I hear the BBC have found a novel way of combatting claims of bias in Reporting Scotland – they’re reviewing the news output for themselves by using staff from the referendum unit. So the £5,000,000 allocated to pay for extra staff to bring us better programming about independence is being used to subsidise the BBC’s PR response to the UWS bias report. There’s value…
This looks like another act of desperation as they battle to save face. Remember these are all novice broadcast people who are being trained on the job, having never worked in the industry before. Now some are being asked to make judgements about the content, tone and balance of programme output when they simply don’t have the experience in journalism to know if a news item is being personalised, if it’s weighted to one side and has enough independent content or indeed if an expert can fairly be described as independent. These are judgements only an experienced professional could make and, as I have written before, this work needs to be monitored by an independent academic source. Otherwise how can any information the BBC produces be said to be impartial – landing them in exactly the same quandary they accuse Dr John Robertson of creating. These trainees were specifically brought in using the additional budget in order to aid programme-making, not as crisis management assistants.
When the BBC suits have finished this latest stage of the Rescue Plan, who will the public be more likely to believe – the BBC’s own in-house, staff-adjudicated version or the year-long independent, disinterested academic study by a university professional and his research team? I don’t see how the BBC can win this. With complaints raining in to the Trust and the MSPs gearing up for an inquiry, they needed to find an elegant point of exit and retreat tail between legs. Instead they’re in full war cry, determined to prove Dr Robertson wrong and or biased himself. They need corporate strategy help to save themselves otherwise I think there must be a real chance that someone is sacrificed. How they must rue their decision to write such an objectionable letter of complaint in the first place.
Great news about Lucy Adams joining the BBC for the referendum…a real reporter and nobody’s patsy and a grievous loss for the Herald. She will really add intelligence and fire to the BBC Scotland effort. Sarah Smith is a good catch and the press will love it but I always worry a bit about people who have missed key years in our modern history – she missed all the devolution years and its really hard to know the detail if you weren’t around…makes it tougher to have perspective if you don’t have the hinterland. The appointment of Marcus Ryder to the replacement for Newsnight will cause a few smiles at PQ where his reputation is to put it mildly less than stellar. Still…things looking up at the Beeb and maybe now we’ll get some meaty journalism. Again though, why no word to the audience about their plans for Gordon Brewer? They’re happy to crow about new recruits and rightly so but you can’t airbrush all those years presenting programme like Newsnight out of the picture. I can’t see any mention of him or the existing team I worked with. It is disrespectful to say the least to them and dismissive of the audience. Where are their communication skills?