BBC set to axe 450 jobs and Inside Out in raft of proposed cost-cutting measures
PUBLISHED: 16:59 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:59 02 July 2020
Archant Norfolk 2018
Around 450 jobs are to be lost at the BBC, after the broadcaster announced a raft of changes to its regional services.
As BBC England works towards cutting £25m in costs over the next two years, the broadcaster has announced a host of changes in its local coverage.
Among the most noticeable of these is the scrapping of current affairs programme Inside Out and the end of dual-presenters on local news bulletins in seven regions – with BBC Look East understood to be one.
First airing in 2002 and presented locally by David Whiteley, Inside Out will be replaced by a new investigative journalism programme produced from six regional hubs – one of which will be in Norwich.
Should the changes, which are up for consultation with staff, go ahead, it will also see the simplified scheduling brought in during the Covid-19 outbreak on BBC Radio Norfolk continued – which has seen longer, but fewer, live time slots.
Helen Thomas, director of BBC England, said: “We are in the age of the Facebook community group and the WhatsApp neighbourhood chat. We must adapt to better reflect how people live their lives, how they get their news and what content they want.
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“We’re going to modernise our offer to audiences in England by making digital a central part of what we do.
“We’ll take forward lessons from Covid-19 that will make us more agile and more in touch with communities while also ensuring we are as efficient as we can be.”
Mr Whiteley, whose Twitter handle is @david_insideout, commented on the programme’s cancellation by tweeting: “Does this mean I change my Twitter handle now? It’s been an honour.”
It comes about as Norfolk Labour councillors and MPs urged the BBC to avoid making “regrettable” cuts to its regional political coverage.
Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council, said the changes – if made – would hamper political debate.
He said: “Just at a time when people are starting to think critically and constructively about the future direction of politics and asking questions, this is a really retrograde step.
“Nobody would mourn the loss of yah-boo politics but losing understandable in-depth analysis and investigation is a setback for informed debate.”
The BBC has not revealed how many jobs stand to be lost locally.
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