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Journalism News

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    The author of a 2011 BBC Trust report on impartiality and science coverage has accused BBC News of ‘sticking two fingers up at BBC management’ and failing to act on his findings.

    Professor Steve Jones’ 2011 review of BBC science coverage impartiality and accuracy found that the corporation gave undue weight to minority opinions on subjects like climate change.

    Speaking at a debate organised by City University journalism department in London last night he said the corporation was still making the same mistakes.

    He particularly singled out the appearance of Lord Lawson (pictured above) last month on the Today programme opposite scientist Sir Brian Hoskins to talk about climate change.

    Jones said that BBC science coverage is on the whole "excellent", and he applauded the fact that since his report the corporation has appointed a dedicated science editor – David Shukman.

    But setting out the problem with science coverage on programmes like Today, he said: “A top scientist will discover that two and two equals four.

    “A tongue-tied mathematician will come on and give a clumsy account of how two and two is four for one and  a half minutes, then someone from the ether, a spokesperson for the duo decimal liberation front, will make a very clear case for two and two equals five. At the end of it Jim Naughtie will say two and two is probably closer to four than five but the debate goes on - and that drives you mad…That happens most of all with climate change.

    “It seems to me that the BBC has not learned the lessons. After the International Panel on Climate Change report on the recent rain storms the Today programme had a debate between Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for the Study of Climate Change, and Lord Lawson of Blaby...who is a denier of climate change.

    “The Panorama programme that day had Kevin Anderson, professor of energy policy at the university of Manchester, and Andrew Montfort who blogs about climate change and is an accountant…

    “They wouldn't do that to politicians, they would be more serious about it. It seems to me that BBC News is sticking two fingers at BBC management and the BBC Trust and saying we are going to do this anyway and I think it's a real problem.”

    Professor Steve Jones pictured below (source: BBC)

    Professor Steve Jones (BBC)

    Responding, BBC head of news programmes Ceri Thomas said: “An awful lot of things have improved. The understanding of science in the media has improved. We wouldn't be having this discussion 15 years ago.

    “We still need to improve our scientific literacy. We should employ more science graduates…

    “Science says whatever we are talking about is too important not to involve non scientists…Science should be prepared to take its chances out there in the rough and tumble of the media. Most of the time that would be on terms that people like Steve would find agreeable.

    “Sometimes those debates should push boundaries and sometimes scientists should engage with people who are not scientists and actually who are opposed to the science as well.

    “When that happens we need to be clear and we need be accurate about describing what we are dealing with and what they represent."

    Director of policy at the LSE Grantham Institute, Bob Ward, said: “The BBC has a problem. It is an organisation dominated by people who don't have a science background and think that everything is a matter of opinion. The laws of physics are not a matter of opinion…

    “The case of Nigel Lawson being on against Brian Hoskins was a prime example. He spent most of the interview disagreeing about the science, he was offering a counter opinion about the science of climate change. The interviewer did nothing to intervene to try to establish who was telling the truth.

    “With the newspapers, many of them treat climate change as a political issue and feel they can sacrifice accuracy altogether. That is why half are pursuing to some extent a climate sceptic line.

    "The mere idea of always having to balance in itself misleads the public. If you look at papers published on climate change you will find that less than one per cent disagree with the idea that humans are the main driver of climate change.

    “You find the prominence of sceptic voices in the media far outweighs this. So you find that in opinion surveys more than 40 per cent of the British public think that scientists are divided on climate change.”

    Are there really two sides to every science story debate panel (left to right): Mike Hanlon, Ceri Thomas, Fiona Fox (chair, from the Science Media Centre), Steve Jones, Bob Ward:

    Former Daily Mail science editor Mike Hanlon agreed that man-made climate change is a fact but added: “Our political response to climate change is open to debate. There are many possible responses to climate change.  

    “A lot of people do not understand atmospheric physics, a lot of of people have been told that the response to climate change is an increase in taxation and people are very sceptical about that.

    “When the Mail runs a piece that is sceptical about climate change it will be put on a page shrieking out that it is opinion.”

    Describing the likes of Lord Lawson as being part of a “despicable gang”, professor Jones said “they present themselves as talking about policy, but whenever they give interviews they talk about facts and they get the facts wrong.

    “In the infamous case of the Today programme he said there has been globally no increase in extreme weather events, that's entirely wrong. The media falls for it every time.”

    Thomas said: “The intention was that Lord Lawson would be talking about policy and Hoskins about the science. It is one of those things that goes wrong in a live debate sometimes. It goes off the rails.”

    To which Bob Ward replied: “I don't know why you were surprised, it happens every time he goes on the BBC.”

    Thomas agreed with Ward's suggestion that, as with big political interviews, specialist science correspondents should provide analysis and context after science interviews.

    Ward also insisted that labeling something ‘comment’ does not allow editors to publish untruths.

    He said: “It is no coincidence that the Daily Express and the Mail on Sunday, which are the worst newspapers in Britain when it comes to covering climate change, don't have science correspondents. Science is essentially a big black area for them, they don't really care. They are guilty of some of the most ridiculous coverage because of it.

    “Opinion is still covered by the PCC Editors' Code of Practice, you can't get away with saying 'the Earth is flat - I have lots of opinions none of which are based on evidence'. Newspapers are betraying the public interest by using that feeble defence.”

    Dr Evan Harris, speaking from the audience, defended the role of good journalism noting that it took a non-science specialist journalist (Brian Deer) working for a “Murdoch newspaper” (The Sunday Times) to expose MMR “fraudster” Andrew Wakfield.

    And professor Jones noted that the BBC had acted on his report by airing programmes about the biggest area of science in the UK, cellular and molecular biology, for the first time since it had been published.

    He said the most important thing science journalists could do was to learn about the way scientists communicate with each other.

    He said: “I remember a meeting on the Today programme with the science team when David Shukman said 'what you don't understand is that every time a scientist makes a discovery he or she puts out a press release'. That's not true.

    “I've written 500 science columns for the Daily Telegraph, I never use a press release. I go to the Web of Science which has all the scientific journals.”

    He said that when he compiled his 2011 report he could only find one science journalist at the BBC who had even heard of the Web of Science.

    He said: “That’s like being a political journalist who has never heard of Hansard.”


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    Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage will go head to head tonight in a televised showdown tonight over Britain's future in the European Union.
     
    The Deputy Prime Minister and Ukip leader will fight to win over the public in the first of two debates between "the party of in and the party of out" being staged in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May.
     
