BBC Local decision a missed opportunity for local news
The rejection of plans by the BBC Trust for investment in local journalism is a missed opportunity to enhance local media.
The BBC Trust today turned down plans to create a network of 65 local online video news services.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This decision is a missed opportunity to improve local news for communities around the country.
“Local papers are closing and job cuts mean thousands of journalists don’t have the time to do their jobs properly anymore. ITV is withdrawing from its regional and local news commitments. Against a significant decline in local journalism, here was an opportunity to take a small step in the opposite direction by actually enhancing local news provision.
"The BBC made commitments to invest in local and regional news services. We expect the corporation to stick to its promises and ensure that other news services now benefit from this investment."
The plans were rejected after a vigorous lobby by the newspaper industry.
“Newspaper employers have spent years taking huge profits out of local media whilst cutting jobs. Now they have helped stop new jobs being created because they said such competition would stifle their investment.
“Now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is and invest more in local journalism - in jobs, in training and in resources for hard-pressed newsrooms.”
21 November 2008