Governors attack failings in BBC news

Greg Dyke


The BBC’s news coverage has been criticised for failing to appeal to ethnic minorities and young people.

The BBC board of governors pointed to these "gaps" and said the news "should appeal, in one form or another, to all the adult population".

But they made it clear in their annual review this week that they were looking to new digital radio and television services to target wider news audiences.

Director general Greg Dyke has called on the Government for a speedy decision on whether its new channels, BBC3 and BBC4, can go ahead. Both will have a distinct news service, with BBC3’s 60 Seconds programme aimed at a new generation of news viewers, while BBC4 will try to appeal to a more international Radio 4-type audience.

A £450m increase in programme spending on analogue and digital channels over the next two years – the largest in the BBC’s history – was announced by Dyke on Wednesday.

He also defended the decision to spend money on digital channels rather than concentrate solely on improving programming on its existing terrestrial channels, claiming the aim was not to provide "just the same services as what is already out there".

It also emerged that in the past year, BBC1’s audience share has fallen by 1.5 per cent to an all-time low of 26.8 per cent, compared to ITV’s 30 per cent.

In a move to stem the decline, Dyke announced an extra £67m investment in drama, entertainment and factual programming.

While the governors claimed that news viewing had been improved as a result of switching the main evening bulletin to 10pm – this had "opened the way for a stronger, more distinctive schedule" – they said that "at some important times we did not connect with big audiences".


By Julie Tomlin

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