    Farage's performance in the clash, which will be broadcast from 7pm on LBC and Sky News, will be intensely scrutinised in Westminster where Ukip's growing popularity is causing jitters among the main parties.
     
    In an article on The Independent's website Farage suggested his opponent did not realise "what is about to hit him" and claimed he was initially surprised Clegg wanted the debate.
     
    "But then his party is facing the prospect of electoral wipe-out at these elections unless they do something drastic," he wrote.
     
    "For them, it's about survival. There is no reason why any establishment party would otherwise want to highlight the huge number of competences which Brussels now has over our lives - especially on a live broadcast and televised debate."
     
    He added: "My position is clear, and we have the clear, pragmatic business argument on our side. A few multinationals love the EU because it drives out competition with the costs of compliance and regulation. But the backbone of this country - small and medium-sized businesses - are the ones who are looking towards Ukip's policy."
     
    Prime Minister David Cameron showed little interest in his deputy's clash with the Ukip leader. Asked if he would be tuning in to the debate, Cameron joked: "When is it?"
     
    He added: "I don't know what I'm doing but I'm sure it will be very interesting."
     
    Asked if he has any tips for Clegg, he said: "No, I'm sure it'll be interesting."
     
    Questioned on whether he would "agree with Nick" he said: "That depends what he says."
     
    Cameron said last week the DPM wants to "sign up to everything that comes out of Brussels without asking questions".
     
    Echoing the 2010 general election leaders' debates, the arrangements agreed for the head-to-head have been tightly controlled.
     
    The audience has been selected to reflect the UK population as well as a spread of views on the EU debate.
     
    Questions will be screened by an editorial panel but the parties will not see them in advance.
     
    The party leaders will both make opening and closing statements and will have one minute to answer questions from the audience before presenter Nick Ferrari opens up the subjects to free debate.
     
    Farage is a Ukip MEP for the South East of England and was re-elected party leader in November 2010 after a brief spell away from the helm.
     
    Clegg, a former East Midlands MEP who speaks French, German, Spanish and Dutch, has said he wants to dispel the "myths" being peddled by "isolationists" and levelled a personal attack at the 
     
    Ukip leader, accusing him of pocketing his MEP's salary but not bothering to vote.
     
    The second debate will be broadcast on BBC2 on April 2 and will also be broadcast by Sky News.
     
    Cameron's official spokesman declined to say whether the Prime Minister was planning to listen to the debate.
     
    The spokesman told a Westminster media briefing: "I don't know what his schedule holds for that particular time-slot. Other broadcast channels are available too."

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    The BBC has appointed Radio 5Live's Louisa Compton as the new editor of Radio 1 Newsbeat following the departure of its long-standing editor Rod McKenzie.
     
    Compton is currently daytime editor at 5Live and will become responsible for all of Radio 1's news output as well as that of sister digital station 1Xtra.
     
    She has been at 5Live since 2005, edited the Victoria Derbyshire programe for five years, and previously worked at Three Counties Radio in Luton.
     
    Compton takes the Newsbeat role after Rod McKenzie was moved to become local radio development editor in the wake of an investigation into allegations of bullying.
     
    A source close to McKenzie told The Independent in January: “[McKenzie] strongly rejects these claims and maintains that his behaviour is entirely in keeping with a pressurised news environment.”
     
    The BBC said at the time: “We do not discuss internal staff or disciplinary issues.”
     
    On her new appointment, Compton said: "I hope to build further on its reputation for strong original journalism tailored for a youth audience. I’m also looking forward to exploring new ways of innovating and making an impact.”
     
    BBC head of news programmes Ceri Thomas said: "The next few years will be some of the most exciting Newsbeat and 1Xtra News have ever seen as they really make their mark in the mobile and social worlds alongside their radio output.
     
    "Louisa is one of the outstanding journalists of her generation in the BBC: a great story-getter and programme-maker, and a genuine innovator. Newsbeat and 1Xtra News are in the best hands we could hope to find.”

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    The BBC has said it will "prove a better steward" of the World Service than the Government as it takes over responsibility for its funding.
     
    The move, which sees the end of Foreign Office financial support for the service which broadcasts around the world in more than 20 languages, was agreed as part of the last licence fee settlement.
     
    A BBC spokeswoman said: "We believe the BBC will prove a better steward of the World Service than the British Government, offering stable and predictable funding rather than the politically driven cuts of the last few years. The World Service's future is safe in our hands."
     
    The statement comes as an influential committee of MPs said the Foreign Secretary should "hold the BBC's feet to the fire" in order to safeguard the service.
     
    A Foreign Affairs Committee report on its future said the BBC should "announce detailed funding" plans up to 2017 "as soon as possible" and said the service should have "a direct voice" at the top of the corporation.
     
    Committee chairman Sir Richard Ottaway said: "We have always held reservations about the move to licence fee funding for the World Service and what that would mean for the World Service's budget, and its ability to be heard amongst all the other competing voices within the BBC.
     
    "There is some good news coming out of our inquiry: the Director of News and Current Affairs made a clear commitment that next year's funding for the World Service will serve as a minimum for the following two years. We welcome that.
     
    "But what is really needed is longer-term protection at institutional level, and we continue to be concerned about the absence of a direct voice for the World Service on either the BBC's Executive Board or the Management Board.
     
    "The World Service does an outstanding job in projecting the UK's values abroad. It is an essential part of the country's soft power.
     
    "We have yet to see whether the BBC will be the custodian that the country needs, and so we welcome the Foreign Secretary's assurance that he will 'hold the BBC's feet to the fire' to protect the interests of the World Service. We urge him and his successors to honour that commitment."
     
    A spokeswoman for the BBC Trust said: "The Trust is committed to supporting the World Service, and has approved an increase in its budget for 2014-15. The new Operating Licence for the World Service establishes a clear governance framework to preserve the distinct nature of the service, and a remit, scope and commitments it can be held accountable to."

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    National commercial speech radio station LBC has secured its highest-ever number of nominations in this year's Radio Academy awards, including two nominations for a phone-in hosted by the deputy prime minister.

    Nick Clegg's weekly show, Call Clegg, is nominated for best speech programme and best news and current affairs programme.

    LBC - with nine nominations - is shortlisted for station of the year (1 million plus audience area) alongside BBC Radio Ulster and Metro Radio in Newcastle. TalkSport has two nominations and is up against BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 for UK station of the year.

