August 2017 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 1st August 2017



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


Next month’s briefing with Vice News
Next month, in our first briefing of the Autumn, we will be hearing from Neil Breakwell, London Bureau Chief of Vice News. Vice News has established a well deserved reputation for reinventing foreign news reporting, with a strong focus on the Middle East and on reaching younger audiences. Neil will talk us through the recent changes at Vice and the best way to pitch stories to him and his colleagues. The briefing takes place at 10am on Wednesday September 27th at the IBT offices in Southwark. If you’d like to attend, please register via the IBT website.


Last month we held our AGM. This is a formal occasion during which we report back to our members on our activities over the past year and plans for the future.  Our Trustees concluded that it had been a good year for IBT with our three main strands of activity – lobbying, research and briefings – working well together. They were particularly pleased that several CEOs from our member organisations had written in support of our call for the BBC Charter to be amended to include a stronger commitment to international factual programming. This lobbying campaign was successful and the Charter was amended accordingly.


BBC call to action
Many thanks to all who responded to our recent call to action and wrote to Ofcom to support our demand that international factual content on the BBC should be tagged. Ofcom received letters from eight CEOs from IBT member organisations. This is a fantastic response and adds considerable weight to our call. We will be meeting Ofcom shortly to pursue this further. Our own submission to Ofcom can be found here:


Channel 4’s regional impact
Last month we also made a submission to DCMS which was consulting on plans to move Channel 4 out of London. We have reservations about the move as we feel it will be extremely costly and disruptive and will not necessarily achieve the desired result of increasing regional production. We are also concerned that the Government’s focus on regional production and a wider range of UK voices will detract from Channel 4’s statutory requirement to promote voices from around the world. You can read our submission here:


The BBC World Service
Details have been announced by the BBC of the World Service’s expansion and delivery of 12 new language services, mostly in Africa. This is the largest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s and will be funded by the Foreign Office. This means that in future the World Service will be funded jointly by the licence fee and by an FCO grant. The governance implications of this are not yet clear. As part of its new vision, the World Service’s Director, Fran Unsworth, has spoken of its commitment to solutions-focused journalism – an attempt to move the BBC coverage of Africa in particular away from stories of disaster, conflict and famine. It will be interesting to see how this vision evolves. BBC Africa has announced that some of the extra funding will be used to set up a new investigations unit.


Video First – making an impact
As a follow up to our Video First report, Sophie Chalk has written a blog on the DevCommsLab website giving her top tips for how to achieve impact online:


Why video is the future of learning for charities
Martin Baker, Chief Executive of Clear Lessons Foundation, has written an interesting think piece for The Guardian, arguing that the voluntary sector needs to do more to harness the power of video for learning. He says that our brains absorb and process information 60,000 faster by video than text. Whether you accept this statistic or not, he makes a persuasive case:


The digital challenge for charities
Zoe Amar has written a thought-provoking article, also for The Guardian, where she examines the challenge of digital for the charity sector. She believes that the sector is responding too slowly to the need for change. Zoe argues that technology is not just about more digital tools and skills but it’s about a fundamental cultural change. She will be running a workshop for us later this year where she’ll be looking in more detail at how NGOs should go about achieving this cultural change. This workshop will be aimed at senior leaders from amongst our membership. If you’re interested in attending please let me know as we would welcome input into the planning the session. Zoe’s article can be found here:


Lessons for virtual reality filmmakers
If you’re involved in commissioning or producing a VR video then it’s worth taking a look at a new piece of research commissioned by the BBC. The research looks in detail at the audience response to VR and concludes that VR needs to take audiences on a journey. Experiences for the sake of experiences – without a clear narrative or goal – tend to fall flat with audiences, according to the report’s authors. You can read more in this blog by Tim Fiennes, a market analyst with BBC Audiences:


The Conservative case for aid
The right wing think tank Policy Exchange has published a new report, Global Britain, Global Challenges – how to make aid more effective. It argues in favour of aid and for the Government’s commitment to 0.7. However, it says that aid can and should be spent more effectively and that ‘the development community should embrace trade and capitalism as vital to reducing poverty and disease.’ In an introduction to the report, the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson writes that ‘there is a strong centre-right case for putting overseas aid at the centre of a Global Britain.’ You can read the full report here:


Best wishes



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