BBC News facing 'dramatic changes'

BBC News could be entering ‘unchartered territory’with ‘dramatic changes’for its news operations at home and abroad if savings across the corporation are to be implemented, according to sources within the BBC.

The BBC’s licence bid already includes a pledge to make efficiencies of between two and three per cent, but savings of up to five per cent over five years are feared.

The BBC has refused to comment on these claims, but said that following ‘a tough licence fee settlement’the corporation faced ‘difficult choices to ensure the BBC meets the challenges of a revolution in the way services are delivered to audiences”.

One senior source told Press Gazette that staff were in the dark on changes and that a number of options were being floated including merging the news teams of News 24 and the main BBC news bulletins – which currently operate on two separate floors and studios. On newsgathering, the foreign bureaux could face cutbacks.

‘It could conceivably mean hundreds of job losses – its uncharted territory, but could potentially change things quite dramatically,’said the source.

But they added there was a hope that: ‘If [BBC News chiefs] present the worst case scenario to the BBC Trust, they will recoil in horror because news is core to the BBC brand.’

Another source said that the warning of hundreds of job losses should be taken ‘with a pinch of salt”.

The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, will meet the BBC Trust later this month, where he will recommend the level of annual budget cuts a year up to 2013.

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