Research issues facing producers of factual programming
By William Sargent
Web definitions: ‘The quality or state of being correct or precise.’
To keep the argument/documentary even and fair on both sides.
Lack of comparison, correspondence, or suitableness; incongruity.
Indivisibility into equal parts; oddness.
Inequality; disparity; disproportion; difference of degree, rank, excellence, number, etc.
Web definitions: ‘judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices.’
Web definitions: ‘Judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts.’
Web definitions: ‘A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.’
Web definitions: ‘Show prejudice for or against (someone or something) unfairly: "the tests were biased against women"; "a biased view of the
The action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented.
The description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature.
Web definitions: Obtain, examine, or retrieve (data or a file).
Web definitions: The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.
The state of being free from public attention.
Difficulty Getting Interviews
• People we film may be nervous or shy in front of the camera they may also
feel nervous about what they have to discuss.
• We could possibly resolve this by offering to pixelate their face if they do
not want to be recognised by people who view the footage later on.
• The public may avoid us if we try to ask them for an interview because
they may find us intimidating.
• Dress up in casual clothes, so we don’t look intimidating and ask the
person politely and maturely so as not to intimidate them.
• There are some great examples in the documentary called “Aileen, life and
death of a serial killer” by Nick Broomfield. Nick has to be very polite,
mature and careful when interviewing Aileen because she is a crazy mass
murderer and although she is reasonably calm throughout her interviews
she loses her temper big time in the last interview before she is about to
be executed because Nick asked her the wrong question.
Biased Opinion On Subject Matter
• Our difficulty with this matter is that our topic is about World War
1. Since we are English this will make the documentary very hard
because we will be slightly biased towards our side of the
• We can sort this issue out by not including our own opinions on the
documentary unless we have to, that way no one can accuse us of
• A good example is “ supersize me” where the man who is narrating
and doing the 30 day trial of eating only fast food is biased, he only
mentions about fast food and their companies but doesn’t mention
anything good that these companies have done.
Ofcom Rules And Regulations
• Our topic is about how the weapons in world war 1 work.
So we have to be careful when doing our interviews about
what we say and who we say it too.
• Some content of what we discuss may not be suitable for
different types of people we interview.
• For example in the documentary “Aileen, life and death of a
serial killer” by Nick Broomfield Nick would not be aloud to
interview a 9 year old kid about what they think about
Aileen brutally killing men.
• We can overcome this by organising our interview in
advance and getting permission and explaining to the
public what we will be discussing before we
• Channel 4 and Five take the issue of viewer trust very seriously.
Viewers are entitled to expect that programmes are accurate and
true and the audience must not be misled. This obligation applies to
all types of programming, including entertainment programmes
with factual elements. Portraying real events, whether in
documentary, features, factual entertainment, drama or any other
programme, which the viewer is entitled to take at face value, must
respect truth and accuracy. Programmes must be honest, fair and
accurate and must not mislead viewers.
• For example in “supersize me” the presenter does not tell the truth
as it really is and he all so over exaggerates some of the topics he
was discussing which makes him in-accurate.
• We will keep the documentary balanced by telling the truth about
everything we say that way there will be no chance of our
documentary becoming un-balanced.
• Balance is where we must keep our documentary
balanced on both sides of the argument so as not to
seem biased that ay we will not upset anyone who is
supporting one of the sides of documentary.
• A great example is the documentary called “supersize
me” because all the presenter talks about is the bad
effects of eating fast food making it very unbalanced.
• The simple way of keeping our documentary balanced
will be too make sure both sides of our argument are
• Linking back to slide 6 ‘Balance’ we will need
to show both sides of the story and both
views equally and not our personal opinion.
• A great example for this is the same as slide 6
which is the documentary called “supersize
• We will equally argue and explain both sides
so as not to seem biased for a certain side of
• Web definitions: ‘Judgment based on individual
personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather
than external facts.’
• Our interviews will show different judgments,
impressions, feelings and options and we’ll make sure
we have an equal amount of contrasting interviews to
keep the audience entertained.
• A brilliant example for this is “Aileen life and death of a
serial killer” because of the way presenter bonds with
Aileen and asks here the question , and how she feels
and what her opinions were.
• Opinions are what we feel think/ feel about
the argument in our documentary.
• A good example for this is “Aileen, life and
death of a serial killer
• For our documentary we will make sure that
we include our opinions but in a non biased
way. We will also include opinions from
different ages of people when we are doing
our public interviews.
• We have to be very careful while filming as what we
say may be seen as bias as we’re English, But then
again we may have a different angle to many past
documentaries as we are young people and therefore
have not been badly effected by the first world war or
ignore what the media say to a certain extent.
• This relates to a lot of the examples for the previous
slides which is “supersize me” where the presenter
only talks about the negatives of fast-food
and not the positives making it very biased.
• Web definitions:
– The action of speaking or acting on behalf of
someone or the state of being so represented.
– The description or portrayal of someone or
something in a particular way or as being of a
• The best example of this is “Aileen, life and death
of a serial killer” because the interviewer is
representing Aileen and what she stands for .
• We must avoid the unfair treatment of individuals or organisations
in programmes. If the programme you are making involves
criticising or making any damaging allegation about any living
individual or organisation, seek advice from your programme
lawyer. Any significant infringement of privacy of an individual or
organisation, in the making or broadcast of a programme, must be
warranted by the public interest. – Independent Producer handbook
• We have to understand the interviewee’s privacy so if they don’t
want to be on camera we can’t force them and we need to make
sure none of our questions are intruding there privacy and asking
nothing we wouldn’t want on camera.
• The best example of this would be “Aileen, life and death of a serial
killer” because the interviewer is very careful when to talking to
Aileen when talking to her about her private life.