ITV’s News Blackout And The Death Of Local Journalism
ITV was once a collection of independent TV stations round and about Britain..but financially and inextricably linked more and more. They are hard pressed as TV ad men diversify and put less money into a rapidly burgeoning airwaves pot. Cutting the expensive local news teams is the accountancy solution.
It should be a matter of deep concern this is being allowed. The coverage so far has been that of stricken viewers bemoaning the lack of local and regional news which this is likely to cause. There should be huge alarm at the real end result.
These regional news stations were the breeding grounds of some of the UK’s finest journalists, the ones prepared to stand up to biting ferrets (the late, lamented, Richard Whitely), Bristol’s Andrew Harvey (first a newspaper man then BBC regional TV news and then BBC One anchorman for more than a short while before joining ITV), the rabid taffs, like radio and TV’s John Humphries, and others who cut their teeth in the regions.
The ones prepared to carry on the role of advocacy for those unable to fight for themselves and give their all to frame and explain political issues albeit for a fat fee-cheque these days.
Even the ubiquitous Sir Trevor MacDonald started at the Trinidad bottom before his steady West Indian stride to the crease to bat against London’s politicians and Square Mile businessmen onto the Olympian heights, and a Knighthood.
I seem to remember his bottom enjoying a brief stay at Tyne Tees Television before joining ITN. Tyne Tees had a worthy, even hardy, working newsroom once staffed with gay (old usage) abandon.
It is likely to be one of the areas slashed since there’s another good news team down the road apiece, at Leeds, which is already turning out sub-regional reports via the Calendar programme.
It will eventually be very serious for the national news stations…they have always poached the good staff and rarely train cubs from scratch to become the lions and lionesses of Newsnight et al.
I predict it will be watch this space…or rather watch this blank poorly-trained waste of space…before too long.