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Read this: 26/04/2020 Radio 4 Feedback

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26/04/2020 Radio 4 Feedback…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, how do you cover a crisis the like of which very few if any of us have ever experienced workforce and restrictions on your movements this week in feedback, the BBC's head of news output Gavin Allen explains what he is generous to trying to do and listeners give the differing verdict.

This is arguably the greatest crisis regeneration and it's global get the BBC who won the great supporter of seems to be in retreat in the breadth and depth of average.

I do believe the government as are most of us trying their best to help us through this time and the BBC is acting irresponsibly so what are a national broadcasters possibilities and how old is BBC News fulfilling them, but at least the coverage of our closest neighbour Island it maybe.

I would but I'm not sure we have done quite enough and we've been trying and in this week's out of your comfort and feature a mother and daughter are divided once again about a program.

I find it really fascinating every kind of element of it was incredibly new to me Kate Kennedy actually going to Berlin and looking around and saying now this is an industrial estate.

I don't think it particularly added much to the programme anything in the programme mother and daughter continue to disagree later in feedback.

Well, this is our final programme with the series and the 5th week of the UK's lockdown and a 8 weeks ago when the number of coronavirus cases in the UK number, just 15 winterview calendar head of BBC News output face to face in the studio not today.

He's in the studio.

I'm at home 2 months on.

What are the challenges facing the national broadcaster at a time of crisis that has had such a profound effect on our way of life in such a short space of time and thank you very much for joining us and before I put this question to you.

I want to ask about the conditions or the limit in a sense into which your operating I'm in for a start.

How many of your stuff off and it's a pretty extraordinary images you when you come in to BBC at probably anywhere in the BBC online the London headquarters Millbank Westminster when did Salford and what different is that? I think I'll occupancy is something like 7 8% in the building of

Doing social distance saying there is a huge focus on staff safety and other people safely and general responsibility, but it is just visually to walk in and suddenly so much emptiness and people working extraordinary flexibly and brilliantly I should say both from home at work.

Really doing everything they can to keep critical programs on air and seven agency, but it must be in the sun reporting that is very difficult if not impossible to do I mean in ordinary times.

I assume you be able to find out things that you can't find out now any restrictions on I'm not sure it I mean it does require a bit more ingenuity, but you can still conduct rigorous interviews with scientists with experts across all Fields we can still hear from members of the public that the amazing breakthroughs of technology has just been doing here.

We don't have to be in the same building to be able to talk to you.

And that is true for all the interviewees that we do and don't get me wrong clearly.

It will be a lot easier a lot better journalistic Lee and socially when we can inverted commas get back to that doesn't mean we're being hindered from being journalistic in the meantime well for a quite a lot of listeners with made observations and here are some of them about the coverage of the government's daily news briefings David Handsworth from Oxfordshire little attempt has been made to expose the government disgraceful ideological refusal to take advantage of an early European plan to supply the latest the situation is appalling the government one of the worst in living memory is being allowed to get away with Propaganda day off today with no challenge in parliament and a fart muted questioning from journalists and Mum home the BBC should be at the head Dr John sorensen.

Your whole reporting of the covered responses ignore the last 10 years.

That is deliberately destroyed the NHS which we knew and now have proof to see has put the lines of staff and patients at risk why you not holding the government to account and Walker I feel that the BBC misrepresents the government in such a way as to try to discredit it.

Just makes it more likely that people will not follow the guidelines and advice given out by the government lot of the questions asked in the daily briefings often imply that the government is being dishonest Sarah Hughes Clark the time to hold the government to account is after the crisis is over and the government's and fairly many of my friends and family are getting really fed up with the BBC constantly trying to score points and trip up the government there's been quite a lot of controversy over the coverage of these government daily news briefings Sarah Clark a some of the corresponding trying to score points and trip up the government were time when actually the government needs supporting.

You said you have to support the government.

I don't think it's the role of an independent news organisation to support any more than it is to attack the government not neither of those things are our roles are is discrete noise and the journalistic can be useful actually fundamentally the test I see everything through the prism of things is this useful is it serving our audience and helping them to understand? What is go to deal with it and to cope with it and as I say to be better informed of course one of the roles is if there are guidelines that are friendly life and death guidelines from the link from scientists from experts.

It is absolutely right that we responsibly report those and make sure people are clear and answer the questions are always have the equally if there are concerns from our audiences from the Frontline about for instance the provision of personal protective equipment or other elements that are vital that we asked questions about that about the supply of that say anything it's

Instinct that actually your EE or police reports in particular are behaving as if you know what we're trying to do is to try and score points were going to trip up the government tried to make a Newsline we're trying to get the headlines and actually this is a very different situation the political questions in some ways are less important than the medical and science questions.

