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Reporting the vaccine…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello and welcome to the media Show podcast great news today has been approved in the UK it means biggest vaccination driving history now begins.

What role do the media play in making that happen newspapers campaign for readers to get vaccinated and friendly the most journalist have the scientific literacy to cover this enormous breakthrough properly the medicine's regulator has been busy these last 2 hours.

Let me mention another regulator and this is the other really significant me the story of the week the government is creating a new Watchdog of sorts to target tech companies like Facebook it's called the digital market unit it's a little bit complicated and still a bit unclear how it's going to work, but potentially a massive deal and will have a go at explaining let me introduce you to my guest Fiona godlee.

Is the editor of The British Medical Journal BMJ one of the world's oldest and most site.

Medical publications joins us from Cambridge piano very good to have you with us having to me you've been editing the BMJ c2005 surely.

This is been the busiest year in the journal.

I just to say I wasn't a GP but the hospital doctor minor point it has been an exceptional you and we've had an extraordinary time the hold of a scientific and technical community focus on this one is you and I'm feeling ourselves you know with it with a real heightened sense of purpose in wanting to live a really good reliable information and Laura Collins Joyce's from home in Bradford is the editor of The Yorkshire Evening Post a paper at nearly as old as the BMJ it was launched in 1890 at lower the national lockdown in England today.

You're in Leeds and Bradford near Leeds which 93 the papers based in Leeds how you coming it.

What time do you guys go to the Press

The key to it's looking at getting up agenda, and I can't help but feel as though the North and particular Bradford and Leeds and the children sat on the naughty stick at the moment.

So it feels a little bit of a disparity there was going to be on the front page with the question mark of what next what is next believes.

How are we going to play our way out of T3 and clarity is what we need daily Star listeners, may remember your front page Felicity with a cut-out mask of Dominic Cummings which viral and then some early this year had the headline cops that I'm not going to do the the daily some people like me to do don't drive if you're blind shop.

Can you advice for Britons ruling elite that I hear that your editor has said that you need to be more fun than the sun.

Play nasty with you.

It's a lovely task is a bit more fun.

I think really it's just that the reader is that heart of everything that we do and it's a really lovely and making everything relatable to them accessible, so it's sort of putting a star spin on everything be that politics and you used to labs business.

Just trying it echobelly point really here and EMI colleagues downstairs in the newsletter.

Look forward to your fan page everyday Simon ask you that stuff those amazing front pages shortly good to have you with us as well, but let's start with the announcement from the government last week this week that the there's a new regulator for the Tech companies.

It's called the digital markets unit it's part of the competition and markets authority of CMA that this program about regulating Silicon Valley companies in the UK and it looks like I've been reporting on this for years.

It looks like it might finally be happening in part at least Philip Marsden is an expert on all of this is a professor of law.

And is a member of the government panel that actually proposed the idea Philip thank you so much for for during.

It's on the media show could you could you explain the vegetable terms for the lady who don't follow regular tech companies on a daily basis? What is the digital markets unit going to do the plan for it is to ensure that we restore balance in these online Mark but we seeing these markets is whether the companies are doing anything wrong or not.

There's actually a structural issue with the markets themselves are prone to tipping two ways of a winner takes all so the situation and increase anyone noticing and their competition markets authority market study in this area confirmed that that means that those firms can tell other businesses uses or small companies you can take it or leave it at our offer or not answer the digital markets units job.

There is to restore that balance to provide a position.

Where small businesses and consumers get a fair deal.

The best products when rather than just a platform that happens to be offering a product that's about the relative size of products in businesses, and I call it regulator is the market digimarket unit planning to regulate any actual content so things like hate speech.

Maybe I know this information about Vaccines or is it as a body just going to miss you think about the Financial side things like the way these companies sell ads or publishing use the specific heat of the DM you won't be with respect to that kind of content however be working very closely with off common the department for culture media and sport and the information commissioner's office to get those kinds of issues and to help identify.

I hope at least the best way to regulate for those issues wilbar, preserving innovation incentives evidence-based body will be making sure that any of regulation doesn't chill genuine innovation course operating operating many many different areas of Media let's look at one particular bit which is the news business.

What have you can cluded?

In this field looking at competition.

What have you concluded about their role in the UK news business in a democracy will arrange of diversity of voice and yet when you when you combine that with the Tech giants and the way that the market tends to tip towards one platform and consumers Natalie might say I just want to be on one black get everything there, but then you noticed that when that platform is driven by obviously a profit maximisation only talk about this platform search company.

It's not a social media company that advertises that's how that's how we define them in terms of Market terms and so that means that they will naturally have some sort of incentives to prioritise things that meant increase engagement increase your ears out of the interest level United and I won't say anything about catchy headlines.

We talked about them already.

