February 2014 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 8th February 2014

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

IBT annual report

Today (7th February 2014) we publish our annual report for 2013. This was one of our busiest and most productive years to date. We published two research reports, hosted a number of events including briefings and training sessions for our members, submitted evidence to inquiries by Ofcom, the BBC Trust, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the House of Lords Communications Committee. We expanded our membership and had regular meetings with media regulators, broadcasters and parliamentarians.

It’s particularly rewarding that our research continues to be widely praised and is of practical benefit to both media organisations and NGOs. We have now built up a substantial body of research, having published 15 reports since 2006. All of these are available to be downloaded from our site. You can read/download the Annual Report from our home page.


This World briefing

Last month, Sam Bagnall, the executive producer of This World, BBC2’s international current affairs strand, briefed IBT members. He spoke about his thinking behind recent commissions and how he had won a regular slot at 9pm on BBC2 by taking a sometimes left field    approach to the big global issues of the day. He showed clips from some of his output including Toughest Place to be a Fisherman and Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve,  using the clips to demonstrate how NGO stories could be framed to appeal to mainstream audiences. Notes from this briefing are available in the members’ area of the IBT site. 


Next briefing

Our next briefing will be with Andrew Roy who has taken over as BBC World editor from Jon Williams. It will take place at 10am on Wednesday March 5th at the IBT offices. This is a free event for IBT members but places need to be booked in advance. Andrew runs the foreign desk for BBC News so he has huge influence on which stories are covered. He’ll be giving details of key contacts at BBC News, and talking about how the foreign desk works after the merger between BBC News and the World Service, how to pitch stories to his team, what works and what doesn’t, and his experience of dealing with NGOs. Invitations to this event will be sent out next week. If you’d like to attend, you can book your place now via the members’ area of the IBT website, using your organisation’s user name and password. Any problems registering, let me know. This event is on a first come basis and demand is likely to be high.

Future briefings are planned with Michael Herrod, Head of Foreign News at ITV News and Natalie Fay, Executive Producer of the new ITV current affairs show, On Assignment, and also with Jon Zilkha, Head of the BBC Business Unit.


BBC television – strengths and weaknesses

IBT will be submitting evidence later this month to the BBC Trust review of television which covers BBC1, 2, 3 and 4. We’ll be praising the BBC for strengthening its international current affairs output on BBC2 and 3 but criticising it for abandoning international drama and for its lack of international factual output on BBC1. If you have specific views on this output and would like us to reflect them please contact Sophie Chalk, IBT’s head of campaigns, who is writing this submission sophie.chalk@btinternet.com


The death of radio – not yet

The latest audiences figures for radio show that it is more popular than ever. Radio 4 has achieved a record audience with the Today programme now attracting more than 7 million listeners each week. The Asian Network has seen a big increase in its audience. See the BBC’s Rajar ratings



ITV launches new current affairs show

ITV continues its move upmarket with the launch of a new monthly current affairs show to be fronted by Rageh Omaar. The 30 minute programme, to be called On Assignment, will consist of three reports providing insight into some of the biggest stories on the news agenda. The ITN produced show will specialise in foreign stories. The other presenters will be James Mates (Europe editor) and John Ray (Diplomatic correspondent). We’ll be hearing from the Executive Producer of On Assignment at an IBT briefing in April.


The changing face of global news

A recent BBC seminar looked at the changing face of global news and in particular the growing reach of the Chinese broadcaster, CCTV, and Russia’s RT (formerly known as Russia Today), both now broadcasting around the world in English. CCTV has 70 overseas bureaux and a reported annual budget of more than £4bn. For more on this seminar see the BBC’s Journalism Academy


Africa rising

AFFORD, the African diaspora organisation is hosting a one day conference looking at the media’s role in the continent’s renaissance. Delegates will gain a better understanding of the media’s role in explaining how Africa is changing; learn how Africans are using social media; hear about the impact of new media players such as TVC and CCTV; find out how NGOs and western media are responding to these changes. This is a free event and will take place in London at SOAS from 9am-5pm on Monday March 3rd.  Places need to be booked in advance by email to Afford


What’s been on tv recently

There has been a recent run of excellent tv programmes. On BBC2, The Tea Trail with Simon Reeve looked at the production of tea in Kenya and Uganda and exposed some worrying trends. On Channel 4, Dispatches – Hunted captured some extraordinary undercover footage of gangs in Russia pursuing and persecuting gays. On ITV, Exposure – Fashion Factories Undercover investigated the plight of workers in the clothing industry in Bangladesh and captured some truly shocking material. Some of these programmes generated a huge amount of comment on Twitter and it’s worth bearing in mind that broadcasters take this very seriously so if you watch something on tv and want to commend it please make a point of tweeting about it.


Transparency and accountability – Polis journalism conference 2014

Polis, the journalism think tank at the LSE, has announced that Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian, will give the keynote address at its annual journalism conference which takes place on Friday March 28th. As always, this promises to be a fascinating event. Tickets can be booked here free of charge


Best wishes



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