I think all those questions fortnite personally.

I'm not in favour of something that seeks purely to make a headline.

I don't think that is the purpose of use the pose of music to help people understand.

What is going on and that it's not about establishing a political blame or culpability.

It's about exploring governance and exploring governance is as important as insights and data into the latest breakthrough medical breakthrough.

They are all part of the same information gathering and scrutinizing that the BBC absolutely century has to do but as I say I don't agree that will be those who?

Question about topic x and we're asking about topic.

Why we may well come to explain the track but it's you're never going to answer question that everybody universally want the answer to that you hope that this isn't a short-term issue.

You would hope that across the days the weeks and months.

We will get to all those topics and try and add information and usefulness to the people watching listening, but Andrew Walker mentioned that the heating's is a danger that the public is less likely to follow guidance and advice which is essential if the government credibility is being undermined.

He thinks that are responsible and by implication of things you were being a responsible in time of War the BBC is seen as the national broadcaster.

We're not officially at War but in some ways we are with this virus and I think it said people's Andrew would say your primary responsibility is to help the government get over this crisis not undermine it.

I think I'll prime responsibility is to.

Ansible, can I think part of delivery note responsible role is as I say to scrutinise the government actually even at a time of War is your stomach me to discover that my ignorance but in the middle of the second world war there was a vote of no confidence nothing to against Winston Churchill it doesn't stop scrutiny happening even the middle of World War II and I agree with an incredibly challenging but that shouldn't stop asking questions because it may well be that by asking the question by probing a bit further you actually assist the effort by sharpening the focus.

I don't be pompous self-important about it.

You would hope that the media by asking these questions can Focus engine as we have Donald's topics such as mental health or domestic violence asking these questions you can turn the light on something that is the purpose of journalism and there's a particular problem.

They were statistics.

Isn't there because most of us a few of us would have taken a level in statistics most of us are not very good at calculating risk.

So when we see figures about numbers of deaths per day whatever we sort of seized upon them and she probably shouldn't because the sticks are unreliable there are often they require a number of days.

Maybe another week to be checked and so there's a Desire on the one hand to save something this is happening the number of deaths today and then you must feel all those of your experts must feel don't put too much reliance on these things do you think you have put too much reliance on these daily statistics? I think clearly people want to know the core statistics book.

You're absolutely right.

This is right by 100% talking to the district, but I agree with you.

Which is we have to make sure that the context of that the the percentage per population etc.

How does that compare to Germany have that compared to America will they do countries in bigger, etc, etc? They test more therefore the present.

It will be different this so many caveats you can insert and I think if you're going to use to test eggs if you're going to talk about growth rates.

You do need to be.

Crystal Clear what exactly it is your conveying and what you're comparing in terms of like-for-like so I agree that I don't think there's an over-reliance on the statistics per se the press conference at the end of the day at 5 each day of very informative on a whole range of topics not just numbers but in terms of behavioral trends and insights and breakthroughs or R&B reminder on hours and hours of coverage before you get to those press conferences in which were doing very useful.

I hope journalism for audience is not purely about the number of those infected or dying the obsessive everybody but clearly yes, it is a point of huge interest in the government should just be allowed to get on with it without being challenged by BBC journalist.

That is of course take of a different particularly when Parliament is in absentia, David Handforth Astra example has there been a lack of scrutiny of the government's failure to?

Early European plant to supply ventilators of course this is now come to the fore but a little tidying pursuing that story and what is a very difficult one to get to the root of well.

I should be reported on it very early and instead.

We have come to it this week again.

It's reemerged as it were and risen to the sort of higher up the agenda, but it's not that we didn't do that when sorry February March in the pandemic.

Is it where is breaking out but we have study looked at dad's and in fact one of the clips on O2 doing the rounds on social media is about Michael Gove discussing it on the Andrew Marr Show which is a BBC pretty primetime output so we absolutely have looked at it, but that's not to say that again picking up.

There are umpteen areas to explore we will endeavour to explore them and that does mean that it will be absent flows as we look and focus on different topics Sue my grumbles regarding the concentrate feed of.

Tragedies that we get particular programs such as today in p.m.

Which are generally great however since we found ourselves in this terrible and tragic from any situation the constant daily dose of personal stories and he adds to my worst emotions, can I be the only person finding the stories such an emotional burden which just makes daily life more difficult Stephanie Groves we please have less anecdotal and emotionally charged interviews with individuals about coronavirus experiences.

