Problems with accuracy at the BBC

With controversy over the “shoddy journalism” at the BBC, we’d like to offer a note on Tomorrow’s basic story flow.

As well as having to check every aspect of a story initially, each report must be sub-edited twice and then re-read by the reporter before being published. This may not always catch every typo or mistake through phrasing, but we strive to ensure all information is accurate and backed by footnotes where necessary (to meet principle 2 – accuracy). In certain circumstances, we might include information which cannot be verified, but we would make it clear that it was not verified and explain why we were still including it.

The process in these early stages of Tomorrow’s development may be slower than most web-based news organisations, but it is necessary to meet the demands of our principles.

If you have questions about how we work, or a story you would like us to look into, please get in touch.

Parts of the BBC Newsnight report into allegations of abuse at a children’s home in Wales would not have met principles 2 (accuracy), 4 (professional conduct and service), 8 (be a safe harbour for the public and staff) and 11 (promote responsible debate and mediation). The subject matter overall, however, is justified by 5 (comfort the afflicted and afflict the complacent), 8 (this principle goes both for and against in some cases), 9 (observe and engage), 10 (educate and entertain) and 11.

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Comments Guidelines

We must tread a line between principles 1, 8 and 11 in particular when it comes to comments on our reporting. Everyone has a right to be heard, but we must protect some members of the public on occasion and promote RESPONSIBLE debate and mediation. That means some comments must be removed or edited.

For example, if a comment mentioned criminal allegations against an individual, this would be removed as it might identify innocent individuals or victims.

Harassment of fellow commentators will not be tolerated, nor will discriminatory or offensive language, particularly if made from behind false identities or anonymity.

Please apply this basic approach when considering a comment: would you make it to a parent or close friend? We encourage readers to discuss stories with friends, family or anyone and then return to make comments. Then you will be meeting principle 11 as well.

And remember, as a news editor once said, you only get five exclamation marks in life, so use them sparingly.