The Newsroom

Spotlight presenter Justin Leigh to leave the BBC

DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
DTV posted:
AlexS posted:

I think 9 cuts it back a bit too far. It would probably be possible for Oxford, Hull, London, Cambridge and Bristol to go but I think Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells, Salford, Plymouth, Norwich Southampton and CI is the bare minimum they could get away with.


My thinking was actually the same as yours bar Tunbridge Wells (I wasn't including CI in the nine). I would keep London and merge South East with South (as SE is not large enough geographically or population wise to justify, IMO, a separate budget - I would keep Bristol before I kept Tunbridge Wells).


We've been here before when South Today replaced Newsroom South East in East Sussex and South Kent from Heathfield. It was very Solent centric even then.

I'd be happy with a TW based (with a newsroom at BH for the London area) BBC London & South East as what happened until September with lunchtime bulletins, it stopped inane padding on both regions, while allowing Freeview viewers covered by the Reigate transmitter access to their local news during that period as places such as Godstone, Redhill, Horley and Crawley are covered editorially by TW, yet have BBC London which pays tokenism to the area.

East Sussex would still have a better news service as part of a merged London & SE operation than if it rejoined South Today.


I bow to someone with greater experience of the region.

Interesting points re merging smaller regions, rather than cuts across the board. Still think they should be making cuts elsewhere though. Maybe they shouldn’t be launching new services *BBC Scotland* if current network is not affordable.


The BBC will view BBC Scotland as a shrewd move in the long run. Though I'd've gone for more opt-outs from network, the BBC are primarily interested in keeping the SNP happy (or happy enough given the difficulty) so that in the event of independence they will allow the BBC to continue broadcasting in Scotland rather than setting up a separate SBC (and lose 10% of their licence revenue). If there is independence the main channels would become semi-separate anyway and BBC Scotland would be folded back into them. If they vote again to remain (and the issue is deemed more settled) I'm sure the channel will find itself in the firing line at the next round of budget cuts - alongside a promise to continue investing a similar amount in original programming originated in Scotland.
LV
LondonViewer London London
Interesting points re merging smaller regions, rather than cuts across the board. Still think they should be making cuts elsewhere though. Maybe they shouldn’t be launching new services *BBC Scotland* if current network is not affordable.


What’s the difference between reducing staff in all regions, or axing a region and expecting the other region to cover both patches? It’ll end up exactly the same with reporters spread more thinly

Didn’t say it was a solution, just an interesting idea. Savings from closing a building over cutting reporters. Opt out in new merged region to maintain some service. Not sure it’s a better solution, but interesting point.
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
Interesting points re merging smaller regions, rather than cuts across the board. Still think they should be making cuts elsewhere though. Maybe they shouldn’t be launching new services *BBC Scotland* if current network is not affordable.


What’s the difference between reducing staff in all regions, or axing a region and expecting the other region to cover both patches? It’ll end up exactly the same with reporters spread more thinly


I disagree. Reducing staff in all regions is 'spreading thinly' as fewer reporters have to fill the same amount of airtime. Reducing regions while keeping the existing level of staff per region is not 'spreading thinly' as, though there would probably be fewer reporters overall, you'd have the same proportion relative to airtime.

Plus, cutting the number of regions would reduce duplication in off-air staff and help reduce the BBC's property portfolio and/or rent bill. The savings gained from this would enable more reporters to be kept on relative to simply cost-cutting in the existing regions.
LO
Londoner London London
AlexS posted:
London centric stories don't need much coverage in regional bulletins because they are overwhelmingly featured in UK wide bulletins in a way that stories from elsewhere are not.

That's not really true. National news coverage may have a London slant but it's not remotely the same thing as rigorous coverage of London's governing institutions etc.
623058 posted:
boogy men new stuff is coming to get us
Night Thoughts, Steve Williams and sigma421 gave kudos
TR
trevormon London London
In fact as part of the current process the BBC did announce they wanted to make changes to regional coverage. Their opinion was that the Midlands and the North of England were underserved and they wanted to improve services there, presumably at a cost to other parts of the country. Quite how they are going to do that wasn't made clear but places like Peterborough were singled out for mention as targets for enhanced service.
IS
Inspector Sands
AlexS posted:

Return it to SE as it was historically and has been at times over the past several months. London centric stories don't need much coverage in regional bulletins because they are overwhelmingly featured in UK wide bulletins in a way that stories from elsewhere are not.

That's just nonsense.

I think you're getting confused between things that happen in London and things that are about London. Just because a story on the news takes place in London doesn't mean its a local story, its just that lots of decisions and national institutions are in London.

The stories on the London news bulletins aren't of relevance outside. It's one of the biggest cities in the world, its TV region covers a sixth of the population, its more than capable of filling half hour of regional news
IS
Inspector Sands
In line with Asa's guidance, some snippets only:

"BBC insiders said there had been a deluge of applications from staff who believed that this might be their last chance to get a six-figure payout. The government is drawing up plans to cap exit payments from public sector bodies at £95,000."

Thanks, that's the important bit that wasn't on the Times' preview of the article
IS
Inspector Sands
DTV posted:
The thing I don't understand about these regional cutbacks is they seem to be about taking things from every region when surely the more sensible thing (if cuts have to be made here) would be to reduce the number of English regions.

That probably wouldn't stop the current exodus of long serving staff who are scrabbling to get out before the redundancy cap comes in. The voluntary redundancy trawl was across the whole BBC.

Closing a region would mean compulsory redundancies for those in the affected region and redeployment for some. So those with the most to gain would still leave


Quote:
That way you could maintain the same level of output across larger regions.

No it wouldn't, it would reduce the level of output.

In terms of quality there'd be a decrease in the level of service for the audience of the regions affected - there'd be less relevant news in the bulletins
SE
TheSebastian
Having bigger/merged regions presents issues with audience appriciation of the content. The general rule is the more local something is, the more its liked; break that by super sized regions then many stories becomes less relevant or appealing - so editors put more generic things in and the programme looses part of its USP, audiences fall.

ITV found this in the West Country. In theory adding Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol with Somerset/Dorset overlap with Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth should have worked. Split the 'Hard News' for 10 min and share lifestyle features. It didn't work
Ballyboy, LondonViewer and London Lite gave kudos
LV
LondonViewer London London
True & a good example. It’s hard to say what would work unless you live in the particular region & identify with the local coverage area. On paper it sounds workable, in practice, less so.
IS
Inspector Sands
Meanwhile in Local Radio, several stations are losing their Managing Editors:
https://radiotoday.co.uk/2020/10/eight-bbc-local-radio-editors-to-step-down/
SE
TheSebastian
When BBC South West had its refit and Mosart installed, did the gallery/production staffing reduce compared to other regions? I Assume its just one instance of Mosart for one Gallery and they don't have a separate bulliten studio/gallery option.

I'm curious how much tech can help change the cost base for regional news, that might help with longer term budget.

Now a BBC centre has gone IP successfully (Wales) a capex project to redevelop regions would make sense. Ross Overdrive or a Casper/Sofie based system on a IP hardware infrastructure would help get staffing down and improve some aging facilities (absolutely not dismissing the value and craft of production teams!)

New technologies might help keep the core content and levels of service for an extended time.

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