December 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s December newsletter with an update on our work and relevant news from the media industry. (Print this Newsletter)
Training session on Instagram and Snapchat
Our next training event takes place next week. We still have a couple of places left so let me know if you’d like to attend. It will cover the use of images in social media, particularly Instagram and Snapchat. The session is introductory – and aimed at users who are familiar with social media but have limited experience of these two platforms. It will take place from 9.30-12.30 on Thursday December 10th at the IBT offices in Southwark. This is a free event – if you are receiving this newsletter, you are eligible to attend.
Briefing with Tulip Mazumdar
Our last briefing was with Tulip Mazumdar, the BBC’s global health correspondent. She explained how the BBC’s health unit works and gave a number of suggestions for the best way to pitch to the unit. Tulip has a wide brief and is keen to report on health issues that don’t normally make the news – such as neglected tropical diseases. She encouraged everyone present to send her ideas for future news reports. A detailed note on what Tulip said is on the members’ page of the IBT website.
IBT expresses concern about the future of Channel 4
We have written to a number of newspapers to express concern about the future of Channel 4. The Government has confirmed that it is considering privatization. Our understanding is that this is being driven by DCMS, not the Treasury, and the motivation is ideological rather than to raise revenue. A decision will be announced early next year. If the Government does go ahead, it will need to introduce primary legislation and the proposal is likely to be scrutinized by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. We are opposed to the privatization of Channel 4 because we believe it will mean that certain programmes will suffer as money is diverted from the programme budget to shareholders. Lord Burns, the Channel 4 Chair and former Treasury mandarin, confirmed this week that if privatisation goes ahead, Channel 4 News is unlikely to survive in its present form. Political opposition is growing, so please mention the issue in any conversations you have with parliamentarians. If you would like a full briefing on the threat to Channel 4, contact Sophie Chalk, our head of advocacy, who is leading on this for IBT.
Channel 4’s weekly current affairs strand, Unreported World, is back on the air next spring and the production team are keen to receive programme ideas for stories that could be filmed in January and February. They have a particular interest in the Middle East. The last series was one of the best to date and included films from Cambodia, Cameroon, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, South Africa and Sicily. If you have a story idea, do get in touch with Monica Garnsey, the series producer, and mention IBT in your email.
New money for the World Service
As part of the recent Defence Review, the Government announced a big increase in funding for the World Service. It will receive an extra £85m a year from 2017-20. In effect, this means that the present budget for the World Service will be ring fenced and will not be cut disproportionately when the new licence fee comes in. The extra money will be spent across the board – with enhanced TV services for Africa, new radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea, additional language services for Nigeria and India, new radio services for North Korea and enhanced digital and TV services in Russian. This expansion will help the World Service move towards its goal of reaching an audience of 500 million people weekly by 2022. It will also help the BBC to respond to the challenge posed by growing investment in other global news services such as CCTV and RT.
European Social Documentary
The deadline for applications for next year’s ESoDoc training is January 29th. This is an innovative training scheme that brings together documentary filmmakers, graphic designers, programmers, game developers, journalists and those working in NGO communications. The aim of the training is to help the participants develop crossmedia projects related to social, political or human rights issues.
New book on international NGOs
Last month saw the publication of International NGO Engagement, Advocacy, Activism. The author, Professor Helen Yanacopulos of The Open University, interviewed a number of IBT members when she was researching the book. Its aim is to investigate the role of INGOs in the UK and abroad, to interrogate what they are seeking to achieve and the methods that they use, particularly communications. The book argues that NGOs need to utilize political values and political spaces more strategically if they are to be better agents of change. If you’d like to buy a copy, a 30% discount is available for IBT members (use the discount code PM15THIRTY).