Sunday 19 December 2021

An insider-out's view. Rob Burley speaks

Today was the final Andrew Marr show on BBC One and Andy Marr's most famous editor, Rob Burley, having also just left the BBC [against his will], took to Twitter again. It's another interesting, departing insider's take:
1) Lots of people have asked me this [''so many journalists and back room staff have left the BBC this year, what’s the reason Rob? Is it something us BBC viewers and listeners should be concerned about?'']. So here goes: lots of great people are leaving the BBC because of big cuts which are landing on BBC News. The essential reason for this is the loss of funding that’s come with freezes to the licence fee and extra costs loaded on the BBC. 
2) The current cuts have also come as a consequence of a reorganisation of BBC News which establishes a new way of running things. There’s a hope that this will improve output - it won’t - but it’s really driven by cost-cutting which has to be done. 
3) The consequences of all these cuts and changes have already impacted the programmes you see on air but with the Govt talking about a further freeze it will only get worse. It’s also been very bad for staff apart from a class of super-managers who have become v powerful. 
4) For staff it means no career progression, more responsibility for things that can go wrong without any more money and massive centralisation. This is all driven by cuts. While at the BBC I never expressed public concerns about this but now can: it’s a very worrying situation. 
5) Worst thing is the end of the distinction between the news and programmes teams. Disastrous and dangerous especially in political programmes, but when you just have to save millions you cross your fingers and risk destroying the very thing that makes the BBC special.

Oh dear. Trouble at t'mill. 

I'm especially interested by Rob's objection to the ''class of super-managers who have become v powerful''. 

I'm especially interested by Rob's objection to the ''class of super-managers who have become v powerful''. 

And Rob's on a roll. Someone on Twitter has now asked, ''Who chose to weight the cuts in the news department rather than any other department?'', to which Rob replied:
Excellent question. It’s not to say cuts have not fallen elsewhere but you’d think the BBC’s core function would be News and that it would be prioritised. The opposite is true. Shameful really.

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