and business news. some viewers have been detecting an effect on the output over recent months. with hannah fearn tweeting... well, let's talk to fran unsworth who first joined the bbc in 1980, starting in local radio, but who rose to become its director of news and current affairs and she retires next week. thank you, fran for coming on newswatch. it's a pleasure. would you say you're leaving bbc news in a better place than it was when you first started working here? well, it's a very different place then when i first started working here because of course we do so much more output. so, when ijoined bbc news it was just radio and television. and now there is the website, there's social, the app,
there is continuous news tv, radio continuous news, so there's a lot more of it. is that better or worse? it's better in that i think we are responding to what people want and how they live their lives and how they don't want to just kind of make an appointment to see news or to listen to news, they need it there, instantly so it's better in that respect. is the quality of what we do worse or better? i think the quality of what we do is actually incredibly good. you mentioned quality, but as you've heard, some people think there has been a loss of quality because of the cuts that you've had to make of the past few years. recently the bbc admitted it had been a mistake to interview the lawyer alan dershowitz after ghislaine maxwell's conviction. do you accept that with fewer experienced journalists in the newsroom, mistakes like that are going to happen more? well, mistakes do happen. i'm not going to deny that. but i think in that particular case, it was less to do with cuts, to be honest,
and more to do with covid. it was also 28 december, it was night, i think the teams are actually quite thinned out, no doubt about it, but that's not because of cuts so much as where we are between christmas and new year. really? people thought you should have just googled alan dershowitz, you'd have known you should be putting them on the air in that context. well, possibly — actually, i think the teams now know that they actually they could have avoided it by doing some kind of more considered handovers to each other on it. and we admitted it was a mistake and dealt with it. mistakes happen, they do. but i don't necessarily think there are any more of them now than when ijoined the bbc nearly a0 years ago — or if there are, it's probably a factor of having so much more output. after this week's announcement on the licence fee, bbc news is going to have to make more cuts, it's a tough time. is it time to just cut a whole
programme or a service like say, newsnight? well, it might be something we would want to look at. but obviously we are in the early stages of what this licence fee settlement means. we have planned quite carefully over the past few years. as you've alluded, in news, part of our modernising news plan, wasn'tjust about taking money out, it was in order to us to shape news for the future so that we could have more impact with what we were doing across a greater number of platforms and also put digital at the heart of our commissioning process. now, it's not for me to second—guess my successor�*s views about if there are any further cuts expected of the news division, where those might be. i'm sure that she will come in and have a look around and think about it. but where we start from is, what are the audiences that we need to serve, and how do we need to serve them? let's pause there for a moment,
fran, because since you've been in post you faced a busier news agenda than mostjournalists can remember, and this week was no exception with the temperature at westminster raised to fever pitch. tonight at ten, we are live in downing street after a day in which borisjohnson faced a wave of calls for his resignation. is it all over prime minister? we mentioned on last week's programme complaints that the bbc coverage of those downing street parties has been excessive and biased against the prime minister. and those continued this week, for instance with this phone call. woman: i'm ringing to complain about the amount of news on borisjohnson. it's about time you stopped being judge, jury and executioner. i think as for the bbc being impartial, i most certainly don't think you are. as ever, though, another side to the story, and philip pooley agreed that...
you have been in news for a very long time so complaints like that you know, one side and then the other side, won't come as a surprise. does it feel to you like the polarisation of political views has become kind of nastier? um...|t�*s a really interesting question, whether it's become nastier. it certainly feels more polarised, yes. and it certainly feels as though people kind of want to default a bit to their own echo chambers sometimes. and if they don't see the views that they agree with reflected then i do think they perceive us as being biased. but you know, ourjob is to hold a national conversation. ourjob is to show people that there is a whole range of views on every subject. i don't subscribe to the view
thatjust because we are getting hammered by both sides, one set of the audience sees us as biased and the other from another political perspectives sees us biased too, we must be getting it right. i don't buy into that idea. but i do think that the whole nature of discourse has been quite impacted by social media, for instance. it's become pretty robust, it's become quite difficult, well, very difficult for some of ourjournalists in fact, who are repeatedly subjected to online abuse of the most horrible, vicious nature, quite often. misogynistic — laura kuenssberg, mariana spring, and i think that's what i have seen change over the course of my career. it's interesting you say that because we do get complaints from viewers that they feel bbc politicaljournalists are often
putting a personal spin on stories. and i wonder if that compromises the bbc�*s commitment to impartiality. yes, it would do, and that's why we brought out social media guidelines, to remind our staff that we need to be cautious in the social media space about your insertion of your own political views and political opinions. because if we are not impartial there is no point to us. we can't charge a licence fee off everybody in the uk if we are not impartial. it's beholden on all of our staff to remember that and to act accordingly in that way. stay with us again, fran. we want to talk about another of the principles behind bbc news which is accountability. we want to talk in fact a little bit about newswatch itself, this programme started in 2004 after the hutton inquiry which strongly criticised the bbc over
its coverage of the lead up to the iraq war and the death of the government scientist david kelly. in response newswatch was established as part of an initiative to make bbc news more accountable. but viewers regularly question whether it is truly fulfilling that role. here's howard price. how would you answer that? well, we obviously don't take the view that 99% of the time were always right. and i will admit we don't always get everything right. we actually, i think, executives from news do appear on newswatch quite frequently.
