October 2015 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 1st October 2015

Sophie Powell, Chief of UK Advocacy and Campaigns

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


Next briefing will be with MailOnline

Our next briefing will take place later this month with Liz Hazelton, the managing editor of MailOnline. The site has grown rapidly in the last few years to become the biggest newspaper website in the world. Although its main focus is celebrity news it also frequently runs stories from NGOs. Liz will talk about the sort of stories and pictures that work best for them and who to pitch ideas to. The event is free and open to all IBT members. It will take place from 10-11.30am on Thursday October 29th at the IBT offices in Southwark. If you’d like to attend, please register via the members’ page of the IBT website.


Our last briefing was with Sky News

Earlier this week we heard from Kate Sullivan who heads up the mobile team at Sky News. Kate talked about the recent changes at Sky which have brought television, radio, tablet and mobile teams together. Mobile content is growing rapidly and Sky is building its online audience. Short videos work particularly well on the mobile site and Kate encouraged those present to pitch ideas to her and her colleagues.


Twitter training

We have two Twitter training sessions coming up later this month, one is for beginners and the other is for more advanced users. The sessions will take place on Wednesday October 7th. There are a few places left. For more information and to book a place see the IBT website home page.


IBT dinner with James Harding 

Last week we held our annual dinner for CEOs. The guest speaker was James Harding, the BBC’s Director of News. James spoke about the threat that the BBC faces, with many seeking to use charter renewal as a way of reducing its size and scope. He encouraged us to speak out in support of the BBC and in particular its commitment to international content. James spoke about changes that he was making at BBC News to create opportunities to stand back from the news cycle and cover key issues that might not otherwise make it on air. He agreed that international development was a challenging issue for tv news to cover and said he would be happy to look again at this issue. He suggested that we co-host a brainstorm for BBC journalists to hear from a range of experts working in the international development sector.


Opportunity for IBT members to have their say on BBC charter renewal

IBT will be responding to the Government’s Green Paper which outlines the key issues which it believes the BBC is facing in the coming years. A key aspect, as James Harding pointed out, is the scale and scope of the BBC. Critics of the BBC would like to see an organization that is much smaller and doing a lot less. Our view is that the BBC needs to be of a scale that enables it effectively to deliver its public purposes, including providing international content for UK audiences. If you would like to have your say, we have drafted a short submission that IBT members can adapt and submit in in their own names: http://www.ibt.org.uk/2015/09/bbc-charter/  The deadline for submissions is Thursday October 8th. If you have any queries about this please get in touch with our head of campaigns, sophie.chalk@btinternet.com

Here is more information on the consultation and how to have your say: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-07-20/how-do-i-have-my-say-on-the-future-of-the-bbc


Privatisation of Channel 4

It was recently revealed that the Government, despite earlier denials, is seriously considering the privatization of Channel 4. The channel is a commercial public service broadcaster, a publicly owned corporation with no shareholders, and all its profits go back into programme making. IBT is very concerned about the Government’s plans. If Channel 4 were to be privatized this would pose a serious threat to is non-commercial content including Channel 4 News, Unreported World and the rest of its international output. We’ll be working to draw attention to this threat in the coming months. The views of Conservative MPs and peers are likely to be highly influential. If you or your colleagues are attending the Conservative Party conference, please raise this issue with any politicians you meet.


Unreported World

The new series of Unreported World launches next week, in its usual 7.30pm slot, on Friday October 9th, with a shocking report documenting the use of ECT in Chinese hospitals as a so called cure for homosexuality. Other programmes later in the series cover eye surgery in Malawi, acid attacks in Bangladesh and families being reunited after years apart in South Sudan. Many of these films were made in close collaboration with NGOs including UNICEF, Sightsavers and Save the Children. Filming for the next run of Unreported World is currently planned for January/February.


Reframing climate change

Earlier this year we hosted a panel debate at the Sheffield Documentary Festival to discuss how tv could improve its coverage of climate change. We brought together commissioners from the BBC, Channel 4, a climate scientist and an academic – with the active participation of an audience of producers and filmmakers. That session is now available to view online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nmdLhHh_cA&feature=youtu.be


Film festivals

It’s truly film festival time – here is a round-up of several which may be of interest:



Best wishes



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