Monday, January 7, 2013

BBC HQ Revamp Blew £6 Million in 6 Months

BBC-b

Over a hundred million pounds over budget, four years late and the subject of a National Audit Office investigation, the BBC’s revamp of Broadcasting House was a disaster from start to finish. The ten year renovation project, which was supposed to be completed in 2008, was still haemorrhaging money right up until the day it was completed last year.

patten2Media Guido can reveal that as the project drew to a close in the first six months of last year, the BBC blew close to a further £6 million of licence-fee payers’ money on the ill-fated rebuild. The £5.765 million finishing touches figure includes £3.2 million forked out for furniture and some £26,000 on “graphics”, presumably those aesthetically-pleasing billboards Lord Patten proudly did his TV pieces in front of at the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal. The Beeb are refusing to reveal how much they spent on individual decorative items, citing the feeble excuse that disclosure would weaken their “commercial bargaining position”. Nothing to see here.

Almost £6 million of licence-fee payers’ cash spent on the finishing touches of a doomed revamp that spent over a hundred million more than budgeted. 2012: a year to be proud of for the BBC…

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Watch Patten Crack Up Over Mark Thompson

Chris Patten’s extraordinary response to Miles Goslett’s question over Mark Thompson’s integrity shows a man on the verge of cracking under the pressure. Why did Thompson say he had never heard any allegations against Jimmy Savile if he signed off the crucial Sunday Times letter threatening legal action for the suggestion he did? And why wouldn’t Patten be drawn on the subject? The Pollard Report found that “it is clear that Mr Thompson did approve the sending of the letter”, putting the New York Times CEO, and his massive BBC pension, in an awkward position to say the least. The contempt Patten clearly holds for the hack who blew the whole story open is very telling…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Full Tim Davie Email to BBC Staff

bbcThis email is going to everyone at the BBC

 

Dear All,

We have received and considered Nick Pollard’s report on the management of the original Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile and the subsequent Editor’s blog. I want to share with you the key findings and what we are going to do about the recommendations, which we accept in full.

I think it’s worth remembering why we originally commissioned such a thorough and independent report. Accusations of a ‘cover up’ were being made against the BBC and that management placed unjustified pressure on the team not to run the story. The independence and integrity of our journalism is crucial to the public’s trust in us.

I am pleased to say that the review found no evidence of any improper pressure to prevent the broadcast of the Newsnight investigation or to protect the Jimmy Savile tribute programmes.

That said, the report exposed clear failings in some of our systems, the way we work together and make decisions. It also picks up on specific issues such as the role of Editors’ blogs and the comprehensive use of the Managed Risk Programme List as a way to highlight potential issues relating to programmes. You can see a copy of the full Pollard Review report here.

What matters now is what we do about these findings. Again, you can see the full Executive Board and Trust response here. The actions we are taking relating to organisation and culture include:

· Newsnight is one of our flagship journalism programmes and we need to revitalise it. We have decided that the best way forward is for there to be a new senior editorial team on the programme. Peter Rippon, who has been Editor for the last four years, has agreed that this is in the best interests of himself and the programme. We are now talking to him about another role in the BBC, commensurate with his skills and experience. The post of Editor Newsnight will be advertised in the New Year and Karen O’Connor will continue as Acting Editor in the meantime.

· Helen Boaden will be returning to her post as Director of News tomorrow. This morning, the Deputy Director of BBC News, Stephen Mitchell, tendered his resignation which I have accepted with great sadness. He has been an outstanding and loyal servant of BBC News over the past 38 years and is widely and rightly admired for his editorial judgement and personal integrity. He will retire from the BBC at a date to be agreed next year, in the course of which he will hand over his responsibilities as head of news programmes.

· Improving the way we share information about the highest risk programmes and investigations across the BBC by making the Managed Risk Programme List work better. We’ll also see how we can improve communication at the senior level across Divisions in a way that also safeguards editorial independence. We do not propose to tackle these issues by adding increased processes or compliance.

