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Read this: Reporting the war on coronavirus

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Reporting the war on coronavirus…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 hello if we at war with coronavirus is there a Frontline and should join this try to get to it this week the BBC has been showing a series of news reports from inside a hospital for James to get access to a covid-19 For Reasons will get onto but can you adequately cover coronavirus without going it to be seen more reports from the front line.

We would in any other war of course.

I know the ethical issues arising from it.

I've got Laura Donnelly the health editor The Telegraph Sarah boseley the health editor at the Guardian and the BBC Clive Murray thank you very much indeed for your time and special powers recovering health as you guys do cereal or is it a pandemic come along with you? All this week? You've been showing this footage of you.

Inside the Royal London Hospital for the BBC Evening News programmes are filmed with a producer samples and a camera man at David mcilveen in case they see it to hear a clip from Monday nights report emergency department consultant Nick bunker is up to his neck problems.

So he's got he's got covered and he's had a stroke patient has been admitted for every hour.

He's been on shift by 3 am 82 run into a problem because we haven't got any beds.

Will it remember watching I'm certainly not the first to say that's a lot of talk about this on social media.

How did you Clive as you go about getting all your team go about getting access the Royal London Hospital by the way happy working with the Royal London about 3 years.

I did a series with Sam and David on knife on knife crime.

When the panic came along we said to the folks at the hospital look we need to get into an ICU we need to show what's going on one of the trauma surgeon so we went with on the nicest renew a guy in the ICU and they said yeah come on in but it took a lot of persuading of public Health England eventually we got there say so and NHS England and we went in there some films and we will want to come back in a year's time when I was happening with the pandemic.

Just to see how you guys are doing on the Frontline it just so happens that that visit has coincided with the second wave.

That's how we got it it wasn't because the second was there right or right when you send Clive now it just happens if you have any ongoing conversation and so that was a coincidence in this particular case yes in fact we were convinced that perhaps the plug might be pulled on are filming schedule because of the second wave and because what that might reveal about her the NHS is coping and so on and so forth but to the credit of public Health England under the credit.

Royal London Hospital they said no, please, please ciceley the time when you need to come in logistics 4 we did on a couple of occasions.

We covered my shift when we were there which was last Monday I think it was before we did the night shift are the guys David and Sam they were filled in for a couple of days late into the evening before I arrived on the scene right, so what's the time namak when you're there and your film is one person in charge as it's the producer in charge of a Schedule comply comply with regulations and there must be an awful.

Lot does the producer say in advance.

This is what we want to get has it worked in terms of the newsgathering.

How do you approach depends on individual teams but having worked with Sam and day with on a number of projects were in the States covering the US election in the summer and previously at the Royal London

The system, but it's very collaborative and it may be that I've got an idea of the other job for a bit awesome.

Got a great idea and you know the other two haven't thought of it all David as well.

You know it's very co-operative and I think that's that's helped ask get more rounded stories in the sense that I don't remember seeing anything.

We've got two pairs of eyes looking all over the 60 degrees and I think that's been good.

I just said you go in there with a clear idea.

We want we got a commission here.

We want to do 5 pieces as you can tell can't use that 6 minutes.

Would you go in there? So let's watch it and watch it watch it gather hours tense of ours doesn't about and then see what we want to do after it has decision-making work.

It's unlikely that you're going to get out of even 10 days which is might as well be 10 years can somebody that other journalists have got going to get more than three very good 7-minute pieces out of those possibly if you're lucky for which is what we actually got the last time we were there.

During the first wave but this time.

We thought you know what they're so many shots of the insides of ICU what do you say that's different.

How do you say the in a different way? Are you do something a repeat are the people have done brilliantly and we felt that we had a particularly wants to go in on the ground.

You wanted to talk to cleaners gravediggers.

You know the people in the mortuary department not just that it's at the top.

That was very important for us lots of ethical and editorial questions and answers to push you on.

Just wondering just before I bring Laura Donnelly in there on.

How do you get consent from heavily sedated patients their families the hospital first of all you don't talk to the families what you do.

Not want to do is show heavily sedated patients.

We never do that what you show me people's Arms you seem fully.

I don't know bloodlines going into vein tubes tubes people.

The machines we never shown the face as far as I can recall of someone and I see you but if you're filming in any hospital environment you need to get as many permissions of the pram was as possible and you film the face and not usually just not feeling the face sometimes you cut it might be that you know when arm is up and you end up filming as well as the arm the face and what you get the face, but we never put it on it and some of the patients that you're going to film we'll very sadly not survived you won't know that when you start filming.

How did that affect what food did you choose to use and what you doing after you basically make calls to 3 minutes before the police goes on it.

If someone is in a critical condition and could possibly die.

