The BBC has come under fire for treating local newspapers as competitors and failing to credit them for stories.
At a conference organised by the Westminster Forum today, the corporation was accused of acting like the “thug at the end of the street” in its dealings with local media.
The BBC also faced opposition from local press bosses over plans to increase the amount of local content on its websites.
Geraldine called on the BBC to work on a constructive basis with local newspapers “instead of consistently treating us as a competitor”.
She said: “We should be able to have a far more symbiotic relationship than at the moment. They consistently promote Facebook and Twitter, but when it comes to one of our local papers they say ‘a local councillor spoke to a local paper’, why can’t they even say our name? It is ridiculous.”
Steve agreed, saying most of the BBC’s stories were broken by local newspapers.
“Local titles tend to break the stories, that’s where they tend to emanate from and go from there. Local press and local media teams,” he said.
Simon Enright, editor of local TV at the BBC conceded that the corporation should credit local news sources where appropriate.
“Where people have stories and they are not attributed on a BBC website they should be. Absolutely we should,” he said.
Tim Kirkman, the head of the London Evening Standard’s local TV initiative, told the same event: “There is a thug at the end of the street and that is the BBC.”
Geraldine went on to question the BBC’s local online ambitions following the recent report by the BBC Trust that it should increase its local content.
She said: “I think that is a hugely worrying statement. It is creep. Four years ago Mark Thompson made the decision that there didn’t need to be any more local content on BBC sites.”