BBC plans to create new rolling news service and close the News Channel and World News “simply won’t work” 

  • 14 Jul 2022

The plans will result in 143 journalism roles and 19 presenter positions being axed.

The NUJ has told the BBC that its proposal to close the BBC News Channel and BBC World News to create a single rolling news channel with a global focus “simply won’t work”. 

Paul Siegert, the NUJ’s national broadcasting organiser said:

“The current fluid events in Parliament illustrate all too clearly  why there is a need for a dedicated rolling news service for UK audiences and why plans for a new channel covering both UK and world news simply won’t work.  It was proposed before and dropped. We call on the BBC to again rethink this cost cutting idea. 

“Today’s announcement has come as a huge blow to the journalists and presenters who work on the BBC News Channel and  BBC World News. To close 143 journalism roles and axe 19 presenter positions mean it will be impossible for the new channel to have the same high standards of journalism that the two current channels are known for around the globe. The NUJ is also concerned about moving jobs currently based in London to Washington and Singapore and reminds decision makers that BBC stands for the British Broadcasting Corporation.” 

The BBC says the proposals will lead to the loss of around 70 UK posts, as new roles will be created at the new channel, including jobs based in Washington. The new channel is expected to start in April 2023 and will broadcast around the world. UK viewers will have some specific UK content at certain times of the day. 

The BBC News channel provides viewers with up-to-date coverage of UK elections, party conferences, by-elections, local events, covid-19 briefings and much more. The NUJ believes such coverage could be lost in a combined channel where global events are competing for airtime.  

Regional stories including floods, extreme weather events and transport issues may struggle to receive coverage, despite being of huge significance to UK viewers. Past consideration of closing the BBC News channel was abandoned following the assessment of its benefit to audiences, alongside the repurposing of content for other platforms. The BBC World channel is a trusted source of information, with no clearer example than through its recent coverage to audiences about the war on Ukraine. 

The BBC also announced that it would be visualising some of its radio output, including the 5 Live Nicky Campbell programme, following in the steps of commercial radio stations such as LBC and Talkradio. 

The World Service faces cuts of around £30m by the end of the 22/23 financial year, with some language services likely to move to online only. 

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