Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Odds and ends from BBC News and Current Affairs' James Harding, on stage at the Society of Editors Conference in Southampton this morning...

  • Pilots on improving co-operation between local papers and the BBC: one in West Yorkshire will continue, and there'll be a second in the North East (of England). They'll include looking at sport coverage, and consider syndication of some BBC content on a weekly basis. 
  • There'll be two audits of BBC local and regional news coverage, in West Yorkshire and Bristol, to see if Auntie is paying other news providers properly. 
  • There'll be a group looking at combined funding for local court coverage
  • Mr Harding says he has cut his "News HQ" or central management by 30%. 
  • He believes he has a sunny disposition
  • He used the words disintermediation and inflection - but then, he's just back from two weeks in Stanford University, California
The narrative on why BBC News needs to get to a global audience of 500 million in a decade was weak. Yes, he said, there was an obligation to serve people in countries where political or commercial pressure was making access to impartial reporting difficult (Is is the BBC's job to decide where that is the case?) but, he argued, it ought to reach more young people around the world - why ?

He seemed slightly disingenous about the BBC's recent investment in Australia, criticised by The Guardian as a step beyond public service remit, describing it as a simple re-organisation of existing coverage into an "Australian home-page". It is much more than that.

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