Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Belt tightened

BBC News enters the new financial year with a very last-minute change of international agencies, to save money.

And the decision, with the United States currently such a dominant story, is to end a longstanding arrangement with the Associated Press for video, stills and wire copy. AP, founded in 1846, is an independent, not-for-profit co-operative, headquartered in New York, but with offices in 100 countries around the world. It reckons to file 2,000 stories a day, and 50,000 videos a year.

Many of the videos are part of the BBC's archive - but using them again from next month will incur "substantial bills".

To cheer hacks up, management have announced that a deal has been struck to take video from Agence France Press - AFP, founded in 1944, from the ashes of Agence Havas, and unsurprisingly headquartered in Paris. (Insert your own BBC Brexit bias comment here....)

Those with memories stretching back to the last century will remember a house rule, that breaking foreign stories fresh to the BBC needed to be running on two agencies before being shared with radio and television audiences. No-one abides by that now, so one fewer agency isn't that much of a problem on that front. But losing AP pictures and wires is a big call when the agency has been leading on a range of Trump lines, and shows money is tight...

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