March 2014 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 7th March 2014

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


Andrew Roy briefing
Andrew Roy, World Editor at BBC News, briefed IBT members this week on the changes that have taken place in the way the BBC covers foreign stories. BBC News used to have 150 staff in the field to report foreign news; now, as a result of the integration with the World Service, Andrew can call on a staff of 600. This means that he has much greater access to wider range of foreign stories – but competition to get the stories on air remains intense. Andrew’s advice to media officers was to build relationships with the BBC’s local bureaux and pitch ideas to them. He is in frequent contact with the bureaux and uses them to test any story ideas he receives. A detailed note of the briefing can be found here on the members’ page of the IBT website.


ITV News briefing
Our next briefing will be with ITV News. We’ll be hearing from Michael Herrod who has taken over as Foreign Editor from Tim Singleton; and from Natalie Fry, Executive Producer of ITV’s new current affairs strand On Assignment which will be launched later this month. Michael and Natalie will talk about the sort of stories they’re looking for and the best way for NGOs to pitch ideas to them. This briefing will take place at 10am on Wednesday April 30th. To guarantee your place book now via the members’ area of the IBT website.


Changes at the BBC
There has been much debate in recent weeks about the next BBC Charter and licence fee settlement. Detailed discussions are unlikely to take place until after the general election. However, the debate has focused on the size of the BBC and BBC bosses have responded by announcing that BBC3 will close as a broadcast channel in the Autumn of 2015, and relaunch as an online service. Most of the money saved by the closure of BBC3 will be diverted to drama on BBC1. This decision is subject to review by the BBC Trust. It’s the first time that the BBC has proposed shutting down a television service. When previous cuts were announced by the BBC Executive which proposed closing 6 Music that decision was overruled by the Trust so it’s possible that will happen again. The Trust has said that it will undertake a public consultation so that licence fee payers can have their say. BBC4 has been saved – for the moment at least – but its future clearly depends on the next licence fee settlement. IBT is opposing the closure of BBC3. We believe that it makes a unique contribution to UK television with its strong track record in innovative international documentaries. We are concerned that this element of its output will disappear when the channel moves online.


ITV and Channel 5
Ofcom has confirmed that it has renewed the licences of ITV and Channel 5. It has also announced that it will undertake a review of public service broadcasting in the UK, in advance of the BBC Charter negotiations. IBT will be submitting evidence to the review.


The Bird’s Eye Film Festival
The Bird’s Eye Film Festival, which celebrates the work of female filmmakers around the world, is back next month for its tenth year. It runs from April 8th – 13th and films will be shown at a number of London venues.


The Invention of News
Jeremy Paxman has written a provocative analysis of the news industry saying that ‘the more news there is, the less anyone really needs it.’  He was reviewing The Invention of Newsa new book by the historian Andrew Pettegree.


RT – Russia Today
RT, the global news channel funded by the Russian government has suffered serious damage to its credibility with presenters complaining that it has adopted an uncritical pro-Putin line. One presenter quit live on air.


12 Years a Slave
Fresh from winning the best picture Oscar, the Film4 backed feature, 12 Years a Slave, has received the stamp of approval from the US education authorities. The film will now become a compulsory part of the syllabus for all US high school students.


One World Media Awards

Tickets for the One World Media Awards go on sale later this month. The awards, which celebrate the most outstanding media coverage of the developing world, will be hosted by Jon Snow and will take place on Tuesday May 6th at King’s Place in London.


Best wishes



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