Journalists lose fight to keep ITV Central in Nottingham

Journalists have attacked ITV Central’s plans to build news studios in premises just outside of Nottingham, as “moving from a mansion to a shoebox”.

Their attack marks the end of a campaign to keep operations open in the existing premises.

The journalists, who had gathered support from local viewers and MPs, opposed the move of news operations for the East Midlands to Birmingham in the West Midlands, because it would “compromise journalistic standards, as we see it, and also diminish the credibility of the programmes.”

A new purpose-built news production studio for 45 staff will now be constructed at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell, just outside the city, but the presentation of Central News East will move to Birmingham as announced in February.

ITV has signed a lease with Loughborough-based William Davis Properties, who are developing the site. News production will now commence from February next year.

It emerged this week that ITV management recently rejected an alternative proposal by the journalists.

They had teamed up with property developer Miller Birch to secure a site close to Nottingham city centre.

Their proposals would have allowed ITV to have enjoyed a rent holiday for a year.

It is understood that the journalists wrote to ITV chief executive Charles Allen, voicing their concern over moving Central East’s news presentation out of Nottingham.

“How can you have a programme that’s supposed to be part of the fabric of a region when it’s being presented from the next door region? It’s never made any sense to us and viewers and it still doesn’t,” said one journalist affected by the move.

ITV Central told The Nottingham Evening Post: “It is intended that the 4,000 sq ft building will be home to around 45 Central News staff, including the editor, news editor, sub-editors, reporters, video journalists, camera crews, video editors, technical operators, production and IT support staff. The centre will also have a live newsroom camera facility and a dedicated satellite news gathering unit.”

“ITV will have us believe it’s all singing, all dancing and everything you could possibly want in the 21st century,” NUJ broadcast organiser Paul McLaughlin told Press Gazette.

“And we’re saying that they’ve basically moved out of the mansion and taken up a shoebox, and want us all to be happy. It’s a slap in the face to the 20,000 people who signed the petition and, it really is a shame they just put up two fingers to the people in Nottingham, and not take on board what people are saying.”

‘Shoebox’ move inflames ITV Central staff

It is understood that the journalists wrote to ITV chief executive Charles Allen, voicing their concern over moving Central East’s news presentation out of Nottingham.

“How can you have a programme that’s supposed to be part of the fabric of a region when it’s being presented from the next door region? It’s never made any sense to us and viewers and it still doesn’t,” said one journalist affected by the move.

ITV Central told The Nottingham Evening Post: “It is intended that the 4,000 sq ft building will be home to around 45 Central News staff, including the editor, news editor, sub-editors, reporters, video journalists, camera crews, video editors, technical operators, production and IT support staff. The centre will also have a live newsroom camera facility and a dedicated satellite news gathering unit.”

“ITV will have us believe it’s all singing, all dancing and everything you could possibly want in the 21st century,” NUJ broadcast organiser Paul McLaughlin told Press Gazette.

“And we’re saying that they’ve basically moved out of the mansion and taken up a shoebox, and want us all to be happy. It’s a slap in the face to the 20,000 people who signed the petition and, it really is a shame they just put up two fingers to the people in Nottingham, and not take on board what people are saying.”

 

Wale Azeez

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