In my previous post I directed readers to the BBC Complaints page where one may lodge a complaint about the saturation coverage of the royal birth and its accompanying royalist propaganda.
Included in that post was the complaint I myself had lodged.
I received the (somewhat generic) reply to my complaint today – it follows below. [Readers may also be interested in my piece for a local Bermudian news site.]
At this moment in time I will just say that I think it somewhat misses the point. Popular and sensationalist should not trump the values of impartiality and balanced reporting.
While I don’t deny the BBC did report other issues, my point was more about the extent of royal coverage versus more legitimate news stories (the ongoing tragedy in Syria, the continued repercussions of the Egyptian coup, the deadly earthquake in China, all stories which were covered, but only barely).
Here is the BBC’s response:
Dear Citizen Starling
Thank you for contacting BBC News.
We have received a wide range of feedback about our coverage of the royal baby story. Bearing in mind the pressure on resources, the response below strives to address the majority of concerns raised. We apologise in advance if not all of the specific points you have mentioned have been answered in the manner you prefer. Please be assured we have raised your concerns with the relevant editorial staff and have done our best to issue a substantive response.
Over the past few days the birth of the royal baby has been a lead story for BBC News, but our editors have taken care that other stories have been covered too. There have been some key moments – the announcement of the birth and the appearance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the new prince – where we have offered rolling coverage, particularly on the BBC News Channel, which is a service which focuses on big events and occasions, and new viewers join all the time. But the News Channel also ran a range of other news and most of its scheduled sport bulletins. There have been a wide range of stories across the rest of our output too. We reported on the Prime Minister’s announcement on internet restrictions on pornography, the “help to buy” mortgage scheme, the Pope’s visit to Brazil, Chris Froome’s win in the Tour de France, and the charging of a man for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock, which led the Radio 4 ‘Six O’Clock News’ on Tuesday evening. BBC One viewers were offered full ‘BBC News at Six’ and ‘BBC News at Ten’ bulletins on Monday and Tuesday with a wide range of stories.
We know from our audience figures that our coverage of the royal baby has been extremely popular – Monday was the biggest global day and second biggest UK day ever for BBC News online with 19.4m unique browsers globally and 10.8m from the UK. We are satisfied that our audiences had both the best coverage of a major historical event – the birth of a new heir to the throne – as well as options to view other news across BBC output as a whole.
We have also been careful to feature a range of contributors and opinions across our coverage, including those who do not support the monarchy or the attention this event has received. This included featuring the opinions of Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and a number of other voices.
Thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch.