May 2013 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 1st May 2013

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


Briefing with Panorama editor Tom Giles

Our next event will be a briefing and networking event with Tom Giles, the editor of Panorama. Tom is the most successful Panorama editor for a number of years. He was responsible for the multi award-winning investigation into private care homes, Undercover Care, and he’s also commissioned a number of important foreign films. However, we’d like to see Panorama give international issues a higher profile and this is something we’ll be raising with Tom at this event. The briefing will take place at 10am on Thursday May 16th at the IBT offices in Southwark. It’s a free event for IBT members only, but places must be booked in advance. If you’re interested in attending please let me know by the end of this week.


Why Poverty – where next?

Later this month we’ll also be holding a debate to look at the impact of the BBC’s Why Poverty season. It was a unique attempt to engage mainstream television audiences with the issue of global poverty and the films were broadcast in 72 countries. The goal was to stimulate a global debate about poverty in developed and developing countries. But was the project successful and what lessons can be learnt for any future attempts to use the media to engage the public with poverty and development? The series producer, Nick Fraser, will be presenting evidence of the impact of the season and there will be a panel discussion. The event will take place at 10am on Friday May 17th at the ODI offices next to Southwark tube station. If you’re interested in attending or watching it online, you’ll need to register via the ODI website:



Training events

Last month we held two training events for IBT members with stills photographer Crispin Hughes. Feedback from the events has been positive. The consensus was that the mix of practical and theoretical was about right, and that Crispin was an excellent trainer with a good understanding of the changing role of media officers who were increasingly being asked to take pictures on foreign trips. The sessions were popular with more than 20 different organisations represented. We plan to hold further training events later this year. The next one will focus on how to get the most out of Twitter. Our goal in running these training events is to help IBT members develop their skills so that they can be more effective in a changing media environment.


IBT’s lobbying activities

We have continued to be active on lobbying front. This month we made two submissions: to the House of Lords Communications Committee inquiry into media plurality and to the Ofcom consultation on the new licences for ITV and Channel 5. In both submissions we argued for maintaining the obligations on the commercial public service broadcasters to produce current affairs in peak time, particularly international current affairs. We’re concerned that the ITV current affairs strand Tonight is now producing very little international content despite its close relationship with ITN. We’ve raised this issue with the media regulator, Ofcom, and have asked them to start monitoring the international content on ITV. All our submissions can be found on our website:


New Trustees

IBT is going through a period of change and we’re delighted that we will be recruiting a number of new Trustees in the next couple of months. If you’re interested in becoming an IBT Trustee please take a look at our website for further details. These positions are only available to IBT members. The deadline for applications is Wednesday May 8th


IBT marketing video

We are in the process of making a short video for our website so that IBT members are much clearer on what we do and what the benefits of membership are. If you have been to a commissioner briefing and subsequently were successful in pitching an idea to a broadcaster please get in touch so that we can feature this in the video,  as it’s strong evidence of the impact of IBT’s work.


Media news in brief 

–  Last month the BBC drama Casualty featured a storyline about female genital mutilation. The writing was superb and it was very encouraging to see this complex issue featured so prominently in a prime time soap. IBT has been urging the BBC for a number of years to feature international issues in drama and soaps.

–  Panorama received much publicity for its undercover North Korea film which achieved one of its highest audiences, with over 5 million viewers watching on the night. However, the LSE has lodged a formal complaint with the BBC Trust after it argued that students’ lives were put at risk by the secret filming.


–  Ed Stourton has returned to the subject of aid for Radio 4, this time with the much less controversial Syria: can aid meet the challenge?

–  Twitter is boosting the impact of television with increasing numbers tweeting as they watch tv. The most tweeted programme of the month was the ITV drama Broadchurch. There were 260,000 tweets during the last episode.

–  There have been some great documentaries this month about the Middle East. Olly Lambert’s film for Channel 4 Syria – Across the Lines gave a graphic account of the deteriorating situation in that country.


–  After the success of the BBC2 documentary series Welcome to India, the BBC has announced that it will commission Keo Films to make a third series about poverty in a developing country. Welcome to Rio will be shown next year, when the World Cup takes place in Brazil.


–  The Radio 4 Controller has announced that Thought for the Day is looking for more women to take part after recent statistics showed a ratio of 8 men to 1 woman.


–  The new BBC Director General Lord Hall has announced that he will beef up Newsnight after its recent troubled past. A new editor will be appointed shortly.

–  Unreported World has returned to Channel 4 on Friday nights with reports so far from Cuba, Kenya and Gaza. We’ll be holding a briefing with Monica Garnsey, the series producer, later this year.


Best wishes


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