Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Friday, January 15, 2010

The BBC explain their non-coverage of women's rugby

Remember back last year when England beat New Zealand... and the BBC completely ignored the result? Well, I complained and - after bouncing back to them their various "standard" replies - I've finally got a proper response. And quite a detailed one too (see below)

Does this mean that the BBC will change their attitude? Possibly not - but undoubtedly the fact that someone has had to go to the trouble to write a letter of this length will have had some effect and its a fair bet that if their news or sports department had to write 20-30 letter like this every time they ignored a similar women's rugby story they soon would change their minds.

I cannot say that I am entirely happy with the result (the BBC don't discriminate against women's sport? Clearly this was not written by someone with any knowledge of the BBC Sports Personality Team award last year!) but at least a few cages have been rattled. Let's see if they get it right next time.

Anyway - the reply...

Dear Mr Birch

Thanks for your further e-mail regarding the BBC News.

Firstly, I should apologise for the delay in getting back to you. We realise that our correspondents appreciate a quick response and I'm therefore sorry that you've had to wait on this occasion.

I understand that you weren't happy with the first response to your complaint.

The Sport News production team have seen your complaint and will take your concerns on board.

To address these concerns, there was no deliberate attempt to overlook the women's rugby team win. It was an exceptionally busy day of sport and in the network bulletins we only have a strictly limited amount of time devoted to both match reports and results.

Each story is judged on it's merits. The women's result in terms of audience interest simply wasn't of greater significance than the sports featured in our summary. Had we had more time allocated to the sports desk it may have been possible but it would not have replaced any of the existing stories/results.

Incidentally the female producer of that sports desk is a huge fan of women's sport and would never underplay or undervalue significant achievement. As for the wider suggestion that we underplay women's sporting achievements in network news bulletins, nothing could be further from the
truth. The achievements of both the women's football and cricket teams have been featured on numerous occasions and sports women as diverse as Rebecca Addlington, Christine Ohorugu, Victoria Pendleton, Beth Tweddle, Laura Robson and Jessica Ennis have all featured on news bulletins over the past year or so.

I can assure you that we have nothing against women's sport and are always keen to celebrate achievement - but news judgement is a subjective business and it's not always possible to include as much as we'd like, given the time constraints.

I hope this satisfactorily answers your questions and I can assure you that your complaint has been registered on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your feedback.


Sarah Wilson
BBC Complaints

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