Value what you’ve got

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2010 by grahamharrowell

You can’t beat the BBC. Whether it’s Radio 4 or the TV, I’ve never found anything that comes close. There’s one thing that I don’t understand. Why, when they have such brilliant regional news teams, do they persist in sending someone from London to cover the big story? It seems insulting. My respect for the regional services may be coloured by the fact that I watch Harry and Christa on Look North from Leeds. I have to admit that when I watch some of the other regions down south they lack the same feeling and in the Channel Islands there doesn’t appear to be enough news to keep them going for half an hour, so they fall back on the South West, even though events in St Malo or Granville might be more relevant.

What brought this to mind again was this week’s Six O’Clock News report from Barnsley. A reporter (and presumably a crew) from London had been despatched to Yorkshire to do a piece to camera and and a vox pop. Just a waste of scarce money for a job that could have been done equally well or even better locally. More important and more expensive are the high profile cases that see a team sent up from the capital to cover big stories like, for example, the Shannon Matthews case. Not only does the London team unnecessarily duplicate the work of the local team but it also costs significantly more with all the travel and accommodation costs. Does it add any value? Probably not. The local team in Leeds (like their London counterparts) stand shivering outside the Crown Court or on a windswept estate in Dewsbury waiting to deliver their piece to camera 20 minutes after the main news bulletin has covered much of the same ground. The difference in quality is that the local team knows the area, they have the contacts with local journalists, police, politicians and the community, together with other local sources. Their coverage is simply better.

So let’s hear it for the BBC regions. If, like everyone else, the BBC needs to save money why not do so by ceasing to ferry reporters and crews around the country from London and let’s see the teams on the ground demonstrating to the whole country the BBC’s strength in depth.

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