    The BBC has secured almost two-thirds of the nominations for this year's Radio Academy Awards. Its broad range of programming makes up 78 of the 119 nominations, with the corporation dominating the speech broadcaster and feature/documentary categories.

    The awards, now in their 32nd year, will be held in London on 12 May.

    The full nominations list:

    :: Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus)
    5 live Breakfast (BBC Radio 5 live)
    KISS Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (KISS)
    Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (LBC 97.3)
    The Breakfast Show with Penny Smith & Paul Ross (BBC London 94.9FM)
    The Capital Breakfast Show with Dave Berry & Lisa Snowdon (95.8 Capital FM)

    :: Breakfast Show of the Year (under 10 million)
    Boogie in the Morning (Forth One)
    Good Morning Ulster (BBC Radio Ulster)
    Hirsty's Daily Dose - Capital Breakfast (Capital Yorkshire)
    Iain Lee (BBC Three Counties Radio)
    Sam & Amy (Gem 106)

    :: Best Music Programme
    Alex James's Magical Musical Tour (Classic FM)
    Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2)
    John Suchet (Classic FM)
    The People's Songs (BBC Radio 2)
    The XFM Evening Show with Danielle Perry (XFM)

    :: Best Specialist Music Programme
    David Rodigan (BBC Radio 1Xtra)
    Mistajam (BBC Radio 1Xtra)
    The Beatdown on XFM with Scroobius Pip (XFM)
    The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2)
    Zane Lowe (BBC Radio 1)

    :: Best Entertainment Programme
    Alex James's Magical Musical Tour (Classic FM)
    Greg James (BBC Radio 1)
    Rob Howard (Capital North East)
    The 12 O'Clock Show (BBC Radio Bristol)
    The Dermot O'Leary Show (BBC Radio 2)

    :: Best Speech Programme
    Call Clegg (LBC 97.3)
    Short Cuts (BBC Radio 4)
    The Digital Human - (BBC Radio 4)
    The Frank Skinner Show (Absolute Radio)
    The Reunion (BBC Radio 4)

    :: Best Sports Programme
    5 live Sport (BBC Radio 5 live)
    Gerr'um On Side (102.4 Wish FM/107.2 Wire FM)
    The Day We Won Wimbledon (BBC Radio 5 live)
    The Team That Never Was (BBC Radio Oxford)
    World Football (BBC World Service)

    :: Best News & Current Affairs Programme
    Asian Network Reports (BBC Asian Network)
    Call Clegg (LBC 97.3)
    PM (BBC Radio 4)
    The World at One (BBC Radio 4)
    Victoria Derbyshire (BBC Radio 5 live)

    :: Best Coverage of a Live Event
    Capital's Jingle Bell Ball (Capital FM)
    Great North Run 2013 (Metro Radio)
    Live@Wimbledon Radio (Live@Wimbledon Radio)
    The Dambusters - 70 Years On (BBC Radio 2)
    The Death of Nelson Mandela (BBC World Service)

    :: Best Community Programming
    Free Radio Walk for Kids (Free Radio)
    Knives Wreck Lives (107.6 Juice FM)
    Pete's Pensioner Party (BBC WM 95.6)
    Slavery on our Streets ( LBC 97.3)
    The Joy of Reading (BBC Radio Oxford)

    :: Music Radio Personality of the Year
    Chris Evans (BBC Radio 2)
    Christian O'Connell (Absolute Radio)
    Graham Norton (BBC Radio 2)
    Radcliffe & Maconie (BBC Radio 6 Music)
    Sam & Amy (Gem 106)

    :: Music Radio Broadcaster of the Year
    Guy Garvey (BBC Radio 6 Music)
    Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC Radio 6 Music)
    Scroobius Pip (XFM)
    Tom Service (BBC Radio 3)
    Zane Lowe (BBC Radio 1)

    :: Speech Radio Personality of the Year
    Alan Robson (Metro Radio/TFM)
    Danny Baker (BBC Radio 5 live)
    Johnny Vaughan (talkSPORT)
    Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3)
    Phin Adams (CAMFM)

    :: Speech Radio Broadcaster of the Year
    Jane Garvey (BBC Radio 4)
    Justin Webb (BBC Radio 4)
    Melvyn Bragg (BBC Radio 4)
    Rony Robinson (BBC Radio Sheffield)
    Victoria Derbyshire (BBC Radio 5 live)

    :: National Radio Journalist of the Year
    Becky Milligan (BBC Radio 4)
    Declan Harvey (BBC Radio 1/1Xtra)
    Ian Pannell (BBC Radio 4/BBC World Service)
    Jon Manel (BBC Radio 4)
    Tom Swarbrick (LBC 97.3)

    :: Local Radio Journalist of the Year
    BBC Radio Norfolk News Team (BBC Radio Norfolk)
    Heart North West and Wales News Team (Heart North West and Wales)
    Jo Taylor (BBC Radio Cambridgeshire)
    Radio City & City Talk News Team (Radio City/City Talk)
    The Nolan Show Team (BBC Radio Ulster)

    :: Best Interview of the Year
    Becky Milligan interviews the wife of a child sex offender (BBC Radio 4)
    Iain Dale interviews James in Woolwich (LBC 97.3)
    Iain Lee interviews Stephen Conroy (BBC Three Counties Radio)
    Stephen Sackur interviews Pavel Khodorkovsky (BBC World Service)
    Winifred Robinson interviews Ralph Bulger (BBC Radio 4)

    :: Best Music Feature or Documentary
    Adam Buxton on David Bowie (BBC Radio 6 Music)
    Soul Music: Strange Fruit (BBC Radio 4)
    The Dambusters - 70 Years On (BBC Radio 2)
    The Sash My Father Wore (BBC Radio Ulster)
    Who Sold The Soul (BBC Radio 4)

    :: Best News Feature or Documentary
    Assignment: The Man Who Fell to Earth (BBC World Service)
    Crossroads: The Girls (BBC Radio 1)
    Slavery on our Streets (LBC 97.3)
    Tempted by Teacher (BBC Radio 1)
    The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute (BBC Radio 2)

    :: Best Feature or Documentary
    A Different Kind of Justice (BBC Radio 4)
    Advice from the Edge of Life (BBC Radio Scotland)
    Between the Ears: Mighty Beast (BBC Radio 3)
    Johnny Cash and the Forgotten Prison Blues (BBC Radio 4)
    The Day We Won Wimbledon (BBC Radio 5 live)