You're making phone calls at the very last minute and who has asked that you will pull royal in nine times out of ten.

I will have the last call on the package will decide whether or not the package runs.

There's one section report which I found very very difficult to watch other people did vibrator for what she speak to a man whose wife died.

Just minutes just minutes before your microphone in front of him.

Did you have any qualms about filming in there? And then if I may say in the editor packaging as I'm a background context we gonna come on to anyone today in the package Some Might Say you almost bouncing on a guy's wife and I wonder if you'd be honest enough to say that there is a conflict between what you might call human and journalistic Instincts you know if you're in your in Bolton where you can put a day off in half an hour ago.

You said something in their face and say talk to me about it.


Yeah, you're human Instinct a offer condolence give her a bit of space and also in the editing package.

You didn't I'm sure you must have done yet expensive absolutely do you feel confident in what are Michael human and journalistic in Instincts there? No not at all.

It was the most natural thing.

And it was the most natural thing in the world because I think there is a distinction between emotion for the sake of it and humanity the humanity of a of a story and drawing that out of an individual the fact of the matter is Martin came out of the ward.

We didn't know who it was he was in civilian clothes as he didn't he wasn't in there in Scrubs or a doctors uniform or anything.

We thought well, who's this is just wondering out anyway.

He looked over we were in Scrubs because we've been feeling down in the emergency department said hello and then walked on his way.

He then came back because he's got lost he couldn't find his way out and he said to Sam who was nearest to the door.

Could you show me the way out because we were all in scraps so Sam being a nice guy and it because he knows hospital really well, because we've done so much running their heat, and it was down the corridor that they established what was going on with each other so you know what you doing and Sam told him and that was it and so he came.

Andy said I want to talk to you guys so qualms.

Not a bit of it only do you ever send Genesis hospital to different reports like this? Have you done that the Daily Telegraph do that with probably Focus more on the sort of policies outside and some of the decisions behind this.

I mean you know yes, we have reports from from from doctors from patients and sofas and I think a lot of the last night.

It's incredibly I think in terms of my role, and this is you know this pandemic.

It's all started as a health story and obviously it's become it quickly you know when far beyond that I suppose I think on a day-to-day basis a lot of my role a lot of the papers role has been holding the government to account the authorities to account and looking at those.

Visions being made on a daily and hourly basis a lot of which turn out to be fundamentally flawed and and I think that's where a lot of the focus has been to the situation wearing now wasn't inevitable and I think a lot of our Focus has been on looking and looking you know picking up the whole looking for the for the lessons and also trying to communicate an offer to the public about about the you know the last year.

We've been medical Story there's a human.

I know that you a story at Sarah boseley helpful to the Guardian what do you make of these ask you the same question do you ever send your licence entitle to do front line reporting like this? What was interesting actually is that I've been involved in pandemics and princess.

I went out on the situations.

You would go out to find the people who suffer.

You would speak to their families oven translate that into UK context.

Yes, we we do and we should be doing the same thing I think but you have to be enormously careful in how you do it a colleague of mine in the North Helen page to the wonderful piece actually in a hospital fairly recently.

I'd love to do that.

I have actually been ended up doing far more of the the Polish and the the the research and scientific bit in The Vaccines and so on so I'm rather anchored.

I'm afraid to my desk but I would love to be out there because I think that's what we're about.

What did you make clives report and particularly those of the trailer fuel between emotion and the duty to inform the audience well, you can see milk.

You know you can actually stand there and wait for someone to cry and they will because there any situations extreme stress and that makes extraordinary television.

Add a communication with the audience of anarchist with the reader that is important.

Of course it is but you shouldn't obviously do that for the sake of it is the case using that sort of reaction that interaction to make of appoint an important point listening to this program right now Clive wood.

So you know what your indulging a trend in Yiewsley very dangerous which is that you'd rather heartstrings.

You'd rather pluck heartstring.

Sorry that's what's going on that you over emotional eyes things and then actually see someone crying with someone grieving is a victory where news should is Thomas gradgrind wanted in in hard times.

You should be about it.

It's a it's a fine line to walk and did you go too much to make good TV and not enough facts to make good news again.

It's not about emotions back humanity and the facts are.

Where is well? I'll just read you a Tweet from a cardiologist and matava Banerjee put this on Twitter to positive observations from phone heart failure clinic this morning one most of had their first vaccine dose to most had watched Clive Myers report this week and said they were taking covid-19 even more seriously I re-apply to him and said are you serious and he came back and he said yes, that's what his heart patients are telling him.

I would argue that there has been yes news audiences are up partly because lockdown play some people are not drinking or whatever to the washing to watch in the 10:00 news, but a lot of people tuned out and I would I would wager that they have turned out because frankly too much of the coverage has involved pee standing in front of balls into charts.

