Scottish late evening

A
Scottish version of ITN’s flagship late evening news bulletin is being
proposed by Scotland’s commercial television partnership – Scottish TV
and Grampian TV. The proposal, co-ordinated by Scottish Media Group,
which owns both stations, is part of a package of regional programming
ideas presented to industry regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom will this
month publish its own vision for Scottish public service broadcasting
in the run-up to digital switchover, expected in 2010.

The SMG
package to Ofcom also includes proposals for Scottish and Grampian to
introduce split-transmission local news programmes, and support for the
creation of a new dedicated digital TV channel for Gaelic.

The
split-transmissions format would boost local news output, enabling
Scottish to broadcast east and west Scotland editions, with Grampian
opting for a north-south output.

The proposed separate Scottish
news at 10.30pm would be produced by ITN from London but with a
dedicated editor, editorial and production team, and fronted by
Scottish presenters, such as Shereen Naryiani. The programme would have
the same look and feel as the existing UK bulletin but with editorial
tailored to a Scottish perspective.

However, stories that didn’t
need a Scottish dimension would continue to use ITN correspondents. And
viewers with access to digital services would be able to choose between
the mainstream ITN news or the Scottish version.

Scottish and
Grampian have a statutory requirement to transmit a
national/international nightly news programme, and are obliged to
contract it to the current nominated news provider – ITN.

Bobby
Hain, md of Scottish TV, said: “We will be sourcing the Scottish
content from here, but the selection and editing will be carried out in
London. It will mean finding an editor with their finger on the pulse
of Scotland. We would want to have a key role in the appointments.”

SMG’s proposals has drawn a cautious welcome from the NUJ.

Paul
Holleran, Scottish organiser, said the union had been told that the
overall effect on jobs would be no redundancies, but the NUJ would want
to ensure that the changes were not going to result in existing staff
being paid off and replaced at lower rates of pay.

“If it all goes ahead, we will welcome it, but there are too many ifs for us to be comfortable just yet,” said Holleran.

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