That's all good, but we do see the damage that could squeeze out because the screen is Ronnie Biggs after all squeeze out other voices and

Companies that that we know we want to hear from you with these companies regularly.

You know what they say and I'll show you spoke to them.

They said the same thing to you.

No one's for us to use Noah's Force use Google and not only that not only that but that is a competitor.

I've noticed Chinese competitor can come along tomorrow offer a better service and people switch their live in constant fear of other people waiting to be better then.

Why would you want to punish them and reduce them in size when they're good at doing what they do and every well.

There's no punishment involved with respect to just their size.

I'm absolutely it's more to do with the fact that if that was true that competition was a click away and you could go anywhere you like and somebody could just enter willy-nilly in provide a better product than they would probably be no need for but it's not true no data isn't sunshine we live in a world of walls Gardens paywalls and the screen is only so big etc.

As I say and therefore there is a strong case for interoperability.

Opening up some of these walls Gardens and also insuring that there was very estranged Alexa do exist it is actually quite difficult to get into these markets and and and and that data barrier that he's big.

He's actually isn't that easy to tip them out of the position and so the ideas for digital marketing it hard to build a help provide those sort of pathways to this new companies with best burger ideas can get into that market and and be seen by consumers and it's very technical listen to work in the news industry.

Can you just give us an example of how the distance of the digital markets unit might actually changed the way the likes of Google and Facebook distributes news, but I can give you a range of examples around from Australia to France to even announcement this week in the UK about news paying some of the media companies that is only happening because of regulation and the spread of regulation where the companies will come up with that by themselves that you know it's give away some of our money.

We doing that and that's because there seem to be really quite big target right now and Frankie the evidence is overwhelming that this kind of in a winner takes all situation is happening and therefore all the more make sure that would that great power comes great responsibility and since the company's wrong by themselves and we don't want them to self-regulate think that we can't trust them to do that is a range of areas where there are we falling short on that regard.

Need to have a strong regulator like the diesel market unit and thrilled it's placed in the CMA because that's already an independent ministerial ministerial department which means it won't be subject to politics the competition and markets authority you mention that the other big big big and it is a big deal for the media big story this week is a Facebook is launching this kind of news tab Facebook news is a separate thing to the news feed that most of the time and it means of the first time Facebook he's going to start paying big-name groups like The Guardian independent magazine publisher hers and that does crossword kind of commercial you because it's something as recently as 2018.

Burke said he was not going to do let me bring it on that point Laura Collins the editor of The Yorkshire Evening Post part of jpi Media which is signed up to this new service Facebook news.

What's your reaction to this step floor and that relationship with publishers and a different platforms really really important and I think journalism placed key role in facilitating and moderating interaction and you look at how the social fluid news has changed you know as journalists and through the use of these platforms.

We have more access to more people and even more information thus been circulated produced and consumed than ever before and what was seen his engagement with audiences helps to increase that trust in journalism at a time like we are living in at the moment with the pandemic.

That's crucial and I think you know before the

I'm platforms the ways in which local journalism in particular with engages and looking at those Town Hall debates, where is now I guess it's opened up a whole new playing field.

How do you get compromise that difficult relationship between the publishers the audience is the platforms I guess that imbalance at power more than anything because publisher light on social media to distributes for very little financial Kane in the programme attic revenues and we are effectively at the mercy of the algorithms that can be changed without any relationship.

If you just do that for a second and there's a pun intended onto next 124.

They didn't get it.

Isn't it? Kind of bonkers.

Is it a mad state of whether the good people of Ilkley or Pontefract or Harrogate Road Bradford way just because they get their local paper sort of depends a little bit on the womb of a Californian data company none of his workers.

Bradford how we got to let mad and I think the Challenge for US is how do we look at getting that ferritin for our efforts from the big companies as well? Yeah, the new unit is due to launch next April the UK is a course about to embark on a set of major trade negotiations with the US do you think this unit has been something on the table which the UK is potentially willing to concede in the trade talks that absolutely must not happen.

This is something that's really important for the growth and diversity of the British online environment the governor as well behind that have range of revenues to come from the sector and also we all seem in Colwyn how dependent we are on the sector is absolutely must not be allowed her, but forgive you say you say it must have a question for you.

Do you think it's been introduced the timing of it now ahead of those you with quote use a short space of time between the introduction of digital markets unit and those trading associations.

Do you think it's been ages now, so that it can.

On the table and potentially conceded unlocking digital competition.

It was about helping the UK market and then of course and I'm amazed there to the government able to move this quickly within a year of our and a half of our publishing with brexit on the plate as well for them to actually be able to say no you know what we really think this is the right thing to do and it's not just about Facebook and Google is any company was strategic market status will have to be subject to a code of conduct cynicism about scientific and medical journalism today been the end of lockdown for millions of crossing the big news as I mentioned that Pfizer vaccine let's get to the basics of the British Medical Journal how often for those who subscribe how often is the BMJ publishing?

