The BBC has lifted some of the gloom surrounding media jobs by announcing plans to recruit up to 50 new journalists.
Heralded as the second phase of director general Greg Dyke’s efficiency drive, the expansion in the BBC’s news service is in part dependent on the Government giving the go-ahead to two new digital channels.
With savings from management cut-backs and the merger of BBC1 and News 24’s morning shows into Breakfast, the corporation plans to recruit staff to work on a raft of new news bulletins and in a new combined summaries unit. This unit will provide news round-ups for the new channels, as well as BBC1, News 24 and an interactive news service expected to launch later this year.
If the relaunch of BBC Knowledge as BBC4 gets the green light from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, seven journalists will be taken on to work on a news bulletin to be broadcast simultaneously on BBC World and which will have a more international agenda.
"For instance, Ken Clarke’s decision to stand for the Tory leadership would not be the lead item over what’s going on in Macedonia or a massive increase in China’s defence budget which was a really big story of that day," said Roger Mosey, BBC head of Television News.
The BBC also plans to recruit staff to work on a new programme covering world news and another on world business, to be broadcast between 5am and 6am on BBC1 News 24.
Up to 15 journalists are already being recruited to work on BBC Choice’s 60 Seconds, which will be broadcast every two hours. More will be taken on should plans to relaunch the channel as BBC3 win Government approval and the bulletin becomes hourly.
Mosey said that while BBC1’s 1pm, 6pm and 10pm bulletins would remain as "classical mainstream news programmes", the changes reflected a move towards providing "a wider range of voices".
"Diversification is really important because in today’s environment we can no longer expect to reach out to audiences unless we have a range of voices," said Mosey. "The model is going to be more like radio, where it has been accepted for a long time that the news on Radio 1 is going to be different from the news on Radio 4."
By Julie Tomlin