January 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s January newsletter with an update on our work and relevant news from the media industry. (Download/Print this Newsletter)
Briefing with The Independent and The Daily Telegraph
Our next briefing will be with the Foreign Editors of The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, David Wastell and Hannah Strange. Although there has been much criticism of newspapers for reducing their foreign pages, these two papers have maintained a range of coverage, including a number of unique stories. David and Hannah are both keen to hear from IBT members about stories they could or should be covering. The briefing will take place at 10am on Thursday January 21st, at the IBT offices in Southwark. There are a few places left. These will be allocated on a first come basis. Registration is via the member’s page on the IBT website. If you have already registered, you don’t need to do anything.
New news study
Later this month we will be conducting a quantitative analysis of news output on tv, radio and online. The analysis will cover the main bulletins and news programmes on BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and Channel 5, and some key radio and online content, over a two week period. It appears that the range of stories covered and the number of unique stories has diminished in recent years, so this is one issue that we will be investigating. Our last study, The World in Focus, was published in 2009 and provided us with a good evidence base for lobbying broadcasters. We would be interested in hearing from any IBT members who have views on the changing nature of tv coverage of global events and issues. The final report will be published in the spring.
The future of Channel 4
The debate over the future of Channel 4 is gathering pace. Some former tv grandees like Michael Grade have surprisingly come out in favour of privatization; most of the tv industry has come out against, including Peter Kosminsky, the Wolf Hall director, writing in The Guardian today.
Peter is right. If Channel 4 is privatised it’s likely that its more risky content will disappear, including international current affairs. Channel 4 has a statutory duty to broadcast international coverage and particularly ‘voices from around the world.’ IBT was instrumental in securing this aspect of the Channel 4 remit, when we successfully lobbied MPs and peers for its inclusion in the Digital Economy Bill, a number of years ago. It’s likely that a privatized Channel 4 would seek to dilute the remit.
BBC3 going online
Next month BBC3 will go online and cease to broadcast as a tv channel. This is a big experiment for the BBC. The channel will still commission the long form international current affairs content for which it is best known, from presenters like Stacey Dooley and Reggie Yates. But this will be broadcast on BBC1 and 2 instead. There will be a big increase in short form content specially commissioned for the online channel. We have been talking to Damian Kavanagh, the Controller of BBC3, and encouraging him to commission a season on climate change. We will be holding a round table with the BBC3 commissioning team, independent producers and some climate change experts later this month.
This year we will be working with Sheffield DocFest again. It’s becoming an increasingly important event for documentary makers and tv professionals from around the world. We’ll be organizing a film competition and panel event to promote tv coverage of climate change and its likely impacts. DocFest has also just launched a new online platform called Postcards, and a film fund, to support new and established short form documentary talent.
One World Media Awards
The call for entries is now open for this year’s prestigious One World Media Awards, which celebrates excellence in international media content. The deadline for applications is February 4th 2016. The awards will take place in June.
It’s good to see that CBBC continues to commission international factual content for children. If you missed it, Boy on the Bicycle is still available on the iPlayer. This single film ran as part of the My Life strand and followed a group of children living in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. It was made in conjunction with UNICEF.
Whicker’s World Foundation
The newly established Whicker’s World Foundation has announced a number of awards to encourage film makers to develop their own authored documentary content. The deadline for applications is January 31st 2016. http://whickersworldfoundation.com/awards/