    :: Best Comedy
    Bridget Christie Minds The Gap (BBC Radio 4)
    Here Be Dragons (BBC Radio Wales)
    John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme (BBC Radio 4)
    The Blagger's Guide To Doctor Who (BBC Radio 2)
    The Secret World (BBC Radio 4)

    :: Best Drama
    Babbage (BBC Radio 3)
    Darkside (BBC Radio 2)
    How To Have A Perfect Marriage (BBC Radio 4)
    Lost and Found (BBC Radio 4)
    The Morpeth Carol (BBC Radio 4)

    :: Station of the Year (under 1 million)
    BBC Tees
    Moray Firth Radio
    National Prison Radio

    :: Station of the Year (1 million plus)
    BBC Radio Ulster
    LBC 97.3
    Metro Radio

    :: UK Station of the Year
    BBC Radio 2
    BBC Radio 4
    talkSPORT


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    Boris Johnson has claimed the treatment of a veteran BBC radio DJ who says he was "forced" to quit because he accidentally played a song with an offensive racial term in it was "utterly disgraceful".

    BBC Radio Devon broadcaster David Lowe found himself in hot water after airing an 82-year-old version of The Sun Has Got His Hat On which featured the lyric: "He's been tannin' niggers out in Timbuktu".

    Johnson said Britain was living in a "Boko Haram world", in reference to the terrorist network that kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria. Boko Haram forbids Muslims to take part in any political or social activity connected to Western society and has killed more than 1,500 people this year.

    In his Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson wrote:"In our own modest way, we live in a Boko Haram world, where it all depends on the swirling rage of the internet mob, and where terrified bureaucrats and politicians are borne along on a torrent of confected outrage.

    "There is no consistency in the outlook of the Nigerian maniacs: they use weapons produced by the very capitalist system they claim to deplore, for instance.

    "There is certainly no logic at the BBC. They should restore Mr Lowe to his job - if he will take it - and the entire BBC board should go down to Devon to apologise in person, and at their own expense."

    He added: "Their treatment of this man is utterly disgraceful".

    Johnson wrote that "a clerisy of self-appointed internet witchdoctors went completely loco - or perhaps boko is the word" when footage emerged of Jeremy Clarkson using the same word.

    Lowe, 68, apologised to officials at BBC Radio Devon, but he said it fell on deaf ears.

    Emma Clements, the station's acting editor, reportedly told Lowe that while he had "properly" dealt with his mistake, she thought it would be best for him to step aside.

    After his exit, Lowe claims he was asked to say he was pursuing other interests.

    However, he refused and made the reasons public through his website.

    In his blog, he said: "It was a genuine error on my part, the first in 32 years. But given today’s unforgiving obsession with political correctness I have been compelled to pay a heavy price."

    The BBC has offered him his job back, but Lowe said he declined because his departure caused him so much stress and flared up a medical condition he suffers from.

    A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation admitted the discussion about Mr Lowe's future "could have been handled better" and said the "door remained open" should he want to return.

    Prime Minister David Cameron also waded into the row, saying he thought the BBC was being unfair.

    He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It does seem, in this case, where if he really didn't know what was on the record, it does seem slightly unfair."

    He added: "The word in question is awful and unacceptable and people shouldn't use it, now let's be clear about that.

    "We've come a long way as a country in trying to drive racism out of our country, and that is a really important thing."


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    Radio 4’s PM was named news and current affairs programme of the year at the Radio Academy Awards last night.

    The judges singled out presenter Eddie Mair for special praise. Mair has been been tipped as a possible successor to Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman who is due to stand down in June.

    Other winners included Tom Swarbick of LBC News who was named national radio journalist of the year and and Winifred Robinson of Radio 4 who won interview of the year after she spoke to Ralph Bulger on the 20th anniversary of his two-year-old son's murder.

    The Radio Academy judges said PM was:

    A programme at the top of its form which never rests on its laurels and rarely settles for the obvious. The interviews are sometimes unexpected, often utterly compelling and when necessary, robust and persistent; all are handled brilliantly by Eddie Mair.  Along with these there is some fine radio reporting and an impressive sense of journalistic curiosity combined with genuine wit. All in all, a fully rounded product aimed at a very sophisticated and demanding audience."

    Robinson is a journalist with a similar background to the Bulger famnly, who still live on the same council estate in Kirkby. She interviewed them shortly after James’s murder and also attended the trial.

    Ralph Bulger spoke to her of the despair caused by a parole board’s decision to release killers Thompson and Venables after they turned 18 in 2001.

    The radio academy judges described her work as: "A searingly emotive entry which demanded the listener's attention.  The interviewer built a real connection with the interviewee which generated real, fresh insight."

    The best coverage of a live event prize went to the BBC World Service for its “dignified and moving” reporting of the death of Nelson Mandela.

    Best community programming went to LBC for Slavery on our Streets,"A very powerful documentary from LBC highlighting an issue that could be happening in all our communities."

    Speech radio presenter of the year went to Victoria Derbyshire of BBC Radio 5 Live. 

    National radio journalist of the year went to Tom Swarbick of LBC News (which is now available nationally on digital radio). The judges said:

    Tom Swarbrick is a real star and this high quality, skilful and enjoyable entry was a breath of fresh air. There were a wide range of stories from hard news and exclusive interviews to relatable, fun features.

    He’s intelligent, curious, fluent, determined and relentless. All his stories were well observed, showed great use of language, imaginative production techniques and clever interviewing."

    Local radio journalist of the year went to the nine-strong BBC Radio Norfolk news team for work which the judges said made radio the “go to place for information” and “story telling that was always in touch with its community”.

    Full list of Radio Academy awards, including the non-news categories, is available here.


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    The son of David Coleman has revealed the BBC Sport commentator didn’t like the Private Eye (picture: Reuters) column named after him.

    The magazine’s long-running “Colemanballs” feature documents the errors of commentators in each fortnightly edition.

    But Coleman, who died last year aged 87, “didn’t like people getting the credit for taking the mickey and running people down”, his son has told the Radio Times.

    According to the Telegraph, Mike Coleman, the second youngest of his children, said: “He didn’t find Colemanballs funny...

    “It was the same with Mike Yarwood doing impressions of him. He didn’t really get the humour of it, but I think deep down he took it as an honour that he was being mimicked.”

    Meanwhile, fellow veteran commentator John Motson said: “What irritated David was that he used to get blamed for things he’d never said.

    “Colemanballs attributed other commentator’s gaffes to him.”