There has not been in of humanity in this there has not been enough discussion of the fact that 80000 + people a dead I know there is

Particular Sensibility under part of the British when it comes to talking about the dead people but when it comes to the humanity that Hannah showed in weeping in the middle of that Mog it was because no one at no one about dealing with this your reported you certainly a corrective to that they still talk to me other elements of this pandemic and how the Telegraph is covered it Laura on 5th October you from page exclusive for the Telegraph Wheeling that more than 15000 positive Covey cases have been lost in the test and Trace scheme tremendous group came to have that story Siri for me.

So it says most about his how how speedily things develop and how many things are going on at once I remember that one quite busy.

I've been very interested in texting one of the first or last year last February was about the fact that the government was going to abandon routine testing for.

People with cold symptoms and instead people would be just told to stay home for 2 for 2 weeks and that was a month before the policy was actually announcer and it seemed quite shocking to me.

We are close to it, because the abandonment of routine testing did you know turn out to be a fundamental disaster and something that I think that for years to come so that won the front page story I'd file the Splash actually was investigation.

I've been working on for ages and sat down on the sofa open my phone for a Tweet from a data analyst and doesn't look right and is very hectic because that was 9:00 at night and I think we we you know we swap 45 and yeah, it was a bit but it was really important because I'm positive cases had a nice to have a splash within the past week the pressure washer ordered the Telegraph to publish correction to what they say was and I quote a significantly misleading article by Toby young.

Are you certainly don't?

Toby young that appeared last July and it claimed among other things that the common cold could provide natural immunity to coronavirus is there a tension in all these babes? I say is having worked at 1 for a very long time between news journal trying to do and what the commentators are trying to do and what did you make that piece running in the opinion section of your newspaper any paper many different views none of them.

You know agree with each other.

I think the pandemic is you know it is the biggest subject out there and everybody has a view on it, but you know from my point of view news news something different absolutely exclusive saying that Dominic Cummings and Chris Whitty the chief medical officer for a Cordova reducing the length of the self isolation period

Well in fact there's another name on that story with mine and and the the other person was the one who actually got the if it's just remember.

I think that came Bristol sources.

Yes, but it wasn't me so as a health and science during this my input is from the area is very much.

He is not but you no going back to what commentators right as well.

I feel quite strongly actually that we have to to fight our corner on this and in the garden.

I will say I don't think we should run that because I don't think it scientifically valid yesterday, so if you have certain common pieces that have been hi boss in the garden because the headed said that's responsible does know that something something insensitive.

They will approach me and you know it is nice and they will say what do you think of this? I get leader writers coming to me I get lots of people from within the organisation saying.

Do you think of this and I'll take on board what I would I say it doesn't mean to say that you'll stop the peace but you tried to make sure that it's not factually inaccurate and heard you so how do you find a balance you've been on a long time and experience their reporters in the game? How do you find a balance between good news stories such as a successful vaccine trial and bad news stories like worrying new variants.

Do you find the bad news is what it is and no it isn't a simple and I'm sure of exactly the same thing that uses news.

She said just now you know somebody said that you know what's my public and there is that element to it.

I'm trying to ring uncover something reveal something but actually to have positive stories and the day that the vaccine the first vaccine results came out which were the Pfizer resultsize advantech.

I wasn't around in my time because such a fantastic.

Was the story and the hit rate 95%

She was far better than expected.

So of course that's front page.

Everybody would do the same thing it's tremendous story and celery and Clive thank you very much dude.

I'm going to move on because amazingly on the line from distant part of the world.

We've managed to get the Wi-Fi and the zoom working to speak to Glenn Greenwald Glen thank you very much into keeper make you a time.

I'm sorry this technical challenge is inauguration day, then.

I needed reminding there is some huge ethical questions at present by then.

We'll have to answer around the Tech companies the power they wielded in the last fortnight.

Have you jealous anywhere in the world is more time about writing about this issue.

Thank Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer winner at fridge work with Edward Snowden he was co-founded the internet and is now flying solo with the zone at substack newsletter.


We were talking an executive from parlour the free speech at that was basically knocked offline by the actions of a few big place in Silicon Valley last week when we hope to speak to you at the line wasn't working then.

It is now let me ask you about that.

By the likes of Twitter Facebook and Amazon 2D platform Donald Trump is not completely reasonable that private companies would want to stop a president putting out inflammatory comments.

No, I think it's completely unreasonable especially since the have to ask yourself what kind of private companies these are if you have a small business on a corner and you certainly have the right to say there certain kinds of people we don't want in a restaurant and people that we do that actually has been alright.

That has been contested by the last the idea that property owners' the right did you ever know what the property has long been a libertarian a right-wing view that I'm now hearing a lot of friends, but so be it.