not a great hit rate, i would say. we checked, the big stories you're not coming on. we normally would give a statement if an existing —— executive isn't available. i would also say is not the bit of accountability that the bbc has in place, of course. we have feedback on radio. and we have the most robust complaints process as well. which means that anybody can write in a complaint and get an answer to it. under your tenure there's been a number of controversy on bbc management such as, at the revelations about martin bashir and the row over naga munchetty�*s comments on breakfast about donald trump. what's your biggest regret? 0h...laughs. i've got quite a few, to be honest. hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it? you look back and you say oh, if only i'd taken a slightly different decision there.
i'm not going to go into them here, but believe me there are some things i wish i had done differently over the course of my career. it would be arrogant and blind of me not to recognise that. fran unsworth, thank you for coming on newswatch. thank you very much. and thank you for all your comments this week. if you want to share your opinions about what you see, hear or read on bbc news on tv, radio, online and social media, email newswatch: or you can find us on twitter: you can call us: and do have a look at our website for previous interviews. that's all from us. will be back to hear you thoughts about bbc news coverage again next week. bye— bye. hello. it looks like the weather is taking part in dryjanuary — no significant rain on the way this weekend, nor indeed
until at least the start of next week. there isn't going to be a huge amount of this either — blue sky and sunshine this weekend. cloud increased in the west on friday, looks like it is cloud that is going to win out across most places as the weekend goes on. temperatures edge a little bit higher. you'll notice that most in northern ireland and scotland, especially in northern scotland. so what's going on? high pressure close by, that is why we are having a lot of dry weather. around it, bringing in a lot of cloud from the atlantic. it does limit the extent and severity of frost as saturday starts. a touch of it in north—east scotland, patchy in wales and england, where we had any clear spells overnight. and a chance for some early mist and fog patches. you can see the extent of the cloud across the uk for saturday. just a few brighter breaks here and there. they are most likely across eastern parts of scotland and england, whereas towards north—west scotland, we are going to see some outbreaks of rain. and it is breezier here, compared with elsewhere, but it is also milder —
11 degrees in stornoway, 10 in belfast and glasgow. temperatures elsewhere a little higher than they were on friday. 0vernight and into sunday, quite a bit of cloud around, a few breaks in that cloud here and there, where they occur, the chance of seeing a touch of frost. parts of wales and england in particular. there will be some mist and fog patches developing towards southern areas, where the winds are light, and they could well be slow to clear in a few spots as sunday begins. the high very much here on sunday. there is a weather front edging closer towards north—west scotland as the day goes on. it doesn't look as if we will see much in the way of rain until sunday night. ahead of it, still some patchy rain in north—west scotland. the winds going to pick up here. gales developing in the western isles. a breezier day in northern ireland. light winds elsewhere. again, a lot of cloud around, just a few sunny spells. if anything on sunday, temperatures just come down a little bit. the high pressure still with us into the start of next week. by mid week, we are going to see a developing weather system heading our way. here it is, and mainly through wednesday night, we will see an area of rain moving its way southwards, weakening as it does so.
this is bbc news. i'm nuala mcgovern with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the first shipment of newly approved us military aid arrives in kyiv following "frank" talks over russia's troop build—up on the ukraine border. the un condemns a saudi—led coalition air strike in yemen, killing dozens. the us calls for a de—escalation of the conflict. rio's colourful carnival parade is pushed back from february to april amid a coronavirus surge in brazilfuelled by the 0micron variant. anti—abortion activists gather in washington for the annual march for life. their hopes are now pinned on the supreme court. # like a bat out of hell # i'll be gone when