Sunday, March 30, 2008

Media Coverage of the Biggin Hill Air Crash

Just a word of congratulations to Sky News for their coverage of the air crash near Biggin Hill this afternoon. As usual in these circumstances they have abandoned coverage of all other news, but they have had a string of eyewitnesses who have all been coherent and have had something to say. Within minutes of the crash happening viewers were emailing Sky with pictures and then videos of the scene. The two presenters, Andrew Wilson and Samantha Simmonds maintained an air of calmness and asked good, non repetitive questions of the eyewitnesses. Often in these circumstances there's a lot of flannelling and time-filling. that didn't happen here.

It seems that the occupants of the two houses which were hit by the plane were thankfully on holiday, but it is a real tragedy for the families of the five people on board the Cessna plane, who lost their lives this afternoon.

20 comments:

JakeW said...

over at the TV Tax funded BBC news - which has its army of national, regional and local radio staff to call on was running a pre-recorded show from BBC World and then ran with still pictures emailed from viewers.

While Sky News is great, it should be remembered that Sky corporate mangers want to pull it from freeview (as they have cable) leaving us with just the BBC as a mass market news source - if ofcom let them.

Anonymous said...

Echo your thoughts re Sky News - excellent coverage. The BBC was struggling to cover the event and whilst Sky was covering it as breaking news BBC News 24 continued with their pre-recorded "Click" programme.

Whilst we don't know the details of the cause of the disaster or details of the Cessna passengers I offer their loved ones my sincere condolences

The pilot(whoever he/she was) should come in for special admiration and praise - to keep your plane in the air with engine problems ; miss a residential housing estate apart from the last house(which thankfully was unoccupied) together with a playing field and park full of children together with a nearby hospital takes some feat of flying and even if you realise that the odds are slim that you will get down safely you "bank away" from that open space towards woods takes some courage.

Anonymous said...

Tory applauds production from savoury section of media SHOCKKAA!

Benny Austwick said...

The BBC guy seemed to be obsessed with if the eyewitnesses could see smoke.

Joel said...

I'm sorry Iain, but you can't have been paying attention to Sky News. It's coverage of the crash has been dreadful.

They may have got there first but as ever they start reporting on a subject before they have the slightest idea of what is going on.

The presenters continually asked inane questions, desperately trying to find someone who had any insight.

They kept asking neighbours to identify the owners of the house hit, having no respect for privacy or indeed the possibility of identity theft.

They kept interviewing experts who repeatedly said it was too early to say why the plane had come down and it would be wrong to speculate, and Sky News just continues to banally speculate, desperate to hang on to its ever diminishing viewers.

As one commentator said on a pilots forum, Sky News is the News of the World of television news.

I can only but agree.

Cath said...

You're right that the coverage was good; I'm a bit of cynic and think that Sky News sees that type of Middle-England estate as more home territory. I sometimes get the impression with the Beeb that you have to live in a fashionable bit of Zone 1 OR some hell-hole estate in the rest of the country to matter. I thought the Sky coverage of the Buncefield explosion in Hemel was similarly more effective than the BBC's.

Anonymous said...

as usual sky made BBC look like country bumpkins. For any live breaking news Sky make BBC look like amateurs every time. Pretty poor considering the amount of tax payers money they have, maybe a bit less on the likes of J Ross etc would help.

mark thompson, bbc dg said...

Congratulations Joel on dissing Sky News - your employee loyalty to the BBC is much appreciated. Have another lump of tellytaxpayer cash.

Joel: "As one commentator said on a pilots forum, Sky News is the News of the World of television news"

Like it, though I suppose the enemies of the People's BBC might by contrast refer to BBC News as the Pravda of television news. A bit near the knuckle that, so keep it under your hat.

Yours,

Mark Thompson, BBC DG.

Anonymous said...

"The pilot(whoever he/she was) should come in for special admiration and praise - to keep your plane in the air with engine problems ; miss a residential housing estate apart from the last house....takes some courage."

Not really courageous. They were just trying to find somewhere safe to land. They were obviously aware that a housing estate is not the best place for a landing.

Richard Dale said...

Considering the usual standards with these things, I think that the Sky coverage was fairly good.

They had one witness, obviously local the usual dreadful Kent/Essex accent, who was very articulate and considered in what he said, which was relevant and intelligent. They asked him to stay on the line, while they took another brief report and a further witness (a woman with a much nicer accent, but much less articulate and coherent, nothing interesting to say). They gave up on her and went back to the more interesting man, and asked him sensible questions.

Only low point was an interview with a dubious "Air Traffic Controller" referred to as "James". Exactly the sort of thing the controllers I know would refuse to have anything to do with. Might have been a friend of a Sky staff member, or a fake.

