Journalist jobs “safe” on daytime news

ITV has insisted that the number of journalists working on the lunchtime news programme will remain the same, despite the news that it is to halve the length of its daytime news.

From 4 September, the programme will run for 30 minutes instead of one hour and will be broadcast at 1.30pm instead of 12.30pm.

ITV's head of daytime, Liam Keelan, told Press Gazette: "I think the number of journalists will stay the same, I don't think they have any plans to pare it back. A lot of the show as an hour was not news, it was phone-ins and debates, so they were padding it out anyway."

The decision to slash the show, presented by Nicholas Owen and Katie Derham, is seen as an attempt to restore the channel's ailing daytime figures.

Keelan said: "The news always used to run every half hour until around twoand- a-half years ago and then they expanded it to an hour and it hasn't worked. In the afternoon I think it has lost two percentage points year on year and it has lost more share than any other slot before 3 o'clock on the ITV schedule, so it is obviously not working.

"So we decided to go back to the old, tighter half-hour format."

Speaking at a session in Edinburgh entitled: "Daytime: The New Peak Time?", the BBC's head of daytime, Jay Hunt, said the daytime schedule had become a more obvious battleground for broadcasters, who have realised the importance of the morning and afternoon schedule in building overall share.

She added that the current affairs content broadcast during the day enabled the corporation to see how far it could push its boundaries, citing daytime programme Prisons as an example.

Hunt said: "I still think that we can push the boundaries and do ever more exciting things, and the territories can be hard hitting."

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