October 2013 Newsletter
Welcome to IBT’s October newsletter with a brief update on our work and relevant news from the media industry. (Print this Newsletter)
The Environment on TV – are broadcasters meeting the challenge?
Later this month we’ll be publishing our new research report which looks in detail at how mainstream television covers the environment and related issues, particularly climate change. The aim of the research is to encourage broadcasters to improve their coverage and to work more effectively with NGOs and climate scientists. The launch will take place at 6pm on Monday October 28th at the House of Commons. If you’d like to attend please RSVP to Neha Nijhon at Carbon Neutral. At the launch we’ll hear from a panel of experts representing broadcasters, NGOs and climate scientists. Full invite here.
Sky News and Unreported World briefings
Since our last newsletter we’ve held two briefings, with Adrian Wells from Sky News and Monica Garnsey from Unreported World. Adrian spoke about the narrowing news agenda and gave useful tips on how NGOs can piggyback on the main international stories of the day and also explained the different points of entry for NGOs pitching ideas to Sky News. Monica explained how Unreported World works now that there are two runs of eight episodes each year. The strand has no set agenda but is always on the lookout for new stories and issues. A key element is a strong central character with a narrative which can be captured on film in the time available. Monica said she is keen to have more counterintuitive stories like the story of a British Somali opening a new restaurant in Mogadishu or the impact of rising property prices in Gaza. Future briefings are planned with Newsnight and Channel 4 News although no dates have been fixed yet. More on these in next month’s newsletter.
IBT regularly submits evidence to inquiries by Ofcom, the BBC Trust, The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and others. We’re pleased to say that these submissions have, in the past, resulted in important changes to broadcast policy. We have recently submitted evidence to Ofcom’s review of the Channel 4 licence in which we supported Ofcom’s plan to renew the licence for a further 10 years. However, we did emphasise the importance of Channel 4 fulfilling its international remit, to bring news and views from around the world. We have also submitted evidence to the BBC Trust review of the proposed licence for the World Service, now that it falls under the auspices of the BBC Trust. We’re pleased that the new licence notes the importance of the World Service and BBC News working together to enhance international coverage aimed at UK audiences, although the primary goal is serving the global audience. The new working arrangements seem to be having a positive effect with more World Service reporters filing stories for BBC News. As a result of our submission we also had the chance to meet Lord Wiliams, the Trustee with special responsibility for the World Service.
Are we making sense of global economics?
Later this year IBT will start work on a new project looking at how effectively the UK media covers global economics, particularly issues like trade and taxation. One of the aims of the project is to look at the link between media coverage and activism. The project will start with a round table at the beginning of December with keynote speeches from Paul Mason, the former Newsnight economics editor and Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director for ONE. Other attendees at the round table will include broadcasters and NGO representatives. If you have any thoughts on this issue please let me know.
News in brief
Tonight’s Panorama on Malala continues a strong run from the strand which has been transmitting an impressive series of international reports in the last few weeks, investigating working conditions in the clothing industry in Bangladesh, the plight of Syria’s children and its health care system, and the carnage at the Westgate shopping mall. When Tom Giles the Panorama editor met IBT members in May he spoke about his strong interest in international stories and said that typically one in four episodes would be international.
A new book on media coverage of climate change argues that we should focus much more on the concept of risk in order to explain the impact of climate change to the wider public. More details here.
Another book just published by a group of academics argues that a key aspect of development is the way in which it is reflected in literature, cinema, television and social media. Martin Scott, an author of previous IBT reports, has written a chapter on reality television. Details here.
The Executive Director of Government Communications has warned that ‘the press release is dead’ and urged press officers to become content producers. See his thoughts here.
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