Ex-head of Sky News Nick Pollard: Newspapers get more stories because broadcasting is 'complicated'

Former head of Sky News Nick Pollard believes newspapers get more stories than broadcasters because TV “production effort is so much more complicated than print”.

Pollard also said in an interview with The Guardian that newspapers have a “much better network of stringers and sources”.

“Newspapers get more stories than the broadcasters, by and large, and the broadcasters follow them up,” he said.

“The broadcast production effort is so much more complicated than print. The print people have more time to get stories.”

The author of the Pollard Review into into the BBC's decision to suppress the Jimmy Savile child abuse story, also used the interview to criticise the corporation for its news coverage compared with Sky and ITV, describing it as “less inventive”.

He said: “Sky News is always more inventive and energetic than the BBC News Channel. ITV News at Ten is more exciting and interesting than the BBC at 10pm. But no one can argue with the ratings…

“Maybe it is hard for non-BBC journalists to accept that the news-viewing public are more conservative than we hoped, or have imagined. Who knows?”

The BBC produces “good journalism”, he said, but added: “It doesn’t surprise you very often.” Pollard said ITV is better because of its “energy, innovation, flair”.

Pollard, who has faced criticism for admitting to leaving out evidence relating to former director-general Mark Thompson in his report, suggested the large size of the BBC creates problems.

He said: “Longer chains of command are fundamentally antipathetic to smart decisions. It’s just a less flexible and entrepreneurial beast. I don’t think you see ideas fizzing out of every pore.”

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