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Credit local press with stories, government tells BBC

John WhittingdaleA government report into the future of the BBC has urged the corporation to give clearer attribution to stories sourced from local newspapers, with a local news “quota” also touted.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a green paper ahead of a public consultation on BBC’s charter review, which will set out how the corporation is run in future.

Its publication comes after Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield was named earlier this week as one of eight appointees to an advisory panel set up by culture secretary John Whittingdale, pictured above left,  on the charter renewal process.

Discussing the services the BBC provides, the review argues that it does not necessarily need to provide such a “broad range of services” in order to meet its public service objective as it did in the past.

It reads:”The BBC also has the potential to act as an effective partner in a number of markets as it has, for example, within the arts and cultural sectors.

“In the instance of local newspapers and other local media providers, the BBC can help support the industry by giving exposure to regionally-produced content and clear attribution when it uses news stories originally generated by or developed by the local press.”

Yesterday Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, hit out at regional press bosses who blame the BBC for their newspapers’ decline.

However, she also added the corporation should stop “ripping off” local newspapers by not crediting them when it uses their stories.

The report goes on to discuss potential reform of the quota system, which sets out how content is produced for the BBC.

At present, a proportion of its TV, radio and online output is commissioned to independent companies as well as the BBC’s regional centres.

The case is made in the report for reform of this system, adding: “For online content, the impact that the BBC’s online presence can have on others should be considered – not least on local news outlets, some of which have raised concerns that the BBC’s local presence is having an adverse impact on consumption of their content.

“This includes concerns that in some instances the BBC draws on content that local news organisations source without giving appropriate credit, so prompting calls for a specific local news quota to be established.”

The charter renewal process is set to be concluded next year.


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  • July 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    what about the nationals paying proper rates for stories from regional papers or crediting them

    the sun wouldn’t have a single quirky story but for local newsgatherers

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  • July 17, 2015 at 8:48 am



    This is all a load of BS, The beeb isn’t a rival to local papers, it the nationals lifting copy from the regionals that’s the real off-peever.

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  • July 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Personally I cant see any stories in my run-down skeleton-staffed poorly-researched weekly written 20 miles away that even the desperate regional Beeb boys and girls would want. They have one thing in common- lots of crime and court stories from cop press releases.

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  • July 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    “What about the nationals paying proper rates for stories from regional papers or crediting them?
    The sun wouldn’t have a single quirky story but for local newsgatherers.”

    Don’t be siily. Could you ever imagine the Tories upsetting good old Uncle Rupert?

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