BBC journalists have adopted a wait- and-see approach to director general Greg Dyke’s plans for an overhaul of its political coverage.
Newsnight editor Sian Kevill has begun a three-month look at how the BBC covers politics, which will include talks with politicians, academics and magazine editors familiar with youth culture. Two days of talks and seminars have been planned for the end of October.
A spokesman for the corporation said that the planned shake-up was a response to the "changing political landscape" in the UK, and would look at how the BBC should respond to issues such as the euro, anti-globalisation protests, devolution and general disenchantment with politics and politicians. Kevill, working under Dyke and controller of corporate strategy Carolyn Fairbairn will be looking at programme formats for BBC television, including the 24-hour news channel and new digital channels, as well as radio news. But the BBC was keen to play down the review and was anxious to stress that it did not imply criticism of journalists.
"People like Andrew Marr have been doing a great job," a spokesman said.
Senior staff have said that, as the review is not under the control of the news department, they were waiting to see what conclusions were reached, but largely welcomed the decision.
"Any review can’t be a bad thing, but there’s not much we can say until it gets going," said one editor.
Kevill has taken a three-month secondment to carry out the review and her deputy, George Entwistle, will be acting editor during her absence.
Kevill’s future at the programme has been a matter of speculation this year and she was widely expected to move on after the General Election.
By Julie Tomlin