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27 April, 2015

BBC replaces profane-laden audio track of breaking news footage from Nepal earthquake with "Gothic Storm" music

The BBC posted this video story card featuring dramatic first-person footage from a German climber (Jost Kobusch) who filmed the avalanche striking the Everest Base Camp. Yes, the climber survived.

Did you notice anything odd about the video?


Play it again with your eyes closed.

Yep. The audio track has been altered. It has music and sound effects that were not part of the breaking news scene.

According to Shazam, the sounds you are hearing presented with this breaking news clip is actually music from a music soundtrack called "Antipathy" which is a music library published by Gothic Storm Music.

Click hear to hear a sample on Amazon.

The BBC posts video story cards on Instagram to reach millennials who may not normally get their breaking news reports.

I show these kind of story card reports in my workshops as examples of how visual story cards can reach audiences who spend most of their time with their mobile phone. They often work great in a streaming news environment.

At what point do you decide to alter the audio track of raw footage provided by an eyewitness/victim at a breaking news scene?

Dan Graham, the CEO of Gothic Storm Music says:
As library music, the BBC is free to use it as they see fit as part of their blanket license deal with MCPS but I have to admit, it seems like a pretty bad decision to me - it's designed for movie trailers not real tragedies."
Cameron Robertson, a freelance video journalist with top credentials writes:

Bleeping out the curse words is what CNN chose to do with their on-air presentation of this footage. Their package also provided context in the form of 3-D map that showed where the events took place.

Avalanche engulfing Everest base camp caught on video

What is really interesting is that the original, unaltered footage by Jost Kobusch has been viewed more than 5.6 million times on YouTube.


Hit by avalanche in Everest Basecamp.

Please share your reactions in comments.

If you work BBC social news, please do contact me with comment. I would love to include your views about the decision and approach taken for the Instagram edit.


The Guardian published Jost's video without editing the audio track.

I did note they put their "g" logo watermark on the video and only credit the source (Jost Kobusch) with a brief lower-thirds overlay mention and not in the article text itself. They do not link to, mention or embed the original YouTube video.