BBC pledges clearer purpose for News 24

The BBC will publish a new statement of policy for BBC News 24 in April in a bid to clarify the rolling news channel’s remit.

The move is in response to criticism in the Lambert Report that the channel needs to be clearer about how it distinguishes itself from the competition (Press Gazette, 13 December 2002).

Publishing its response to the report last week, the BBC said it had addressed the criticism by including details in the forthcoming report.

It also pledged to give a more comprehensive account of News 24’s delivery in future annual reports.

In response to demands for transparency regarding the relationship between News 24 and its commercial arm BBC World – a point also raised by commercial rivals ITV and Sky – the BBC said “the Governors will explicitly consider the BBC News/BBC World relationship on fair trading grounds every year, verified by fair trading auditors”.

The corporation also announced a number of changes to the look and feel of News 24, including a £100,000 commissioning budget for live coverage from Europe, a reduction in pre-recorded programmes and an “increased profile” for breaking news.

It will also address the issue of inadequate regional coverage brought up in the Lambert Report, promising increased coverage – including special broadcasts from Scotland and Wales ahead of their elections.

The channel will also revamp its Business Today programme, rescheduling it from 8.30pm to a late-evening slot, possibly 10.30pm – a time when business viewers are more likely to tune in and the programme will be able to take advantage of New York markets being open. In addition, the weekly debate programme Head to Head is set to run all year round.

By WaléAzeez

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