Thursday, 19 May 2011

BBC Shows Joined-Up Thinking

Thank you to the Young Directors of the IOD West Midlands for inviting me as a guest at a breakfast at the BBC this week to hear about their current news policy.

While I stretch the boundaries of “ young” there were others there that did the same and it was good to be included.

With so many changes across media and the growth of on-line news channels, keeping up with what is going on is essential in communications.

I wasn’t surprised to hear how the BBC’s digital service is an outstanding success ( I am addicted to my BBC app), but it was interesting to hear that, as a result, the BBC was reducing its format and team to give other media channels a chance to compete .

I was taken back to hear that a pilot that successfully reached all its objectives to cover on-line news with videos across local Midland areas was not taken further as it would potentially dominate and prohibit other local on –line news initiatives.

You don’t need to be a brain surgeon to realise that the strength of the BBC brand would create a strong local following – so it seems strange they even decided to test the pilot in the first place.

Back to commonsense. The journalists across BBC Radio WM, BBC TV Midlands Today and on-line are now sitting together and joining resources and sharing stories . A good move.

You wonder why this hasn’t happened earlier but with the BBC such a historic institution these things do take time to filter through. Economic pressure to ensure operations are running as cost effectively as they can deliver positive results although , like other businesses, this inevitably results in some staff reductions.

And just when you think everything changes, it is reassuring to hear that the managing news editor for the BBC, Keith Birch, believes building relationships and dropping a personal note with a short summary on the story works best….along, of course, with a great story in the first place.


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