BBC stories: hot (Doha) and cold (Antarctica)


A couple of my stories went out on the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent programme this summer.

First – a hot place. My story from Doha looked at how sudden extreme wealth hasn’t necessarily been a wholly positive experience for Qatar and Qataris. Radio 4 audio here starts 17’27” (a slightly edited version went out on World Service here). The transcript, which ran on the BBC News site as this feature article, went – kind of – viral, with apparently 1.2 million page-views in the first 24hrs after publication. It was also picked up by local independent media site Doha News here, sparking much comment.

Then – a cold place. After my trip to Antarctica last December, I wrote a piece looking at the intricacies of Antarctic politics: Radio 4 audio here starts 8’38” (a slightly edited version went out on World Service here). The transcript, which again ran as this feature article, also drew attention. It was picked up on Beacon here, and later I was contacted by a couple of Antarctic scientists, one from the UK, another from New Zealand, to point out that my wording could be misleading – the situation regarding the Antarctic Treaty will change in 2048, but nothing is ‘up for renewal’. The date marks an administrative shift from consensus decision-making to majority decision-making. At that point the ban on mineral mining can be overturned, but only if a binding legal regime is put in place to regulate it. It’s all a bit complicated, but the effect is that it appears I may have overstated the threat 2048 poses. More analysis required…