think they're better explained that I spend my whole life trying to solve this problem as such a good question and it's a huge thing training scientist to become communicators and and yours just dropped between that buy lemons you going to the full amount of detail and give everything that they do you think your audience needs to know or do you simplify and and there's no easy answer that I think the sound is he just have to work out.

What does the really important information for this that the audience needs to know and that depends on its audience audience or do you think I would like definitely harder like quantum mechanics and so forth which are really the end where it's actually really easy to communicate or generally really interesting.

I agree with Ellie that I think mostly the world's Media understanding me fantastic job and

Is rehabilitating experts is wonderful to hear anything? I was going to add is that it's been quite a bit baffling and also expect to be very very distinguished expert to be publicly disagreeing and that's a sign of us being in such a difficult situation and why no one knows what's right with Dean basic.

Whether you think the scientist who makes a good communicator at the moment One challenge.

You must have had to explain complex science to lay readers without patronising good job mean.

I would I would have only just said actually this is quite this is quite a simple concept the idea for example of social distancing or the idea of the idea of the curve with a lot of talk about flattening the cab it should be it should be very simple.

I think both the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser or do.

An excellent job, I am not a political person and I understand why the Prime Minister have to stand in the middle of them for Political reasons and leadership reasons, but if it was too early for me scientific in the health messaging.

I would not have him there because I think it makes it quite sort of bubbly and about Boris and I think it should really be coming from the two from the two scientists which obviously Echoes the pole you mentioned earlier from the Observer where obviously they have the trust of the nation and maybe some people think of scientists as innocent until proven guilty and politicians have way round Emily thank you very much indeed for your time Ellie and Gareth as well now.

Just before I bring and Emmerdale being who's won the BBC's most Scenic in TV and on the iPlayer I thought it worth us providing a quick news roundup of some of the things that you may have missed in The Corporation in terms of its services over the coming weeks and months at first with the proposed changes to

TV licences for the over 75s that's been delayed by at least 2 months the plan is better if you know was that from June 1st only those on pension credit would get a free TV licence that's been pushed back to August 1st could be later.

So if you're not on Pension Credit that you are over 75 you got another 2 months of free the red button Information Service was going to be closed to be seen as today that's been postponed.

You may know the Glastonbury and Eurovision going to be broadcast by the BBC have both been cancelled or postponed at film in EastEnders has been suspended the same goes for many other Productions from line of duty and Peaky Blinders to the Crown on Netflix and the sweeping plans to fill the schedules today.

They're all in the BBC website at other broadcasters including a TV finance no plans as we speak literally right down the Golden what's the biggest headache that you face right now.

But safety of staff is paramount, so the first thing we thinking is you know what should items be doing does lots of remote working going on some people in isolation some on so that's absolutely paramount and then keeping systems resilience.

So you know it's not we need to make sure that iPlayer save resilient that the tennis tables within that we can play programs out and of course those things awkward and challenges and as the director general Tony Hall laid out today.

We said a raft of measures to make sure we rise to that challenge.

Isn't it? What the BBC always does the BBC BBC one particular issue.

Terry huge amount of Sport European football championships the Olympics Wimbledon if as seems likely or possible at least a hola cancelled what will replacement.

Will a few disappointing for people to have these events cancelled but everyone realises that the extraordinary times and unfortunately many of the things we thought were going to be possible or not? What these set up today is a whole raft of measures to make sure that we absolutely can continue to inform educate and entertain people on low incomes loft.

It certainly is released the things were trying to do so which one to make sure that when people do go home with itself isolator or and spend time with their families, then there's plenty of them to to watch an escape into when they when they break and when they want to actually forget about coronavirus for a while and actually escape into a good program.

Even more on offer presumably massive holes, which are you still able to work out exactly how you doing? Are you having to the sensitivity and said check yeah? Yeah, I spoke to someone so she said one of the issues that they face is that love he sent his shot and a pub and of course that's going to be wildly inappropriate.

Are you able to avoid movies with references to pandemics a public health emergencies that sort of thing you have to check for that yet, so we'll always be alert to what's going on in any circumstance everything I put out we can we keep an eye on all that kind of thing and I think people shouldn't get over sensitive about those kind of things.

I think you know there is a homo quite capable of realising that people in a pub.

You know that it's not necessary supposed to reflect what's going on in the world today everything on television doesn't have to reflect what's happening at this moment sometimes.

It's fair enough to escape into into something was just telling a story isn't relevant today and I think I need for people to do that.

So yeah, so yeah EastEnders as you say it is not going to lie and say that everything's going to be the same as it ever was we are we are going down to 2 as of now EastEnders will be on Monday and Tuesday nights, but we won't have it on Thursdays and Fridays and it with busy trying to put another schedule together ok in terms of the what we talked about the top of the showing times of the Crunch you said she mentioned.

That would you come out the coming weeks and months may already be in the can is Dylan GOGO's but you think it will come in the autumn winter this year is that when the shortage of shows that were currently in production that where the action is that where you really good with a pinch? This is going to have a long-term impact and that's not just the BBC that for the whole industry.

You know most shows that are in production are now having to stop we don't know how long for so we don't yet know the full scale of the impact but as with EastEnders we're going to look at what's already made and then we're going to start thinking about how we space that out so that so that people have got things to watch out.

There's a steady stream of new programs.

So the new programs will still continue to come through obviously the longer this goes on for and the longer things out of production the bigger impact is going to have in the long term so that's something that the whole industry is gonna be careful monitoring and it's really sad in many ways for the people working on those chosen for the date for the viewers who won't be able to see them with that as I was going to come on.

This is absolutely devastating for many people the trade who work is as freelancers on.

Obviously because all production suspended.

They haven't got anyone else to turn it weird to go to a lot of the BBC was their only source of a paycheck and what the what can the BBC what is the BBC doing to support those freelancers in particular.

Is there anything you can do well, we're doing know what we're trying to do is listen to the government advice work with the government and you know what with independent production companies and freelance there's no easy answers.

I can't sit here and give anybody any guarantees about anything because you know whatever industry you work in and then people in many other Industries are equally affected there a lot of things that we do at the moment at the BBC would do everything we can to support the production community and that includes both independent production companies and freelancers and make sure that we're that we keeping industry going as best we can alongside you know others other companies in the industry to believe you got two other two questions for you for your interest the iPlayer have you taken any messages?

technically sound when you know you can have used Mondeo we can have more buffering on the iPlayer and the other things what you doing to be that the daytime TV schedule is given the huge surgeon during the daytime TV

Ok, well, I play Yellow we've got a fantastic design and engineering team who are working really hard at the moment and he's ready difficult circumstances many of them home working but yes, we are aiming to keep the pavilion in terms of buffering and things I mean we don't know the impact but you know there is more demand the internet kind of setup for evening use which which is not going to use it when it was before so the daytime you should be ok at the moment for example health so that be quite a quick turnaround thing that would enable young and older around Britain to sort of checking with what they should know that helpful experts as we discussed earlier, but people need it poor people's attention and breakfast on The One Show thing fantastic job at the moment the One Show's providing a huge amount of extra content for people you know outside of the news agenda.

What do you need to know? How's life? Ok different bring it down? Thank you very much.

Has she got a lot going on at the moment? I'll take you to Ellie Emily and that is it from us.

We are back at the same time next week.

I hope in the meantime all of us here at the media show wish you and your family all good.

Thank you for listening and


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