It's getting like reality TV too much drama and not a lot of content junior Brosnan from Heald Green in Cheshire what I don't understand is in use terms.

What is happening with coronavirus is crying out for investigation if in one week one report around 20 care home today and asked basic questions about the main subject of the our testing and PPE you have enough to fill 15 minutes with relevant critical.

Potentially lifesaving information student has been too much focus on the daily briefing as a source of news rather than independent investigative journalism has really blossomed.

There are many questions that need answering I mean are you phoning around hospitals and care homes to find out what is actually happening with PPE just phoning around and yes, we certainly not talking to you on the front lines, but we're actually going to these bases in hospitals, whether it's looking at the source of mother and baby unit Focuses on and I see you in the access the Wii Wii games there to really understand.

What is happening on the front line, so I don't think on use lines are totally driven or even completely driven actually by the press conference of I've got clean.

It's important point in the day and it's of interest in huge numbers of audience is because they still tune in for our coverage of that but there's an awful lot of coverage building up to that which is done by us independent exploring what we think is of interest to our audiences.

And that may fit into the press conference it may not and it may supplement that but it's not that we wait wait wait and 5, so good that we got a TopLine just that isn't how it operates as a very depressed and understandably this on a worry about mental illness.

Do you have to be on the side of optimism if you like that you have to somehow smuggling.

Hope I'm not ugly I think we can be pretty about the fact that there are some extraordinary stories like the obvious one in recent days if the captain Tom Moore story in terms of just positivity.

Just a minstaller genuine offer there are things that people doing that are pretty extraordinary and it is about the mix of that, but it's not about being relentlessly do lady.

It's not about being relentlessly panglossian and optimistic.

What is actually happening scrutinise it and tell people and show what is going on in homes up and down the country as well as in the political field of scientific film the medical field.

Negros complaint has been too much focus on personal tragedies and life in lockdown rather than strong generated content.

I'm sure she obviously would think the personal tragedy should be featured, but she's funniest little relentless to be honest and would like to simply more stronger journalism, didn't you know it's not there is two too much coverage personal.

I don't think they are mutually exclusive they're both journalistic.

There's a whole range of how you can conduct journalism journalistic pursued.

Yes, some of it will be about being on the Frontline of the ICU some of it will be looking at domestic violence or the care homes at some of it will be about somebody recovering and that she has positive but as you want they recover.

What can we learn from that to even the Nativity is informative people have very mixed experiences of being in lockdown and it's important we reflect that in the good and the bad Geraldine BT from the

Is in Wiltshire this is a pandemic yet? We really hear about other than a few favourite countries what's going on in the Caribbean or crew of the Pacific are they all still open for business so many stories that could be told please BBC give us more diverse coverage from Dublin to cover from the country with which the UK shares a land border Ireland and I Wonder Why This is we are all looking forward to the loosening of restrictions and adapting to a new normal.

We are going to have to co-operate to stay safe in the future.

So why are BBC listeners not been made aware of what's going on over here so in the future.

We may all be safe in the understandable need to inform everybody about what happened in this country sometimes the agenda looks rather narrowly British or UK is it more difficult?

Find out what's happening around the world and then difficult to push that onto the agenda and I think or international teams are doing extraordinary job in lockdown, as it were across the globe and we've heard from pieces from Brazil with an obviously from China but from Africa from Asia a genuine acrostic loading extraordinary job funny enough.

I think the Irish example I would but I'm not sure we have quite enough and we've been trying to get interviews with the sort of the Health and Safety Executive there and the and doing pieces but we have got one pencilled in as my understanding in the next week and I think there is certainly inability to do that story or explore.

That's what we did in the beginning of the schools lockdown in Ireland you can always do more but there's no resistance to the global picture finally we are living in very very dark times for your medical correspondent said of his experience in intensive care unit at the London hospital that

Sugar reality but was deeply troubled by what I saw and as we look further Foley also said restrictions may have to continue for the next 12-months.

This is a dog.

We do simply facing a very dark future and you think it's the BBC's Road just to spell that out.

How do you sometimes think I know this is too much must actively give hope one of the reasons.

I think the people have come to us an extraordinary numbers and find us the most useful the most trusted the easiest to understand is because it's not sleep negative.

