Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Lord Hall and his mascot 'Lucky' Jim Purnell are on parade this afternoon, in front of the House of Lords Communications Committee at 3.30pm.

They can expect a gentler ride from the Lords, lead by housing expert and cross bencher (like Tone), Lord Best. As Richard Best, he was inspired to a career trying to improve social housing by the seminal BBC Wednesday Play, 'Cathy Come Home' of 1966.  It's now available from the BBC Store for £3.99.

Will Lord Hall have any lollipops to hand out ? Sometime before Christmas, we can expect a resolution of the stand-off between big local newspaper groups and the BBC's regional and local news operations online. John Whittingdale will impose something, if there isn't a deal done.

The rather ham-fisted 'offer' of 100 new BBC reporters, generously pumping copy at papers and their websites, conjured up by James Harding is a dead duck. The Press Association may provide a new way of increasing court and council coverage in a way that the BBC and papers can agree; it probably helps that Pete Clifton of PA is a former Editor of BBC News Online. One fly in the ointment could still be another former BBC man, Ashley Highfield, now of struggling Johnson Press, and an adviser to Whittingdale on Charter Renewal. He'll want to see both the full value of 100 reporters in a new deal, and some formal handcuffs on those typing the BBC's regional and local pages.

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