BBC Look East relaunches from new home

BBC East completed its move to new premises in Norwich and change to new editing technology at the weekend, culminating in Monday’s relaunch of daily news programme Look East.

Friday’s final broadcast of Look East from St Catherine’s Close – home of BBC Television in the city for over 40 years – and subsequent relocation to The Forum building in the centre of Norwich, marks the end of BBC East’s two-stage move, which began in June. It puts television, radio and online news together under one roof for the first time.

Look East editor David Betts said the revamped bulletin would have more shorter pieces, enabling better regional coverage. “The modern technology means news bulletins can contain more local news from around the region,” Betts added.

The new set on Look East also sees presenters Stewart White and Susie Fowler-Watt relinquish their desks for a less formal set-up, standing for the daytime and late-night bulletins, while the 6.30pm programme will be presented from behind a coffee table. The change is part of a bid to project a more “people-friendly approach” to local news, according to Betts.

“We’re retiring the newsdesk, which was a barrier between the presenters and the viewers. It’s all part of making us more accessible. It’s great not to be tucked away in the corner [of Norwich] – people can just walk in off the street to tell us news. We’re also going to try to do more people stories – individuals rather than institutions,” he said.

The Forum, with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking an atrium, is one of a number of new premises taken up by the regional BBC – BBC Birmingham’s Mailbox is another – which are also public buildings, aiming to literally get closer to the public.

“Passers-by can see the BBC at work and it will be easier for people to drop in and see us,” added Tim Bishop, head of BBC East. “And as The Forum increasingly becomes a venue for public events, we can be even more involved in the local community.”

BBC East is the first regional location to be equipped with new custom-built digital desktop editing and transmission technology that will eventually be rolled out to Birmingham, Hull, Leeds and Manchester.

By Wale Azeez

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