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    Today presenter John Humphrys has revealed that he advises his children and grandchildren to avoid journalism as a profession.

    Humphrys, 70, was the main presenter on the Nine O’Clock News in the 1980s on BBC One. Since 1987 he has been a presenter on Radio 4's flagship daily current affairs programme Today.

    Press Gazette has asked a number of famous figures from the world of journalism to talk about their training and offer some advice to aspiring journalists as part of a print guide to journalism training which is being published next month.

    Noting that he became a trainee reporter on his local weekly newspaper some 55 years ago, Humphrys said:  "All I recall is that I went to my local tech to learn shorthand (but not, sadly, typing) and that I spent an hour or so a week for a few months learning 'essential law for journalists' somewhere or other.

    “As to my advice for aspiring journalists.... that's easy. Don't do it!  I am deeply pessimistic for the future of serious print journalism and I tell my own children and grandchildren to train for a profession where they're more likely to get a decent job with some hope of security.”

    Last year Humphrys was named broadcast journalist of the year at the London Press Club awards. He recalled once "bribing" a police officer with a bottle of whisky at Merthry Tydfil police station when he was a 17-year-old reporter. 


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    The BBC has been accused of being biased against the Green Party in its coverage of this month's elections.

    Members of the Young Greens, a youth branch of the party, have accused the corporation of giving an unfair amount of coverage to UKIP at the expense of their party.

    An online campaign, calling on the BBC to "stop this media blackout of the Green Party", has so far received around 30,000 signatures after being set up on Saturday night.

    The petition says: “We feel the BBC News coverage of the European and Local Elections has, to date, been unfairly biased against the Green Party. This bias is not only evident in the almost complete absence of coverage of the Green Party during the European and, specifically, Local Election results, but also prior to this during the campaign for the elections on Thursday 22nd May.

    “Whilst we understand that UKIP made gains in the Local Elections, it has gone largely unreported that the Green Party currently have a total of 178 Councillors and are now the official opposition in Liverpool, Solihull, Islington, Lewisham, and Norwich (15 councillors to Labour's 21). They gained two seats in Bristol, one with over 47% of the vote and retained a third seat, bringing the total to 6.”

    It claims the party has been “sporadically and reluctantly mentioned by the BBC due to the fact they are now in fourth place ahead of the Lib Dems”.

    It pointed out that, on BBC One’s Vote 2014, a Green Party representative was interviewed for the first time at 2.30am with “members of the other four parties were interviewed multiple times prior to this”.

    It added: “The BBC prides itself on painting a fair and unbiased picture of events, however in this case we feel they have not done so.

    “UKIP should be receiving coverage proportional to their achievements, achievements which are currently less than those of the Green Party.”

    A BBC spokesperson said: "Our coverage of all parties in the local and European elections has been proportionate and consistent with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality."

    Last week, BBC News channel editor Jasmine Lawrence was taken off coverage of the elections after she tweeted: "#WhyImVotingUkip – to stand up for white, middle class, middle aged men w sexist/racist views, totally under represented in politics today."

    A BBC spokesperson said: "Jasmine Lawrence was tweeting from a personal account. She has been reminded of her responsibility to uphold BBC guidelines. She has deactivated her twitter account and will now be playing no part in the BBC's election coverage in coming days."

    Picture: Reuters


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    • Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan: 'It's a fabulously exciting, important profession'

    • Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow: 'Unreservedly I WOULD recommend journalism to my children'

    • Private Eye editor Ian Hislop: 'I can't face the idea there is no place for journalism'

    • Sarah Montague says Today programme colleague is 'talking nonsense'

    • Sky News presenter Kay Burley: 'It's not always easy, but it is always ultimately rewarding'

    • Sky News's Alex Crawford: 'I'd be so proud if any of my four children took the same path'

    • Guido Fawkes editor Paul Staines: 'It would be a life less ordinary, a chance to write the first draft of history'

    • Times editor John Witherow predicts 'new opportunities' and 'it will continue to be damned good fun'

    • Former Guardian editor Peter Preston: 'It's a vital job that can also be wholly enjoyable and rewarding'

    While there might not be too many Humphrys in the journalism world of tomorrow, don’t be surprised to see a few ‘Morgan’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Hislop’ bylines.

    Press Gazette’s story this week that Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys would advise his children and grandchildren against pursuing a career in journalism has proved to be one of our most talked about of the year.

    And, it would appear Humphrys - who said his advice to aspiring journalists would be "don't do it" - is in a minority. Piers Morgan, Jon Snow, Ian Hislop and even Humphrys’ Today colleague Sarah Montague are among those who have told Press Gazette they would give the opposite guidance when Press Gazette asked: Would you recommend journalism as a career for your children/ grandchildren?

    “Journalism is an unpredictable, dangerous, occasionally deeply unpleasant occupation, which involves a lot of travel, discomfort and public opprobrium," former Daily Mirror editor Morgan (pictured with Bill Clinton above, Reuters) told Press Gazette.

    “It's also a fabulously exciting, important profession and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a career to my children - not least because it would appear future top jobs won't be taken up by any junior members of the Humphrys family.”

    Channel 4 News presenter Snow said: “Unreservedly I WOULD recommend journalism to my children...

    “My only caveat would be to warn them that they will have to be bloody brilliant to make any serious money!”

    Private Eye editor Hislop said he would advise his family to follow a journalism career because “it’s a lot of fun”.

    “We need journalists as much as ever and the next generation have got to work out how to keep real journalism alive in an age of ‘lists’ and ‘side-bars’,” he said.

     “Yes, it’s a different world, and yes it may not all be print, and there’ll be different ways of doing it online. But I can’t face the idea that there is no place for journalism... so I’d say, yeah, please do it.”

    Montague said Humphrys was “talking nonsense”. “And I don’t believe he really thinks it,” she said.

    “I would definitely recommend it to my children although at the moment there's not much chance of them following me into it as they say what I listen to is ‘boring’.”

    Meanwhile, former Today colleague Guto Harri, said he would "absolutely" recommend journalism to his family.

    The current News UK director of communications and corporate affairs said: "At its best, you are in the most interesting places at the most interesting time with the most interesting people... What could be better?"

    Sky News presenter Kay Burley (right) said: "For the past 36 years I have had the best job in the world. Being a journalist is not always easy, but it is always ultimately rewarding.

