January 2014 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s January newsletter with a brief update on our work and relevant news from the media industry. (Print this Newsletter)
IBT membership scheme
Our new membership scheme came in at the beginning of January. This newsletter is now sent exclusively to IBT members and all our events, for the moment, will be for members only. We have also introduced a members’ area of the website where anyone wishing to attend an event needs to register in advance. If you have problems accessing the members’ area, let me know.
Next IBT briefing
Our next briefing will be with Sam Bagnall, the series producer of This World, BBC2’s international current affairs strand. The briefing will take place from 10-12 on Wednesday January 22nd at the IBT offices in Southwark. Under Sam’s editorship, This World has hit its stride with some notable films including Hans Rosling’s Don’t Panic – the Truth about Population. Sam is responsible for a large part of BBC2’s international output – and he will show clips from his award winning series Toughest Place to be… in which people from the UK take up jobs in other countries. This factual entertainment format enables UK audiences to experience what life is like for taxi drivers, firefighters, farmers and other workers in developing countries. This is a great opportunity to understand how formats like Toughest Place to be… are conceived and made. If you wish to attend, please register via the IBT website.
Channel 4 News briefing
Last month we held a briefing with Nevine Mabro, foreign editor of Channel 4 News, and her deputy Rob Hodge. It was refreshing to hear their positive attitude to working with NGOs. They explained the thinking behind the programme’s foreign coverage. They have a small team of foreign correspondents and only two overseas bureaux (Washington and Bangkok) so they are always looking to do things differently from other news organisations, to find their own angle and to cover unique stories, which are not being covered elsewhere. They are particularly keen to prioritise original journalism. They’re also keen to report more from South America and now have a regular reporter, Guillermo Galdos, who is based in Peru. More details on the content of this briefing can be found in the members’ area of the IBT website.
Making sense of the global economy
Last month we co-hosted a round table discussion at Channel 4 which looked at media coverage of global economics. It was useful to hear from a range of economic correspondents, including Paul Mason formerly of Newsnight, now at Channel 4 News; Ed Conway from Sky; and Jon Zilkha who runs the BBC’s business affairs unit. Jon will do a briefing for IBT members later this year. We have now published details of the discussion.
Channel 4’s international current affairs strand returns in the spring. The Unreported World team have now started filming for the next series but they still have some slots to fill. If you have any suggestions for stories they should cover please get in touch with the series producer Suzanne Lavery. If you’d like advice on which stories might appeal to them, drop me a line.
The future of BBC News
James Harding, the BBC’s new Director of News has been speaking about changes which he intends to implement. He wants to see more original journalism; an improvement in current affairs output; a broadening of the range of stories and voices; more variety between bulletins and programmes; more of the output from the global news division made available to UK audiences. He also said that he wanted to see special days and seasons dedicated to coverage of big global themes and unreported stories. We’ll be meeting BBC News executives to find out more about these planned seasons.
BBC Trust review of news and current affairs
We have now submitted evidence to the BBC Trust review of news and current affairs. In our submission, we made a number of points about the BBC’s international news output, arguing that it has a tendency to cover a narrow range of stories and perspectives. We expressed concern that the amount of air time devoted to international news appears to have fallen (based on a small week long survey which we undertook). We praised the BBC for the way in which it had integrated the World Service into the BBC News operation and expressed the hope that this would have a positive impact on international coverage by BBC News. See our full submission.
The impact of journalism
One World Media is hosting an event which looks at the impact of journalism. The keynote speaker will be Richard Tofel from the New York-based Pro Publica which is an independent not for profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. The event will take place at 6.30pm on Monday January 27th at the University of Westminster campus in Regent Street. This is a free event but tickets need to be booked in advance.