Ok well, we're online all the time so it's a constant application that but we have a Weekly magazine that goes out 220000 doctors in the UK will members of the British Medical Association the most of our readers are outside the UK online and readership has grown enormously in this extraordinary year that we've had so where as we would have said I would have said to you.

You know about unit use of the month about double that so it is been an extraordinary year has it changed the finances of the BMJ as well? You are more sustainable commercial fitting extending a lot of ions income from advertising but the bulk of it comes from subscription, so that's pretty stable and then we have we have an open Access Research that all of our researchers publish open access we get published and unpublished by the BMA British Medical Association which is a trade union for doctors.

Are you at campaigning publication We Have Become

The years of campaigning publication historic Lee there was campaign in right back in the Victorian age and we have found that that we do feel there are many things and health and medicine and Medical Science that needs addressed lots of issues.

We want to change the colour on we want to improve quality of research and clinical practice.

There's a bath number of issues on which we want campaign and although published by the British Medical Association we are independent of them literally.

I think they recognise so that's very best for them best for us.

They they reckon next national Medical Journal the reputation depends on pulling scandal at the top of the beer made report and Without Fear or favour.


They were there have been some difficulties at the BMA and yes, we did report on those issues yourself and Chris Whitty Dr Anthony falchi of causing the US did the fact that the British Medical Journal

National journal mean that they opened up to you in a way that they wouldn't perhaps with the mainstream press there you know no need to speak to you babe.

We need to talk about a language and specificity of about the issues that the brothers well.

I think it may have gone into greater depth and some of them and I think Anthony that she's done a lot of interviews, so I think he was opened to interview Chris Whitty has been cautious about interviews and I was very grateful if you would was willing to do an interview with us with a view of speaking directly to clinicians and academics that he made felt before you publish 90 with papers, but I read that you've got an extraordinary high rejection rate.

You only about 4% for percent of the research pitch To You makes it into the journal.

I wish I could say no to 96% the stuff pitchcombe experience.

What are you looking for? Isn't is news impact Factor well impact in the sense of wanting to do impact on clinical.

Patient care patient outcomes public health policy and also things that might change the research agenda, so we have a very with a selective journal.

We were lucky and having a lot of submissions about 24000 submissions of year this year is going to be about 6000 by the end of year with kovid and our aim is to publish stuff that will influence clinical practice policy or to gender and it's a huge amount of work to come up with this 200 articles the year we sit within a much broader publishing house with 70 other specialty journals and we cascade our research through to other channels as well.

We have a major general BMJ open which is a mega journal which publishes the vast amount of open Access Research so it sits within a wider family of journals if you're being honest.

I wish you would you say would you Grant frankly that some of the regular non science journalist that have been reporting on this pandemic map slack the side.

To do it Justice I think the pandemic has been such an extraordinary time.

We're suddenly this issue is everyone's business and so yes the health journals.

We got some extremely good health journalist in the UK and unhealthy and this nonsense channels.

Will they struggled a bit it another time asking you had this is an emerging story and you've Ackbar it's a new disease sorts of stuff emerging about it.

There's a lot of of heated debate the Divide there's Force balance being encouraged.

You know where as well would like to see discussion of these things.

X it make me make a better story if you have people on to the extreme side of the debates such as the debate about lockdown of population immunity that herd immunity which has been raging and and and it would have been nice to see more shadow Maplin's the drama of it and then there's a problem about lack of access to information which everyone in medicine struggles with a lot of the the new developments have been announced by press release.

Very limited data interim results of trials even for The Vaccines which of the huge important issue for all of us, but also for drug treatments that have been been pulled out increasing.

We've got a real problem of lack of proper data and there's an old skill set which is how to analyse those daydreaming if they are available at health journalist struggle with that if it's a very big problem for non health journalist very diplomatic in terms of any individuals which is admirable of you Felicity crossword empty news of the Daily Star Sunday I think it's fair to say that you don't set out to be at the forefront of medical research, but obviously you can you read the front page of the Daily Star started with a bad standverse about it with Skylanders we used to call it called you must be yucky.

Tell us why that sorry I mean.

Literacy to cut every dreams of medical advice and you know page Leeds on everything what they want is kind of the news in and a sound Bites accessible ways, obviously, it's unusual for us too kind of step into the arena of having an opinion, but what came apparent is the our readers that can Frontline of pandemic.

You know that they making sure your boiler still working it.

Just became obvious that we we have to sort of become champion to them and the way that you do that, so Mum she's shielded since March Thunderball and she's quite scared to read the news so we're aware that some of our readers are probably going to be the same so we holding the government to account through so you know editing in chief John Clark says that it's very hard to come back from a figure of fun and that's what we doing turn myself into it now.

I can post myself.

Could you just explained?

Sorry for the few people that on Twitter I don't know about the the roundabout scotch eggs.