    "If a member of my family wanted to follow in a similar role I would counsel them on the demands of the job. You don't become a journalist to be loved or even liked, but it does offer opportunities that few other professions could ever provide.

    "So, yes, if my son or my wider family wanted to be a journalist I would say, absolutely go for it."

    Burley's Sky News colleague Alex Crawford said she would be "so proud if any of my four children took the same path".

    She said: "I cannot think of a better profession, a better life, a better window to the world... Where you get to talk to terrorists and tyrants as well as Presidents and Prime Ministers...where you can sit cross-legged with refugees in the heat of the world's newest country and take tea with rock stars in the shadow of Table Mountain..... Where you can wake up on the roof of a mosque in Badakshan, in a cow shed guarded by Maoist rebels, or a ditch in northern Syria..... Where you can climb the Imja glazier to report on global warming, fly over the Kruger National Park with rangers in search of rhino poachers and trek over hills and mountains to meet Taliban drug traffickers.... Where your words and your eyes can topple a Government, defeat a dictator or help a rape victim.

    "It's a tough life, unforgiving and utterly obsessive...but what a way to live. And what a privilege.

    "I'd be so proud if any of my four children took the same path.... And I KNOW they'd be filling the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, as Rudyard said."

    A number of former and current editors also told Press Gazette they would recommend the career to their young.

    Paul Staines, the editor of the Guido Fawkes blog, said: “My oldest daughter (aged 9) sometimes tells me she wants to be a writer, sometimes a reporter. I definitely would not stand in her way.

    “It would be a life less ordinary, a chance to write the first draft of history. If she was a showbiz journalist she would get to hang out with the stars, if she was a business reporter the chance to meet and know the people who make our world. A good journalist knows the world.

    “Or maybe she will become a ballerina. Either way I would cheer her choice.”

    Times editor John Witherow said: "I would certainly say 'do it'. Journalism may be in the midst of turbulent times, but there will always be a demand for independently-minded people to report and comment on what is happening around the world. The means of delivering that news and analysis will no doubt be transformed in their lifetimes, but that will mean many new opportunities.

    "What's more, it will continue to be damned good fun."

    Meanwhile, former Guardian editor Peter Preston said that aspiring journalists should enter the profession “not because it offers a good career pattern or great salaries or security, because it never has, but because it's a vital job that can also be wholly enjoyable and rewarding”.

    He added: “So today, if a grandson or daughter asks? I'd say what I've always said. ONLY do it if you know in your bones that it's something you have to do.”

    Sun editor David Dinsmore said he would encourage his children to work in journalism but added: “The thing is we are sending them into a world that is not guaranteed, that’s the difference. When John and I started out there was a fairly structured career path and it was the same one that had existed for decades if not centuries.

    “Now there are more opportunities but it’s not as clear what they are. But the thing people still want are stories, and they want them more than ever before."

    Sun on Sunday editor Victoria Newton: "To me being a journalist is still the best job in the world and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who had a passion for it. You get to travel the world, meet fascinating people, and there is simply nothing that beats the buzz of getting a great scoop (other than your football team winning the league perhaps!). 

    "Clearly we are in a more uncertain era, facing the twin challenges of fighting for press freedom and for our journalism to remain profitable in a digital world, but I believe there will always be a market for brilliant stories - whatever the platform."

    Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear said: “I definitely would recommend it; at its best it’s an honourable, world-changing for the better profession, and it’s always huge fun.

    “It matters too much to think it will disappear and I would be very pleased if my kids or grand kids did it. Though being a doctor is a lot more use to the world.”

    Private Eye editor Ian Hislop

    And despite tough times in the regional journalism industry, both Northern Echo editor Peter Barron and Yorkshire Post editor Jeremy Clifford said they would recommend journalism to their family.

    “Whatever happens in terms of format, there will always be a need for quality journalism,” Barron said.

    “Despite all the challenges the industry is enduring there is an exciting future for those with an appetite to break news, tell stories, engage in communities, and make a difference.”

    Clifford said: "The scope of journalism has changed massively in the 27 years I have been in the industry and is no less exciting, although a lot harder than it used to be”.

    “The career allows you to acquire great multi-media skills, brings you into contact with people and communities you cannot get through other work and is still a privilege,” he said.

    “However, it is not an easy job or 9-5 and must be seen more as a vocation. If you are not committed to this, then don't do it. If you are, then you will enjoy it.”


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    UKIP is reportedly prepared to sue Ofcom if it is not given the same amount of coverage as the Conservative and Labour parties in the run-up to next year's general election.

    The party's head of communications Patrick O'Flynn has written to the broadcasting regulator saying UKIP should now be considered a "major party" and that leader Nigel Farage (pictured, Reuters) should be involved in all leaders' debates, according to The Sunday Times.

    He reportedly wrote that it is “unthinkable” his party, which polled 27.5 per cent of UK votes in last month's European Parliament election, should be treated as “just another minor party”.

    O’Flynn, formerly of the Daily Express, said there was “an overwhelming case” for Farage to take part in televised leaders’ election debates. And he has said UKIP may sue if it feels it is being frozen out by broadcasters.

    It emerged on Friday that the BBC has received around 1,200 complaints from individuals who believe it has been biased in favour of UKIP. According to The Guardian, the corporation had also received 149 complaints of bias against the party.

    A campaign set up by Green Party members calling on the BBC to stop the “media blackout” of its party in political coverage has been signed by more than 40,000. It said UKIP had been given an unfair level of coverage in comparison.

    The campaign page, set up last weekend, said: “Whilst we understand that UKIP made gains in the Local Elections, it has gone largely unreported that the Green Party currently have a total of 178 Councillors and are now the official opposition in Liverpool, Solihull, Islington, Lewisham, and Norwich (15 councillors to Labour's 21). They gained two seats in Bristol, one with over 47% of the vote and retained a third seat, bringing the total to 6.”


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    The BBC is reportedly set to make up to 600 redundancies, including 500 in BBC News, which would represent around 6 per cent of the division's total work force.

    Around 80 jobs are also expected to be lost in BBC Radio, according to Forbes.

    The job losses are a part of the corporation’s cost-cutting operation, which began three years ago.

    Currently employing around 8,000 people (including 5,500 journalists), the BBC News division has already made more than 200 job cuts in that period.

    In 2012, 140 redunancies were announced as part of the Delivering Quality First programme.

    And then in September last year head of BBC News James Harding said that 75 more journalism jobs would be lost. And he said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out. At the time Harding also warned that more cuts were to come under Delivering Quality First.

