So the BBC Trust has spoken, not finally as yet, on the corporation’s £68m proposals to increase local news coverage.
The Trust isn’t impressed with the proposals, which have caused a good deal of consternation amongst regional newspapers.
But whereas the majority of the criticism directed at the plan from regional publishers focused on the commercial impact, the Trust has concluded it “would not improve services for the public enough to justify…the investment of licence fee funds…”.
The Trust also acknowledges the potential for “…negative impact on commercial media”, but to my mind that was always a bit of a red herring.
The fact is the BBC was looking to invest a huge chunk of licence payers’ money on a brand new service at a time when its existing news output continually fails to live up to expectations.
It would be far better to invest that money in raising standards – from the consistently poor info-tainment served up by BBC Breakfast to the fact that 24-hour coverage has fallen into the “never wrong for long” trap.
The BBC really should stick to what it does poorly and try and raise the level of its current news output.
The regional publishers will no doubt start to claim a moral victory, a triumph for common sense. But I’d rather see them also concentrating on being the best they can.
It was interesting to read this summary by Fiona Cullinan – and particularly some of the telling observations – of the event organised by Birmingham Press Club to discuss the future of regional media.
It does sum up many of the issues regional media organisations still need to address.
I didn’t make it to the event myself, even though it was open to non-BPC members.
I wonder how many other journalists and bloggers (and non-members) – there are quite a few of us out there these days – would have made the effort if it had been staged by any other organiation?