Staff fear closure Staff fear closure Midlands studio

Central region: under review

Concerns of staff over the future of Carlton Television’s East Midlands newsroom in Nottingham have been heightened after ITV confirmed it is reviewing the Central region operation.

They fear the 20-year-old news service will be shut down and moved to Birmingham.

Following the restructure and loss of 175 jobs at Meridian Television, the speculation about closure of the Carlton’s East Midlands studio “has been like a bombshell”, according to a source at the regional newsroom.

“Although they might keep some reporters in the East Midlands, we would lose our local identity and not provide the full local service we do now,” the source said.

The feeling among staff this week was that the regional differences between the East and West Midlands meant each needed to retain its own news service.

“Most people in the East Midlands don’t want anything to do with Birmingham,” said the source. “Of all the regions, the Midlands is perhaps the most disparate in some senses because there is no overarching sense of identity.

“The worst-case scenario would be if they moved our news presentation studio to Birmingham, because in a sense it would be like going back to the Seventies under ATV.

“The East Midlands has come of age in the past few years and has all kinds of regional powers. The Government recognises it in all sorts of ways as a separate region. If it wants to pursue regional government, then why is it allowing us to pull out at this time?” ITV management insisted to Carlton staff last Friday that no decision had been made and the East Midlands operations were merely under review.

The NUJ plans to lobby MPs in the area and will approach Ofcom in a bid to clarify ITV’s licence obligations to the region.

By Wale Azeez

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