BBC News and BBC World presenters among 70 staff facing sack – The Guardian

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BBC News and BBC Globe presenters among 70 personnel facing sack

BBC News and BBC World News are to merge to create a single 24-hour TV channel, the corporation said

Presenters on the BBC News channel and BBC World are set to be sacked as part of a raft of 70 job cuts in the UK in a plan to create the single more digitally focused rolling news service.

The corporation, which suggested the proposal to merge its UK and international news channels in May, said that the new-look channel will launch next April and be called BBC News.

UK viewers will no longer be provided with a domestic rolling news service, losing programmes such as Dateline London after 25 years, plus the new channel will certainly feature a mix of international content as well as “new flagship programmes built around high-profile journalists”.

The plans will see a significant cut in the particular number of presenters who currently work across the BBC News channel and BBC World, with fewer higher-profile on-screen staff started retain the title “chief presenter”, while correspondents are in order to be given the opportunity for more on-air presenting time.

The particular BBC’s annual report lists names including Clive Myrie, Reeta Chakrabarti, Victoria Derbyshire, Ben Brown and Joanna Gosling – who combined are paid more than £1m for work across the BBC – as presenters around the BBC Information channel. It is understood that 19 chief presenter roles are to be cut in total.

A spokesperson for the BBC said that the UNITED KINGDOM operation would see 70 job cuts, while 20 more on- and off-screen roles will be created in Washington DC. The new channel will be broadcast from London during UK daytime hours, and then from Singapore and Washington.

The BBC said UK viewers would continue to receive specific content at certain times of the day, and during certain high profile information stories, and there may be production capacity for a domestic-only broadcast stream for major UK-specifc news events.

“The way audiences consume news is changing, ” said Naja Nielsen, digital director at BBC News. “Our aim is to produce the best live and breaking video news service in the world – on our webpages, our apps, on BBC iPlayer plus on our new TELEVISION news channel. ”

The brand new channel can remain ad-free in the UK. The BBC’s annual report, published earlier this week, showed that staff numbers in the corporation’s newsrooms are at their lowest level in a decade.

Paul Siegert, the national broadcasting organiser at the particular National Union of Journalists, said the plan to service an international audience with substantially fewer employees while maintaining the existing high standards of production and journalism would not be achievable.

“Plans for a new channel covering both UNITED KINGDOM and world news simply won’t work, ” stated Siegert. “It was proposed before and dropped. We call on the BBC to again rethink this cost-cutting idea. It will be impossible for the new channel to have the same high standards associated with journalism that the two current channels are known for around the globe. ”

The particular NUJ declared that ultimately the particular number of existing staff members losing their jobs could be higher than the BBC has indicated, and that will the merging of the two channels would mean the particular 143 journalism roles being officially closed. While the corporation is creating a substantial number of new roles, existing staff may not really get them, and they could be in geographically unsuitable locations.

“The NUJ is also concerned about moving jobs currently based in London in order to Washington and Singapore and reminds decision-makers that BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Corporation, ” mentioned Siegert.

The BBC said the changes would create a “modern, digital-led and streamlined organisation that drives the most value from the licence fee and delivers more with regard to audiences”.

The particular BBC’s news and current affairs operations, which have an annual budget of £314m, have been the focus of several rounds of significant cuts within recent years as the particular corporation has sought savings to balance real-terms funding falls after licence charge settlements with the government.

Earlier this particular year, the government imposed a two-year freeze on the £159 annual licence fee until 2024, which usually the BBC said will certainly mean it has to find a further £285m in annual savings. However, Tim Davie, the BBC director general, is seeking to make £500m in cuts to existing TV and radio services to invest in digital-only initiatives.

Davie, who took over from Lord Tony Hall as director-general in September 2020, has overseen a slimming down of about 1, 200 jobs to date plus has said about 1, 000 more will go within the next few years.

Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, is set to launch a consultation on the future of the licence fee because the corporation’s funding mechanism beyond the end of the BBC’s current royal charter in 2027.

Dorries has called the particular licence fee “outdated” and “discriminatory” as all households pay the same amount regardless of income. She has pointed to “fairer” models used in other countries, such as Germany, involving linking it to council tax. Other alternatives are the voluntary subscription model like the one Netflix uses, allowing advertising, or through a general broadband levy.

The BBC will now enter consultation with affected staff plus trade unions, while Ofcom, the UK media regulator, may wish to scrutinise the plans to substantially change the two existing information services.

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