Friday, May 13

BBC Strikes

In a bar in America I remember one of those notices of wisdom hung for all to see. "Have it done well, have it done quickly or have it done cheap - choose any two of the above" .

The BBC's brand stands for high quality public service and creativity so it is not surprising that so many people want to work for this cherished organisation. But the BBC is facing uncertain times with serious threats to conventional forms of media. The license fee system is looking ever more antiquated, the commercial world is closing in on the BBC like a media Tsunami. What's a mother to do?

I am of the opinion that the decision to make these radical changes is the only one reasonably open at the present time. If the BBC isn't given a kick now, it sure will be in the not too distant future.

One on the biggest changes, it seems to me, is in the area of journalism. I'm not a journalist, but I can see that the BBC's reporting will be questioned more and more - not just by official bodies but by the whole world. Blog sites and the pages of hideous organisations like Fox News are very quick to throw mud. Everyone can be a journalist pumping their views onto the web. What the BBC's role is as a public service broadcaster urgently needs re-inventing.

This week BBC staff have voted to strike but I am yet to be convinced that this is the right thing to do. Who will suffer? What can change?

We need to do it well, we need to do it quickly, it is not going to be cheap.


At 7:37 pm, Blogger BJ said...

As a BBC journalist I'm pretty convinced that there is a need for a strike. Since the great Greg-Dyke inspired newsroom exodus of January 2004 there hasn't really been a proper display of feeling by us - the people who make the BBC what it is.

I don't think you can expect people who are losing their jobs to go home to their families and say: "I've been made redundant, but don't worry because the BBC will be better-placed to take on commercial competition in the long run."

Your blog is a good read, though... and I've put in on the sidebar of mine.

At 10:12 pm, Blogger Jude said...

It's certainly been interesting around our place... As a digital station we're 'ring fenced' in terms of redundancy, but I have so many friends that will be directly affected, and as a member of the union I guess I have to go with the decision, whether I voted for it or not.

I agree that there need to be cuts. There are parts of the BBC that are massively over staffed, and others that are run badly.

If I decide not to be at my desk on Monday it won't be because I'm trying to hurt the BBC by taking the station I work for off the air. It won't be because I believe there shouldn't be any compulsory redundancies. It will be because We need to make sure that these changes to the corporation need to be done with thought for the people they're cutting.

Jude (another brave blooger who used her own name, 'BJ')

At 8:16 am, Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for your comment, appreciated. I think Jude is right about the need to ensure that the changes are made with thought for the people concerned. The BBC proudly accepted the Investors in People award a few years ago.

I hope the unions will keep an eye on how the structural changes will work for the people left at the BBC. If cost cutting means the remaining staff working vast amounts of overtime, taking responsibilities for output without much editorial support, using underpaid and inexperienced youngsters then clearly this will need continuing attention.


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