BBC news-speak on job cuts


It is, I suppose, the way of the modern world that, when  possible, bad news is disguised with relentlessly positive spin. And ‘spin’ is what this is. The name “Delivering Quality First” is the give-away. Do BBC consumers expect the corporation to deliver delivering quality second?

“Delivering Quality First” really means another round of cuts to posts in BBC news and current affairs – 140 –  to add to the hundreds that have been lost.  For example. many jobs have gone in its treasured network of foreign bureaux:  most of which no longer exists.

Regular salami-slicing of the BBC’s resources is not an ideal way to run the corporation. Much better to make some brave decisions about, for example, BBC Asian Network or Radio or Radio 3. News and current affairs is a piece of output that distinguishes the BBC from its rivals but the damage may have been done.

The BBC’s news boss, Helen Boaden, is, I’m told, extremely competent and much liked. I am sure that she understands that, in a world weary of spin and gloss, the phrase “Delivering Quality First” strongly suggests the opposite. The BBC should know better than to pull a fast one like this on its licence-fee payers. Can’t we have a bit of straight-talking from our state communicator?

Much the same can be said for the notion that the BBC is”independent” –  an idea that is blatantly not true but nevertheless is put about by Caroline Thompson, Helen Boaden’s rival for the job of BBC Director General. To be fair on Ms Thompson, she’s not the only one to’ve peddled this nonsense over the years.

Independence, my aunt sally!

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