It is not helpful in an Innocent banana way or if you know finding the the happy story because it'll be sort of terror patronising and there are areas where there are positives, but that doesn't diminish the fact that this is going to be really tough for a long time to come I suspect not just a broadcaster operating but for Society

It is more generally my thanks to Gavin Allen the head of BBC News output and do let us know your thoughts on that interview and anything else to do with BBC Radio this is how you can get in touch you can send an email to feedback at or write a letter to the address is feedback PO Box 67234 London se1p for as you can follow activity on Twitter by using at BBC R4 feedback or you can call us and leave a phone message on 03345 standard landline charges apply, but it could cost more on some mobile networks all these details are on our website for asking to BBC Radio listeners to step out of their comfort zone and listen to a program that would normally be on their radar.

This week we have mother and daughter Eve and live Acres from Lewes in East Sussex thank you for Johnny is and Mummy what would be your top 2 programmes if you were standard on that mythical silent my top three would be start the week in our time and Sorry I Haven't a Clue of course because of the settee Tim Brooke-Taylor which were all obviously deeply upset about your studying A Levels what do you listen to to listen to Tool not really? I mean I hear it on the radio sometimes in the background with my mum, but I haven't really ever tuned in it's not really on my radar at all when we asked you to do The Raven Legacy on Radio 3 which is available on BBC sounds.


He how would you describe the program explain what it's about.

It's about an inch.

That was put together at the start of the first World War and Peace is Radio 3 and music it was basically more about a group of musicians that were interned in this camp and their growth as musicians over the 4 years that they were imprisoned in it on the outskirts of Berlin and the British intern David I think on musical or cultural exchanges and got stuck there in August 1914 and then didn't get out until the end of the war was there anything surprising about the programs and you weren't expecting live I didn't go into it expecting anything but I didn't know till about this kind of side of the first world war and its history and how it impacted on all these different musicians and their compositions in the future for like to be honest.

I haven't heard of it at all.

It was completely new story to me.

New TV yes, I had never heard of anything like this.

It was fascinating and it was moving and I did really enjoy it was surprised to find it on Radio 3.

I didn't realise that they actually had programs like this.

I just thought it was like music like radio One exception was just for classical music so it was really surprising so what we have is a prison camp which has many of the functions of a music college the place where musicians could develop their skills are more exposed to you challenging situations, but it's intake with eclectic new one auditions to be at ruhleben and the concert programs needed to appeal to a captive audience so they can bind ambitious and popular works for many of the young musicians.

It was a transformative experience.

What was presented by Dr Kate Kennedy who is the musician that she went to Berlin she talked to the relatives and of a number of those who were there and also to expert subsequent did this work for you? Will you happy to go along with this presenter and did this structure makes sense to you.

I think that Kate Kennedy actually going to Berlin and looking around and saying oh now this is an industrial estate.

I don't think it particularly added much to the program.

It left me feeling that I wanted to find out more about the camp itself because it was at 3.

It was a Focus really on music and also on the musicians and musical life afterwards and the way in which they been affected by what had happened.

Did you happy to follow that argument through and not learn too much about the camp but focus on the musical as it was side of things.

Element of it was incredibly new to me like I don't know that much about classical music at all for either unlike the the first world war so I was just sort of focusing on that kind of element because it was an area that I had I don't know I didn't know about beforehand.

So yeah the people the opportunity to learn things to learn to that is reflected in their later music declined into depression and really did not recover until the the camp was over so I just thought it was quite poignant listening to it now in our circumstances to find out that one of them actually had his PhD submitted to Oxford University there was an incredible could not believe that that he'd sat there and you know written and done whatever you had to do to get this PhD the Germans had passed the examination.

Set them to Britain only checking only checking that there was a military information in Bob know what the man in Britain was a very patriotic English peace.

I didn't know that something happened at the end was I wonder if they would have the people that really succeeded in music like the people they concentrated on whether they would have quite gotten to the Pinnacle of their careers if they hadn't have been in there.

That's kind of what it left me wondering what the claim of the program wasn't it programs tend to make large planes in order to get people interested.

Do you think they sustain that claim? I think if you're a creative person.

I think being around other people I've seen the art.

That's come in the writing.

I do believe that it did Spar on that creativity.

Ever sit down and slowly listen to a show like that, but maybe if I was on a long train journey, when this is all over on the way to college or something.

I might tune in BBC sounds of something about you out of your comfort zone and would you make a return journey to the Radio 3 documentary certainly have a look in the sea.

What was on now.

We have so much more time to kind of think about what we want to to entertain us.

Yes, I would definitely have a look and see if there was anything on bo3 that would interest me and leave a cursed mother and daughter from West Sussex thanks for joining us.

And if you at home would like to take part in that feature, please do let us know and that's it for this week and indeed for this run.

Please be on it again in June until then, please do keep your comments coming in and keep safe keep separate goodbye.

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