· Reviewing how we publish Editors’ blogs.

· In the longer term, both myself and Tony Hall will look at what needs to change within the management and culture at BBC News while making sure we continue to produce outstanding journalism day-in-day-out. We will also look at how we make sure silos don’t get in the way of effective team-working and sharing information across the BBC.

· Finally, we will consider roles and responsibilities at the top of the BBC to ensure effective oversight of editorial standards.

The Trust are also publishing the editorial standards findings into what happened with the Newsnight McAlpine investigation on 2 November, which includes the full MacQuarrie report here. What happened was unacceptable and no one can be under any illusion about the seriousness of the mistakes made and there are some organisational changes as a result. We have sought to be fair to the individuals involved, recognising their previously long and unblemished record of service with the BBC and the exceptional circumstances in which they had been placed.

Specifically, Adrian Van Klaveren, Controller Radio 5 live, will start a new senior role and we’ll confirm details early in the New Year. He will hand over his responsibility for Radio 5 live to Jonathan Wall who will be Acting Controller while the process for a full time replacement is completed. As already mentioned, there will be a new Newsnight senior editorial team and Liz Gibbons, Deputy Editor of Newsnight, will move to another role in BBC News. Peter Johnston continues in his role as Director Northern Ireland.

These reviews have been a tough process for the BBC and particularly for the individuals involved, all of whom have had long and respected careers at the BBC. We have already faced significant consequences including the resignation of a DG. Looking forward, the changes we need to make to ensure these failings do not happen again are not about new rules and regulations. They are about making existing processes work and improving the way we communicate and make decisions. I hope that with a new year, we can draw a line under it, learn from our mistakes and refocus on our audiences.

Best regards,

Tim Davie
Acting Director-General

Full Pollard Review into BBC Savile Cover-up
+’Chaos’ at BBC Management+
+Newsnight Bosses Given the Bullet+

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twitter Media Bitch Fight: Brillo v Paul Mason

Newsnight must not exactly be the most relaxed place to work at the moment, and the cracks showed as the Beeb’s favourite communist hero-worshipper Paul Mason lost it with Andrew Neil:

mason2

Mason went on to delete his tweet and say sorry:

Tetchy…

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newsnight Parent Governor Actually Labour Activist

lucy

Last night’s Newsnight panel on free schools was made up of two headteachers, a former teacher and the suspiciously anti-Tory Lucy Reese, billed as “a parent governor from Camden where primary schools have the best Ofsted outcomes in the country”. What they didn’t tell you is that Reese is actually a Labour activist, touted earlier this year as a potential council candidate for upmarket Primrose Hill. A writer for Left Futures, when Reese isn’t helping out at her local primary school she knocks on doors telling people to vote for Ed. Must have slipped their mind…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WATCH: “Do You Know Your Horse is Gay?”

Fresh from the success of getting Kier Starmer of the CPS on board, the Reform Section 5 campaign to remove “insulting words or behaviour” from the Public Order Act made today’s Daily Politics, as policeman-impersonator Peter Tatchell pounded the streets with a gay pantomime horse. Quite a meeting of minds…

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top Story on BBC News Today: Monkey Shopping In Ikea

WATCH: Question Time Explained

Friday, November 30, 2012

WATCH: “What Are You Going to Do About Guido Fawkes?”


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Rise of Angela Merkel | New Yorker
May SpAd Removed From Candidates List | ConHome


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The Economist asks Tony Blair about Wendi Deng:

“Mr Blair roundly denies any impropriety. Asked whether he was (at least) careless about his reputation, he says calmly that it is “not something I will ever talk about—I haven’t and I won’t”, and then bangs his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps. But did he find himself in a tangle over his friendship with Ms Deng? A large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt. Even Mr Blair’s close friends acknowledge that the saga damaged him—not least financially, since Mr Murdoch stopped contributing to Mr Blair’s faith foundation and cut him off from other friendly donors in America.”


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