Grade drops the big one

Michael Grade appears to have dropped the big one today with the news that journalists on ITV News in the regions must have been dreading ever since digital switch-over has been on the horizon.
He is proposing to cut the number of news regions from 17 to 9 and halve the news budget.
With digital switch over, due to start next year, the commercial advantage from having an analogue TV broadcasting licence is fast disappearing. And with ever faster broadband speeds, even a digital TV licence could become increasingly cheapened.
All this makes it more difficult for Ofcom to demand public service benefits – such as news coverage – from commercial broadcasters.
And it appears that, given the choice, ITV would rather invest in entertainment programming rather than news.
It seems unthinkable that with public involvement in democratic debate already at an all-time low – the Government would allow such a dramatic reduction in journalistic resources throughout the UK.
The question now is what can be done to save non-BBC regional television news?



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