August 2013 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 1st August 2013


Welcome to IBT’s August newsletter with a brief update on our work and relevant news from the media industry.         (Print this Newsletter)

New IBT membership scheme

The IBT Trustees have approved a new membership scheme which will be introduced from January 1 2014. Membership fees for organisations will now be linked to UK income and there will also be individual membership available for freelancers.  From this date the IBT newsletter will be for members only and all our briefings and training events will also become member-only events. The aim of these changes is to introduce a fairer and more transparent fee structure and to ensure that the membership fees give IBT an income which helps cover our core costs and ensures our sustainability in the long term. I’ll be writing to all our member organisations in the Autumn with details of the new fee structure. If you’d like to support IBT and our work, please encourage your organisation to retain its membership. More details on the new scheme can be found here .


Twitter training session

Last month we held our first training session on Twitter. Mary Mitchell, an experienced social media trainer, provided tips and suggestions on how to maximise the value of Twitter. The session, targeted at media officers who use Twitter but would like advice on how to use it more effectively, went well and feedback was positive. Following the workshop, Mary wrote a blog about apps like Storify that work well alongside Twitter.   See her blog here.


Sky News briefing 

A new date for the briefing with Tim Miller from Sky News has now been fixed. It will take place at 10am on Wednesday September 11th.  All those who booked places will automatically be allocated a place.


Changing tv viewing habits

Ofcom has published its annual communications market report which looks in detail at changing patterns of media consumption. It contains a wealth of interesting information: families are increasingly watching tv together in the living room; households now have fewer tv sets; growing numbers of viewers are on a second screen at the same time as watching tv; live tv still accounts for 90% of viewing; people in the UK are watching more tv than they used to; radio listening is holding up well.  Full report here .


Public understanding of climate change

The Select Committee on Science and Technology has been listening to evidence from broadcasters, as part of its inquiry into public understanding of climate change. David Jordan, the BBC’s Director of Editorial Policy, told MPs that the BBC had a duty to explain climate change to mainstream audiences and had moved on from ‘false balance’ equating the sceptical point of view with mainstream opinion. Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s Head of Factual, took a different view, arguing that Channel 4 would cover these issues when it could find an alternative point of view. Fiona Ball, Head of Environment at Sky, said that it was making a concerted effort to engage audiences with climate change and, unlike other broadcasters, its corporate and editorial policies were much more joined up.


Broadcast news in brief

–  The Government has finally agreed to legislate to end the iniquity that sees public service broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 4 pay to have their channels aired on Sky. Cable platforms like Virgin Media do not levy these charges. Sky has fought a long campaign to resist this change.

–  The licences for ITV and Channel 5 have been renewed by the Government for a 10 year period with a statutory obligation placed on them to broadcast national and international news and current affairs in peak time. However, some cuts to ITV’s regional output have been agreed.


–  A Sri Lankan diplomat has attacked Callum Macrae, the director of the Channel 4 investigation, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, and threatened to bar him from entering the country to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November.


–  As part of the BBC’s annual report, the BBC Trust has expressed concern about falling audiences for some current affairs programmes and has said that the current affairs genre needs to serve audiences better.


–  The BBC Trust has also published its latest impartiality review which states that the BBC needs to find more space for ‘contentious opinion.’  This may explain why a UKIP MEP was given a free run on Today to expand on his view that aid money to ‘bongo bongo land’ is largely spent on Ray bans and Ferraris.  The Trust has also recommended that the BBC broaden its diversity of voices beyond politicians.


Happy holidays




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