Teachers' TV seeks editorial news team

Dacre: channel is ‘a first’

The government-funded Teachers’ TV channel is searching for an editorial team to produce a weekly news bulletin, after a consortium led by documentary production company Brook Lapping won the contract to run the channel.

The channel will also sign a news supply contract with “one of the existing television news organisations”, according to Nigel Dacre, chief executive of the consortium Education Digital, which won the contract to run Teachers’ TV from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) after a successful sixweek pilot run of programmes.

Education Digital comprises Ten Alps company Brook Lapping, ITV and the Institute of Education.

The contract is worth £15m a year over five years – 2004 to 2008 – but is likely to launch early next year. It will be broadcast on Sky and Freeview.

The documentary production company owns 70 per cent of the consortium and the budget for the channel is £20m a year.

According to Dacre, a former editor-in-chief of ITN, the news service will require an editor and four or five reporters.

“The highest priority is experience in television news and the reporters and producers will have to have education experience,” he told Press Gazette.

“And we’ll be seeking a supply contract, working with one of the existing TV news organisations.

Under the Communications Act, it’s got to be editorially independent, and the news programme is a good example of that,” Dacre said.

The DfES will appoint a Teachers’ TV board of senior educational and media figures to review the channel’s progress to ensure its independence. The ministry has begun searching for a chair and deputy chair of the board, which Dacre said the DfES wanted to be “high profile”.

Dacre said he was pleased to be working on “a first” and that his appointment was a logical extension from his days at ITN, having been in charge of the launch of its 24-hour rolling news channel – now the ITV News Channel.

“A lot of things I’m doing now as chief executive, from marketing through to setting up the channel management structure, draws on my experience at ITN.

“It’s fascinating to be involved in a new project. This is the first time the Government has funded a channel. It’ll be an interesting project to work on,” Dacre said.

By Wale Azeez

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