Council backs bid to keep Central News in 'capital'

Horne: seeking alternative site

Nottingham City Council has joined the battle by ITV Central journalists to keep the East Midlands news operation within the region, by offering to help the broadcaster find alternative premises to the Lenton Lane studios, which will close.

The fear of a “weakening” of the city’s status within the region should it lose its own independent television news service and the accompanying 200 jobs, has galvanised the council into trying to find a means of keeping Central News in the East Midlands.

Nottingham sees itself as the “capital” of the East Midlands, and a move of the area’s news service to Birmingham would undermine this position.

The suggestion to help ITV find an alternative site within the city was made by the council’s corporate director for city development, Barry Horne, at an executive board meeting on Tuesday. He recommended “working closely with ITV to identify an appropriate location for the regional news collation operation.

“There will be fewer opportunities for Nottingham/East Midlands-based news to get the coverage it deserves,” he said in his report to the board.

The council proposals were made on the same day the official consultation period for journalists affected by the redundancies began.

The move follows NUJ meetings with local MPs and Ofcom last week.

The NUJ has raised what it sees as ITV’s “breach of licence commitments” by moving news production for Meridian Television out of Kent.

It also spoke of a “mismatch” between promises made by ITV to the regulator and to the union. “The promises that seem to have been given to the regulator are not the ones that were given to us,” said NUJ broadcast orgainser Paul McLaughlin.

By Wale Azeez

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