View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Comment
May 31, 2017updated 01 Jun 2017 11:17am

BBC partnerships offer prospect of light at the end of gloomy tunnel for agencies and local news

By Agency Provocateur

Whenever the newsreader says “and now for the news where you are” I turn to the missus, pretend to hold a microphone and say “I’m having a cup of tea and the dog’s been dewormed”. Oh how I laugh. The wife? Not so much.

That’s the trouble with local news on the box. It’s rarely local. There’s usually the serious story about a stabbing on a council estate 50 miles away, a daft bloke complaining about his bus route being scrapped and a dog that plays Scrabble.

Most agencies don’t bother supplying the BBC with local stuff. There’s no money in it. No one has a budget but then they never have. Even when there was cash floating about for news, the BBC rarely seemed to let its local networks spend it on the likes of us.

We used to get called up by a graduate researcher who would say “hi, it’s BBC Melchester. We’re just following up your story in the Daily Mail and wondered if you could send us the copy?” Sure, how much will you pay? “Oh, we can’t pay. We’re hoping you’d let us have it now that it’s been in the papers.” But the papers paid for it. “Sorry, we don’t have a budget.”

To be fair it’s not just television. A lot of local papers now just republish press releases and don’t bother sending people to court or inquests or council meetings. Then they, like broadcast media, rely on the public to send in their videos and photographs. Coldest day for 50 years? Let’s see this lovely photo that Tom in Towcester has taken with his iPhone and let us has have for nothing. Want public opinion? Well, @beefymaguire has tweeted “so much for global warming #fakenews”. Thanks Beefy but I think your medication has worn off.

And the quality is not that great either. Someone on a regional news channel this week went to Princess Diana’s family’s estate and didn’t know how to pronounce Althorp (it’s Al-trup).

But, perhaps there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The BBC is looking to partner press agencies to provide more local news coverage. A lengthy document outlining this has been sent out. Personally, I’m not sure and will remain cynical. In one bit they talk about agencies being an “additive” to the BBC. If that’s how they are going to speak to the nation, I give up.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

An occasional blog by a NAPA news agency boss who has asked to remain anonymous

Topics in this article :

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network