Friday, 21 November 2008

NUJ says Trust blocking of BBC local website expansion is a 'missed opportunity'

As regional newspaper publishers celebrated victory in defeating the BBC's plans for a £68 million expansion of its local website services, the NUJ claimed it was a "missed opportunity" for local news and a blow for new jobs for journalists.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This decision is a missed opportunity to improve local news for communities around the country. Local papers are closing and job cuts mean thousands of journalists don’t have the time to do their jobs properly anymore. ITV is withdrawing from its regional and local news commitments. Against a significant decline in local journalism, here was an opportunity to take a small step in the opposite direction by actually enhancing local news provision.
"The BBC made commitments to invest in local and regional news services. We expect the corporation to stick to its promises and ensure that other news services now benefit from this investment. Newspaper employers have spent years taking huge profits out of local media whilst cutting jobs. Now they have helped stop new jobs being created because they said such competition would stifle their investment.
“Now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is and invest more in local journalism - in jobs, in training and in resources for hard-pressed newsrooms.”

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