Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mixed messages

A number of Westminster observers, in print and broadcasting, were surprised by the scale of the BBC's operation on College Green for the Autumn statement. The temporary set-in-a-glass-box provided to Andrew Neil looked shiny, expensive and new. In these straitened times, with real studios less than 100 yds away, this was an indulgence for a view that no other broadcaster bothered with yesterday. Compared with Andrew's jokes about his tiny This Week set, and the economical use of The One Show studio for the most recent by-election, it sat oddly with a news organisation seeking to cut £48m and 415 posts next year. Especially when the begging bowl for foreign news coverage  - ebola, Syria, Ferguson and more - is already out.

Meanwhile at Newsnight, Ian Katz has decided that, despite its title, the programme is now a 24-hour brand - offering an "instant" YouTube analysis of the statement from his own shadow newsgathering team. I'm all for plurality of opinions from Auntie, but is this best use of organisational effort, punted out at 2.15pm, when the BBC2 coverage is still going ?.  Next, the Newsnight News Channel - that'll save a fortune.

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