I am a professional pilot, and usually despair of the quality of reporting regarding anything to do with aviation. Sky did well overall. I turned over because I thought there was nothing else likely to come out soon, not out of despair at the quality as I usually would!

Joel

I take it you are talking about PPRuNe. You'll get any opinion you care to pick from their, often from pilots but also from wannabes, fakes and people unconnected with aviation. I did use the site a lot, but gave up due to a left-wing coup in the moderation, with friends of mine were sidelined as moderators (leading to sanctions against several people for posting moderate right-wing views), including suppression of criticism of the BBC, and encouragement of condemnation of Fox/Sky.

Richard Dale said...

Anon 22:32

From the sound of it the pilot brought the aircraft almost to the stall to avoid the houses. That effectively guaranteed a serious crash. When I instructed on smaller aircraft the advice I gave was to keep the aircraft flying whatever. Better to land in a confined space than to stall. They were more likely to survive if he'd put it down between houses, but also very likely to kill other people who did not have the protection of being strapped into a strong metal fuselage.

The crew did try to land safely, but also to restrict the risk to those on board.

Thoughts are with the families.

EnglishTillIDie said...

Lets look at the facts. the BBC get a one off payment per year which is a fraction of what sky gets from its subscribers. with this money SKY funds one national news channel and many repeated channels filled mostly with american programmes and over hyped sport for which it charges you again for latest films or pay per view sporting events. It also has help from fox with all news coverage.

The BBC on the other hand has to fulfill a national network of radio and tv regional channels most of which would have been shut down as we have found with the ITV because they are not profitable. all of which comes from a annual fee less than half of a basic SKY package.

Now you can attack the politics of the BBC but for the money they get and the job they do with it is not bad considering. yes it could be improved but so could many things.

May I suggest that Iain is praising SKY due to them giving him more slots maybe or a potential for some exposure where as the BBC may have cut his appearances,

Iain Dale said...

Englistillidie, a pathetic smear. I didn't even mention BBC coverage because I didn't see it. In the past I have criticised Sky coverage of these events as a cursory blog searxh will tell you. If you really think I only praise Sky when they invite me to appear then I wonder why you waste your time reading this blog. By the way, see you on news 24 this saturday for the paper review.

JuliaM said...

"They may have got there first but as ever they start reporting on a subject before they have the slightest idea of what is going on."

Well, yes. So much better if they'd waited until this morning to report it, when they'd have the names, etc. Not sure what you'd call such a programme though. Don't think 'News' would be appropriate...

"They kept asking neighbours to identify the owners of the house hit, having no respect for privacy or indeed the possibility of identity theft."

Meh. When a small jet lands on your house, I think the minute possibility of identity theft is the least of your worries...

Anonymous said...

Not difficult for Sky, or any of the others, to outclass the crap Al-beeb. But, one small plane crashed into one unoccupied house and Sky cancelled all other news???

Anonymous said...

I think that plane or helicopter crashes always get extra coverage for the simple fact that they are rather spectacular events, tinged with horror and glamour in equal measure.

People who use private jets and helicopters usually tend to be affluent / famous (or both.) The identities are rarely confirmed until some time after the crash, so news channels need to give the incident plenty of coverage, for fear of missing an even bigger story, should a "celeb" have been on board.

By contrast - in an average day in the UK, 9 people will die in Road Traffic Accidents, most reports of which don't make it beyond the local papers.

The only time these RTAs are reported nationally or on the television are when they involve famous people or when there has been a major accident resulting in the loss of several lives at once.

machiavelli said...

Wonderful edge of sarcasm to your post, Iain!
Terrible coverage... really over the top.
I do feel for the poor beggars returning from holiday last night though, putting their key in the front door only to find that the house behind no longer exists...

Anonymous said...

"But, one small plane crashed into one unoccupied house and Sky cancelled all other news???"

+1

This is my main problem with Sky, one event, insignificant to all but those intimately involved trumps all else. Flashing red banners declare BREAKING NEWS for several hours straight. Later this afternoon we'll have fancy 3d computer whizzery to show us what a Cessna ploughing into a home might look like.

Everyone should give Al-Jazeera a shot if only for their news bulletins.

EnglishTillIDie said...

A smear you say but you avoided what I said about how the BBC have to wholesale support a regional network which would cripple any other organisation.

And then you bemoan the BBC and then appear on it. as well as two chins you have two faces.

Iain Dale said...

EnglishTillI Die. You really are a prize prat, aren't you? Nowhere in this post have I bemoaned the BBC or its regional coverage. In fact, I don't ever remember criticising the BBC's regional coverage. So don't put words into my mouth and keep your personal insults to yourself.