The foot-shooting season continued at the BBC last week. Even
inherently favourable items, such as the development of a 24-hour
internet news service attracted criticism for wasting money on
non-broadcast services. But the major story was the attempt to save
pounds 30 million by streamlining news editors, attracting serious fire
from media correspondents, commentators and leader writers.
Although the BBC gagged some presenters ’on air’, broadcast items
provided a mix of BBC News’ chief executive Tony Hall for the BBC and
John Tusa and Shirley Williams for the opposition.
Director general John Birt came in for a savaging, especially for being
out of town when the news broke, although Stephen Glover in the Daily
Telegraph (19 Sept) gave guarded support: ’Hang on Birt’s right’. Hall
played the role of messenger to perfection, finally falling on his sword
when he admitted on Radio 4 that he thought ’the changes were poorly
received because of poor PR’. Will the BBC’s next job vacancy ads offer
DG or PR positions?
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Cuttings supplied by The
Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’ can be found at: