Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Intern the BBC

The UK's newspapers would like BBC Online operations to be shackled to the wall of a cold, dark and dripping cell for a while, while they catch up. Ideally, they'd like 10 shackles, but they're leaving the exact design to the Government/George Osborne.

That's the broad message from the News Media Association, chaired by Mike Darcey, chief executive of The Times and Sun publisher, News UK, with deputy BBC good-guy-gone-bad Ashley Highfield, now CEO of Johnston Press.

The NMA commissioned a report from one of the BBC's favourite boutique consultants Oliver & Olbhaum, to help make their case in the Charter Renewal debate. O&O, with no new research, have revisited existing data and reports, and re-diagnosed the patient that is regional and local newspaper operations. With all the conviction of Dr Gregory House, they assert that the patient has turned the corner, and with that nasty BBC tied up in a corner for five or ten years, will soon be leaping about, generating the profit margins plurality of views that newspaper shareholders dream of, day in and day out. Any suggestion that our modern newspaper barons have been ruthlessly cutting back on journalistic effort to maintain income at the expense of investment is rebutted. I think.

O&O are particulary grumpy with BBC Director of News James Harding's analysis, entitled The Future of News (perhaps because they weren't commissioned to help with that one). They offer an almost line by line rebuttal of its key points, over five packed pages at the end of their report.

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