Let's say that that's a consensus that we have the problem with companies like Facebook Twitter and Google and apple on Amazon is either not just like any other companies.

These are monopolies saying that regulators have been saying that for years.

The Democratic house Committee on the anti-trust United States just for months ago.

I should have 450kg report describing the Monopoly powers in the anti-trust X apple Google Amazon in Facebook to the point where these companies and other ways of becoming more powerful then nation-states and so the question is in in any individual case Alex Jones on my lineup for Donald Trump get a continue to have the Twitter account question is who is it who should be wielding power one for me and democratic Society and that power resides and how much it is in her hands of a small number of an account.

That's the question absolutely these questions.

We sent it's my reporting store in the last 4 years but I would put you that there's a cancellation there between two separate issues the issues little bit antitrust and Monopoly is an economic issue, which EU regulators British regulators American federal regulators are looking.

Which is the concentration of economic power is a second and separate philosophical issue which is at some point you say to people you cannot have this free.

Speak to you if you want to my power even if it makes you can't have this free speech if there is certain social harms that resulting from it and the argument.

I'm not putting this is my own view but the idea that people would say about President Trump is there real life felt seen in that insurrection on the capitol building which followed from his having a platform when they were real felt harms that crosses the philosophical tripwire if you like the John Stuart Mill gave us and said that your call catch on that you should die platform the guy deprive another voice.

Yeah, I mean I said you things about that.

I would say one is all free speech has the potential for harm if I sit here on your show idea just on a Virgin plane carry on carry on you are free speech has dangerous right if I said here night talk about the dangers of big tech companies like Facebook Amazon Google one of your listeners might be rolled up and up with the decide you know what they're such threats to democracy.

I think I should go firebomb a Facebook on Amazon headquarters.

Don't do that if you in response to me talk about what a great dane.

You're done trumpet.

Someone might say well.

I better go try and kill that person he's agreed brass all speech has the potential and always has to produce danger the question.

We had an app asks you? What are the

Front the Solutions were proposing to this dangerous.

Yeah that there was a real threat of Islamic radicalism after MMI but by exaggerating if I over reacting to it the sun lucian's William proposed charter Chambers evading rock kidnapping people of the street and Parnell ended up in much more dangerous, and I think that's off and keys here then the album is who decides what speed is dangerous 3 years ago about how every time the government of Israel report a Palestinian journalist or activist to Facebook climbing that I being too riled up about their opposition to Israel and Israeli occupation your current quote inciting violence against Israeli troops Facebook intervenes and bands the pages of Alexa

I think maybe the Palestinians Cross the Line into something too dangerous and therefore we need to silence and I think that's always the danger of putting this power into the hands that game so what then so we have you got 99% left.

Thank you, then.

What should we doing about? This is one of the issues that we're finding in the EU and in Britain is that technology is slow.

It's consensual.

It's difficult it's complex whereas technology innovation is fast and very well funded briefly.

What should Joe Biden be doing immediately to create a healthy environment for news media in America what I think one of the things we have to do is ask.

Why is it the people have turned out and tuned out mainstream news institutions that used to be the principal sources of authority and trustworthiness for where people get their information in I think we as a profession are very good and blaming other people.

Criticising as well very good complaining about the dangers of alternatives were not very good about asking.

What is it that we've done our cells that dust lose the trust the public that they believe that when we say something.

It's true and that's causing them to go seek out somewhere and Facebook page that they believe in just as much if not more than established Media institution so I think Jewsons in the West have asked.

What is it that we've done over the past two decades that have caused this coming of confidence in the things or killing people such that they're sitting out alternative information that isn't reliable how is that we can rebuild that trust that's exactly what to do.

Thank you very much for your time.

I realise you've a technological Changes but we appreciate it.

Just to say we thought you know talk privately owned public a lot about rebuilding go along with that analysis from Glen that basically it's up for Johnson cells to stop blaming other people stop their technology and look at close to home.

So what's gone wrong? Yeah, I mean I think I agree with it broadly.

Remember 2020 years ago there were fewer TV channels.

You didn't have the internet.

You didn't have a plethora of other means of getting information the fact is people do have that now that doesn't necessarily mean that the year for the last 70 years have been messing it up exactly exactly exactly Clive well.

What is the reason thank you very much indeed code much appreciated.

Thank you so much for all my dear.

Sorry there about the statue dodgy Wi-Fi from a distance the globe and technology is wonderful isn't it? But sometimes they reliable thank you to Glenn Greenwald thank you very much indeed to Laura Donnelly the health editor The Telegraph to Sarah boseley health editor The Guardian de Clive myrie, BBC presenter indeed indeed 2fo.

Today's heroic studio engineer at the same time next week.


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