    He explained in a letter to staff that the cuts were forced by the Government freezing the BBC licence fee for seven years in 2010 and also making it take responsibility for funding the World Service and other services.

    Harding said the 75 redundancies were part of changes aimed at shaving £11m from the 2014-15 BBC News budget. And he warned that further substantial savings will be needed over the following two years.

    The latest job cuts, which will see between 475 and 500 jobs lost in BBC News and between 75 and 85 in the radio operation, will be announced next month, according to Forbes.

    The National Union of Journalists has yet to formally respond to the alleged job cuts plan, but, responding to the figures, general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "

    Cutting 500 jobs in areas of news that are badly over-stretched, where staff are already suffering unacceptably high levels of stress and pressure and in a working environment where bullying has been rife is wholly unacceptable and will inevitably damage the quality of journalism and programming."

    The union also recently criticised the corporation for the below-inflation 1 per cent pay offer to rise negotiated this year. It was described as “completely unacceptable”.

    A BBC spokesman is quoted as saying: "We're working at present to deliver savings of £800m a year by 2016/17 and we have said that there are difficult decisions ahead of us. Whilst we need to make savings, it would be wrong to comment on speculation."


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    Alternatives to the BBC licence fee should be considered in case a better option now exists, Harriet Harman has claimed.

    The deputy Labour leader (pictured, centre, Reuters) and shadow culture secretary said just because alternatives had not been possible in the past did not mean that would always be the case.

    Her comments came as Armando Iannucci, the writer behind hit BBC Westminster satire The Thick Of It, suggested the corporation should look at an international subscription model, both to raise additional funds and to act as a test bed for similar changes for British viewers.

    In an interview with Total Politics magazine Harman said the BBC played a vital role as a public sector broadcaster that should not come under "ideological attack" and warned Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to appoint the new BBC chairman on an impartial basis.

    Harman said: "The licence fee is a means to an end, it's not an end to itself. If there's a better way to have... a measure of independence from government in terms of the finance, if there's a better way of doing that, let's hear about it.

    "We haven't found it in the past; we might do in the future. Let's see. It's not easy to see what would be better than the licence fee but that doesn't mean it actually shouldn't be looked at.

    "What we are absolutely not up for is a kind of ideological attack on the BBC because it is a public sector broadcaster."

    Former Olympics boss and Conservative peer Lord Coe has been highlighted as a leading candidate to replace Lord Patten as BBC Trust chairman, who is stepping down on health grounds.

    Harman said she had written to Javid outlining her concerns about a partisan appointment.

    She said: "It's one of those appointments that needs to be done not on a party political basis, and therefore a big responsibility falls on him to act in the public interest, not in a partisan way, so we've written to him to urge him not to behave like that.

    "It's a very important appointment at a very critical time for the BBC."

    In an interview with the Evening Standard, Iannucci said: "The BBC should make a mint from the brand internationally. It needs a new attitude that says it's not filthy to make money.

    "As for the licence, you have people on laptops saying: 'What is a television?' There will be a subscription model."


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    BBC head of news James Harding (pictured, Reuters) has told staff that “a significant number of redundancies” are likely to be made after a report emerged yesterday suggesting up to 500 jobs – around 6 per cent of his division – will be made redundant.

    In an email to staff today the former Times editor, who joined the BBC last August, said he would be announcing plans for the future of  BBC News next month.

    He reiterated to staff that “tens of millions of pounds” in savings need to be made in the division as part of the Delivering Quality First scheme, which has seen more than 200 BBC News jobs made redundant over the last three years.

    He said: “I am afraid that there is no escaping the fact that there are likely to be a significant number of redundancies - most of our costs are tied up in people so there is limited scope for other big savings elsewhere.”

    According to the BBC's staff website Ariel he also said: “I do not pretend that the months ahead are going to be easy.

    “We have some very difficult decisions to make and no doubt some difficult challenges to face. I will, however, do my very best to keep you informed as we go along.”

    A Forbes report said yesterday that the BBC is to announce up to 600 redundancies in July, including between 475 and 500 in News.

    In response, a BBC spokesman said: “We're working at present to deliver savings of £800m a year by 2016/17 and we have said that there are difficult decisions ahead of us. Whilst we need to make savings, it would be wrong to comment on speculation.”

    The BBC is said to employ 8,000 staff in BBC News, of which 5,500 are described as journalists.


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    The producer of The Guardian’s weekly Media Talk podcast today launched a bid to independently fund the programme via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

    The podcast was axed by The Guardian two weeks ago, along with its Music Weekly audio show.

    Now producer Matt Hill is looking to raise £9,000 in donations to keep the podcast going for a year under new name The Media Podcast.

    He has already broadcast two editions of the half-hour show independently and he is seeking funding to pay him and a presenter to continue on a fortnightly basis.

    Hill declined to reveal listening figures for Media Talk, but he said that half of those who subscribed to Media Talk have signed up to receive the The Media Podcast.

    Asked whether The Guardian’s decision to axe Media Talk was an indication that podcasts have had their day, Hill said: “Actually I think we are seeing a resurgence in the medium.

    “In the States we are seeing programmes going out to significant numbers.

    “It is all about being able to receive content at a time that suits you.”

    A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "Guardian News & Media is currently in the process of formulating an exciting multimedia strategy, and as part of that we have been re-evaluating our podcast offering. This has resulted in two of our podcasts -  MediaTalk and Music Weekly - coming to an end, but it absolutely does not mean that we are moving away from podcasts as a way of telling stories, sharing views and starting debates.

    "We're currently hiring a head of audio with a view to refreshing our output, much of which is hugely popular and successful, and looking at new ways to use audio across the whole of theguardian.com."

    Donate to The Media Podcast here.

    US-based Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter this week lunched a new dedicated category for journalism projects

    The Guardian has launched a curated page on Kickstarter where it picks out projects which it finds interesting.


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    Sajid Javid has said “I don't think anything should be ruled out and nothing should be ruled in” ahead of the BBC Royal Charter renewal.

    Javid (pictured, Reuters), who replaced Maria Miller as Culture Secretary in April, told the Andrew Marr Show that the “big technological change” over the current ten-year charter will need to be taken into account ahead of any potential changes.

    He said that the £145.50 per household per year licence fee, which the Conservative Government froze when it came into power in 2010,  is a “large amount of money for many families up and down the country”.

    Javid added: “This needs to be looked at when we have the charter review process.”

