March 2016 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 1st March 2016

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


This month’s briefing with Marie Claire and GQ

Later this month we’ll hear from Andrea Thompson, Features Editor at Marie Claire and Stuart McGurk, Senior Commissioning Editor at British GQ. These are two magazines that have remained strongly committed to running in depth global stories. Andrea and Stuart will talk us through the commissioning process, the kind of stories they are looking for, their experience of working with NGOs. They’re keen too to hear what we think they should be reporting on. The briefing will take place from 10-11.30am on Thursday March 17th. If you’d like to attend please register now via the IBT website.


Last month’s briefing with CNN

We had an excellent briefing last month with Victoria Eastwood, Head of Planning at CNN in London. CNN has a strong reputation for its international reporting and the range of stories covered. Victoria explained how best to pitch ideas for TV and online – and the growing emphasis at CNN on original and distinctive reporting. A more detailed note on the briefing can be found on the members’ page of the IBT website.


Media reporting of migration criticised by new research report

The Ethical Journalism Network has published a new research report, Moving Stories – International Review of How Media Cover Migration, which looks at media coverage of the refugee crisis in 14 countries including the UK. The report concludes that media attention is necessary for the outside world to take note and to do something about humanitarian crises. With some neglected crises it asserts that the lack of funding is often linked to the lack of media coverage. The report documents certain trends in media coverage of refugees – there is a mix of good and bad coverage but this issue is often reported through the prism of politics. Coverage is dominated by numbers and emotions. Reporting is often simplistic with migrants seen as a threat and there is little reporting of the benefits of migration. It recommends that news organisations employ specialist reporters to cover this issue; ensure that their own staff come from diverse backgrounds; monitor their own coverage on a regular basis and have internal debates about the quality and range of their coverage. It recommends that NGOs become more skillful in their dealings with journalists.


BBC3 now online

BBC3 has now been launched as an online only channel – the look and content is still evolving. In addition to full-length programmes, the network will offer a daily stream of content including short films, blogs and news and sport updates – delivered through a new online platform called The Daily Drop, combining original content with material produced by other BBC services including Trending and Radio 1’s Newsbeat.  IBT is in talks with BBC3 about producing online content on the issue of climate change.


Climate change film pitch

IBT is sponsoring a film pitch at this year’s Sheffield Documentary Festival. We are looking for filmmakers with projects that aim to engage mainstream audiences with climate change. The shortlisted entrants will receive pitch training and present their ideas in front of a panel of commissioning editors at Sheffield. The winner will receive £4,000 of development funding. The deadline for entries is March 31st.


BBC Charter update

The BBC Charter debate is gathering momentum. Two key committees have now reported, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and the House of Lords Communications Committee. The Lords Committee has argued in favour of the present scale and scope of the BBC, and its report quoted extensively from our written evidence and from Sophie Chalk, our Head of Advocacy, who gave oral evidence. The Commons Select Committee was more critical of the status quo and focused on governance, accountability, regulation, transparency and the Charter review process. It’s now clear that the BBC Trust will be abolished and in future the BBC will be regulated by Ofcom. But the Secretary of State is also considering more radical measures including a narrower remit for the BBC and a contestible fund so that the licence fee does not go entirely to the BBC. IBT is opposed to both of these proposals. All will be revealed when the DCMS publishes its White Paper in July. If you’d like to get involved in campaigning on the future of the BBC, please sign up to join Public Voice, a civil society wide grouping that we have been instrumental in setting up.

Lords Communications Committee report:

CMS Select Committee report:


New code of conduct for reporting on children

The Ethical Journalism Network has also launched a new code of ethics to guide media organisations reporting on children. This should be of interest to IBT members that work with children. The new code focuses on the best way to protect the privacy and dignity of the child; participation and consent; and the responsibilities of journalists and picture editors.


New guidance for NGOs sending staff abroad

The solicitors Leigh Day have produced new guidance for employers sending staff to work abroad. There have been a number of recent legal cases where NGO employers have been held liable and their travel policies have been found wanting. Further information is available from Christine Tallon, a partner at Leigh Day.


Trustee vacancies at IBT

IBT is recruiting new Trustees. Three of our Trustees will be stepping down in the summer as their terms of office have come to an end.  Since we are a membership-based organisation, it’s important that our Board of Trustees includes representatives of our member organisations. I will be sending out further details in an email to all members next week. If you are interested, look out for the email or get in touch. You do not need to have been a Trustee elsewhere to be eligible but you do need to have a clear understanding of the role of a Trustee. This is spelt out on the Charity Commission website.


Dramatic growth in newspaper websites

Last month all the major UK newspapers recorded big increases in their web traffic. The Sun was up 25%; The Guardian and Mail were both up 12% and The Telegraph was up 14%. MailOnline remains by far the biggest UK newspaper website with more than 14 million daily users, followed by The Guardian, with The Telegraph in third place.


In search of artists working on the issue of climate change

The Culture and Climate Change group has launched three artists’ residencies for artists or collectives working in any art form and living and working in the UK. Each of the winners will be awarded £10,000 for a year long residency to explore how society represents the range of possible future climates and develop their own artistic work within climate change research and policy networks.


Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival starts takes place month and will feature a series of films and events from March 10-17. Highlights include Hooligan Sparrow which looks at activists on the run in China; If The Dead Could Speak a special event looking at the thousands of people who have died in Government custody in Syria and Desperate Journeys on Europe’s refugee crisis.


 Two events that may be of interest

The Rise of Women Journalists in the Arab World – at the EBRD tonight at 6pm

Are You Being Heard? with Lenny Henry – at Goldsmiths on March 22nd


Best wishes



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