Sorry just explain that everything's come down to Scotch eggs.

I love it say the Guardians is obviously around the dinner.

That's required for the sustainable meal and substantial meal sorry for Tier 2 drinkers, so the environment said she came out on Monday and said the scotch egg cancel substantial and then Michael Gove on telly he said oh, no, it's not substantial and then an hour later.

Oh, yes, please substantial, so we have relied on pantomime restaurant for that so literally.

Oh, no, it doesn't yes it does exactly and you must be joking.

Do you worry it was it an issue having scientific expertise and your Newsroom is that a problem not really need help me with funds many day I mean what I think is there for a laugh a friendly face.

They need the news but they need it in the way that they relate to it, so we always include the medical advice a free sample today.

We have advising children around passing Christmas cards and school always included but we kind of feel that we doing it the way that they like to listen to it follower Collins ent24 the Yorkshire Evening Post your coverage of accent they include secure and explain why these Vaccines been approved quickly and stressing that this doesn't mean it's unsafe.

Would you guys run a vaccine campaign in your paper sink campaign in really is at the heart of the local press and you know that is part of the Fabric of our community is I think when it comes to any campaign.

It's really about listening to what our readers are telling us an acting on that information.

I think what's really interesting about this debate is just how divided regions have actually been on this in particular.

What we've seen is almost one extreme to the other certainly on our social media channels, so it's almost how do you find that balance between that and how do you pick your way through that is the I think the biggest I think the most important thing for us as the regional processes making sure that we get that tone and balance right that is absolutely crucial.

What's the if you know what you got to say about my question to you.

What is the question of balance? They know Vaccines Fiona correct me if I'm wrong with it.

It's scientific inventions very strong that they're pretty effective and are pretty save.

Why would you try to strike a vaccine or something that could you send me your reason? Why wouldn't you? Just say you know what we're going to campaign for people to take it.

Well, it is on our front page for tomorrow.

So when launching a mental health campaign tomorrow which is all about reminding people that it's ok to not feel ok and as part of that mental health in what were building is actually it does feel like they might finally be a sort of ray of light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine on the horizon.

Would you think impartiality are too kind of ideas that hold up to be sort of sacrosanct a relevant when it comes to reporting on vaccines and then the scientific consensus is pretty clear as with climate change right one of the things.

We see them all as one big thing.

Where is there dachshund and Vaccines on each one needs to prove its place in in the contact that being being implemented and I guess the song to dismiss people's backs inheritance if I think we can't just say get over it.

I've got to address it and provide with really good clear information has got to be leadership, but would be good public health systems one of the things is in a knot.

But the local public health people speaking out.

I mean it it really requires a whole gamut of different things and with the social media onslaught of anti-vax an anti-vaxxer concerns you got to reply to that with very very good clear transparent and I'm rather information of the owners of the BMJ seem to get lots of access including to the chief medical officer Chris Whitty for you.

It is really significant powerful local publication of government that it's been able to be part of the Prestbury things that the government upheld and I think what is been really important for us and I think what is really mattered, so I was having that local because I do feel like there is a sense of distrust almost between leaders and politicians.

So I think what has been really important for us.


Use those local voices sound like the local public director at health to actually be that I guess that neutral voice within Max tier to explain really succinctly about what happened to the element of trust as men I trust you but I guess you to be funny rather than tell them where they not to take a backseat.

I don't know what proportion Felicia the Daily Star Star Sundays at readers.

Do you think I think coronavirus is a hoax what proportion? Would you get actually question what profession? Would you say support the anti-vax campaigners say there is spirited bullocks.

We hear a lot from them.

Text text Paige and text maniacs and they all have an opinion as heated debate.

I think the one thing that there are United on is that they want this this finished and that they want the end of this.

They want to get back to life a lot of their jobs.

Rely on them being safe at work so I I

On the whole, that's one thing that are United on how would you encourage them? Would you campaign if you could save their lives you can pay for them to take the vaccine you think does you know is to remain in the middle.

I think in the same way.

We just kind of present the information and it's up to them to decide the last question.

I'm just on on morale.

How do you balance being critical of the government whilst trying to keep morale up for your readers is that it's a very good when we will the government in the day.

I'm this government would like to have been more construction about because they're in a national emergency declared an emergency, but it's been very difficult to find things to be constructive about and I do recognise that with a huge numbers of extremely hard-working good people do my very best the front line and we want support them.

We've done campaigns on PPE and trying to make sure they're safe and well being looked after but intern.

we feel that the level of incompetence has been really quite breathtaking at times and they haven't listened listening for the wrong people tendency to centralising to go for commercial options when there's local and public health and it should have taken advantage of so I mean we just feel that there's too much to criticize here and we have to do that, but thank you so much for all of our guests Fiona godlee, Laura Collins solicitor cross and Philip Marsden

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