    Earlier this month, shadow culture secretary and deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said in an interview that the licence fee should be considered in case a better alternative exists.

    She told Total Politics: "The licence fee is a means to an end, it's not an end to itself. If there's a better way to have... a measure of independence from government in terms of the finance, if there's a better way of doing that, let's hear about it.

    "We haven't found it in the past; we might do in the future. Let's see. It's not easy to see what would be better than the licence fee but that doesn't mean it actually shouldn't be looked at.

    "What we are absolutely not up for is a kind of ideological attack on the BBC because it is a public sector broadcaster."


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    BBC's Global Audience Estimate Year
    265 million 2014
    256 million

    2013

    239 million 2012
    225 million 2011
    241 million 2010
    238 million 2009
    234 million 2008
    234 million 2007

    The BBC says the audience for its international services has risen to a new high, with 265 million people around the world accessing its output each week.

    The corporation's estimates show the numbers using its various global news services - including the World Service and BBC World News - have risen by 3.5 per cent in the past year, with big jumps in Russia and Ukraine as people have apparently turned to "trusted" sources.

    However, the overall nine million rise does include an audience of 3.8 million in Yemen which had not previously been included in the BBC's Global Audience Estimate.

    As this table (right) shows, the Global Audience Estimate has risen from 234 million in 2007.

    Radio has seen a major decline in numbers with 17 million fewer listeners than the previous 12-month period, although it continued to be the biggest platform overall with 128 million tuning in.

    Rises in digital and television use have offset that figure to give an overall audience rise.

    Russia has shown the biggest growth with the audience more than doubling to 6.9 million weekly, while the BBC's Ukrainian Service audience more than trebled to in excess of 600,000.

    The audience for TV services stands at TV viewers at 126 million and digital access stands at 46 million - a third of these through mobile devices - with many people clearly using more than one of the services.

    Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service Group, said: "Today's figures show the most successful year ever for the BBC's global news services.

    "Investment in TV bulletins and responsive mobile services for the World Service is bearing fruit. Radio will be a World Service mainstay for years to come, but as these figures testify, the way people access news is changing and we must continue to innovate if we are to flourish in the years ahead."

    Last month a report commissioned by the corporation by Sir Howard Stringer recommended that the BBC should look to the success of Buzzfeed as it attempts to double its global audience to 500 million in the next eight years.

    As well as suggesting the BBC should consider native advertising and an expansion into North Korea, the report recommends that the corporation should take a digital-first approach in all countries other than the UK.

    Stringer said the BBC is “punching well below its weight in the digital world”, noting that its peak online audience figures outside the UK stand at 150m monthly unique users in March 2014, “a big news month”.

    While he noted that this is more than CNN and around the same as the Mail Online’s exclusively English-language traffic for a month, he pointed out that Buzzfeed’s peak stands at 160m.

    “Given Buzzfeed, for example, was only founded in 2006, this raises the question of why the BBC’s global digital reach is not more significant,” he said.

    Here is the BBC's YouTube summary of the Global Audience Estimate:


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    A survey by Ofcom suggests that the internet and apps are now as important a source of news in the UK as newspapers.

    The regulator's News Consumption in the UK report found that 41 per cent of Britons say they use the internet and apps for news (up from 32 per cent in the same report a year ago) compared with 40 per cent (the same as a year ago) who said they use newspapers.

    The report is based on a face to face survey conducted by Kantar Media in March/April 2014 involving 2,731 respondents across the UK.

    It found that some 95 per cent of UK adults say they follow the news. TV is the most popular source of news, with 75 per cent of respondents saying they use it (down from 78 per cent in 2013).

    Some 36 per cent said they use the radio for news (35 per cent last year).

    Looking at local news, Ofcom reports that 77 per cent of adults say they use TV for this purpose at least once a week, 49 and 50 per cent respectively said they use newspapers and radio and 39 per cent said they use online sources.

    Ofcom found the rise in digital news is driven by increased mobile and tablet use among younger people, who are 10 times more likely than those aged 55 and over to access news on a mobile (40 per cent versus 4 per cent) and twice as likely on a tablet (15 per cent versus 7 per cent).

    The regulator said this could explain why more 16 to 24-year-olds said they caught up on news to pass the time (17 per cent versus 9 per cent for over 55s), as mobiles and tablets allowed them to surf the web and apps on the move.

    But despite younger people having easier access to news on apps and the web, one in 10 said they do not follow the news compared with 5 per cent across all adults and just 3 per cent for the over 55s.

    Ofcom's News Consumption in the UK report for 2014

    Infographic from Ofcom: 


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    Victoria Derbyshire (pictured), Richard Bacon and Shelagh Fogarty are leaving BBC Radio 5 Live “to explore new ventures both within the BBC and externally”.

    Adrian Chiles and Peter Allen will alternately host 5 Live Daily, which will be "journalistic in tone and focus on big news stories", from October as part of the shake-up.

    Chiles already hosts Friday's edition of Drivetime on the station.

    BBC Sport’s Dan Walker, of Football Focus, will co-host a news programme, Afternoon Edition, with Sarah Brett from Northern Ireland’s Radio Foyle.

    Both new slots will replace Bacon, Derbyshire and Fogarty’s shows.

    The appointments come as the BBC is expected this month to announce the loss of around 80 jobs across its radio division - and up to 500 in BBC News.

    In an email to 5 Live staff, controller Jonathan Wall said: “It's always sad to see top presenters leave, but this really is the right time to refresh. I think we have exciting times ahead...

    “These changes have given me the opportunity to put together a new schedule, alongside a new line-up, and it's one that both excites me and gives me real belief that we can keep pushing 5 live forward.”

    The departures of Derbyshire and Fogarty have sparked fears Radio 5 Live could be returning to the days of ‘Radio Bloke’, according to the Daily Mail.

    Conservative MP Angie Bray, who is on the culture, media and sport committee, is quoted as saying: “I’m really surprised at these changes given all the BBC has said about keeping women on air.

    “Victoria and Shelagh are both excellent broadcasters and will be missed.

    “It does seem 5 Live is becoming more and more blokey.”

    In a blog, controller Wall said: “After twenty years at 5 Live I remain as enthusiastic as ever about the station. I love it in particular because of its audience, and the new show will in essence be a conversation with that audience.”

    On Derbyshire, he said: “Victoria will stay with us until September and will play a big part in our Commonwealth Games plans... We will miss both her forensic interviewing ability and her award-winning investigative journalism.”


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