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BBC Trust Service Review on News and Current Affairs

BBC Trust Service Review on News and Current Affairs

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The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE )welcomes the opportunity to comment upon the BBC Trust Service Review on News and Current Affairs.
We recognise the central importance of the BBC in the fabric of news coverage in the UK, especially in view of its duty to deliver its output in a balanced and nformative manner. The RSE would be prepared to elaborate on any of the points raised in this submission, and to meet with representatives of the Trust, if the Trust so wishes
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE )welcomes the opportunity to comment upon the BBC Trust Service Review on News and Current Affairs.
We recognise the central importance of the BBC in the fabric of news coverage in the UK, especially in view of its duty to deliver its output in a balanced and nformative manner. The RSE would be prepared to elaborate on any of the points raised in this submission, and to meet with representatives of the Trust, if the Trust so wishes

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Published by: The Royal Society of Edinburgh on Dec 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/19/2013

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 Advice Pape
December 2013
1
BBC Trust Service Review on News and Current Affairs
Submission from the Royal Society of Edinburgh
(13–13)
Introduction
1
 TheRoyalSocietyofEdinburgh(RSE)welcomestheopportunitytocommentupontheBBCTrustServiceReviewonNewsandCurrentAffairs.WerecognisethecentralimportanceoftheBBCinthefabricofnewscoverageintheUK,especiallyinviewofitsdutytodeliveritsoutputinabalancedandinformativemanner.TheRSEwouldbepreparedtoelaborateonanyofthepointsraisedinthissubmission,andtomeetwithrepresentativesoftheTrust,iftheTrustsowishes.
UK-wideNewsandCurrentAffairs
2
 WenotethatthisreviewisfocusingonthemainUK-widenewsandcurrentaffairsoutputandthatthereisaseparateconsultationoncoverageoftheindependencereferenduminScotland.Wewillsubmitaseparateresponsetothereferendumcoverageconsultation.However,someofthepointscoveredinthissubmissionwillmakereferencetothedebatearoundthefutureoftheUK,asthisisalsoofimportancetothewholeoftheUKandtotheBBCitself.
3
 InitsUK-widenewsoutput,theBBCneedstoensurethatthecontentofflagshipprogrammessuchasthe
SixO’ClockNews
andthe
TenO’Clock News
remainsrelevanttothewholeoftheaudience,includingthedevolvednationsandregions.ThisisparticularlyrelevantinthelightofcontinuedconstitutionalchangeandfurtherplannedoranticipateddevolutionofpowerstoScotland,WalesandNorthernIreland.
4
 TherearealreadysignificantdivergencesinavarietyofimportantareasofpolicyandpracticeacrossthenationsandregionsoftheUK.UnderstandingandanalysisofthesepolicydifferencesisimportantandoffersopportunitiesforthenationsandregionstolearnfromwhatishappeningelsewhereintheUK.DespiteimprovementsincomparativeanalysesofpolicyandpracticeacrosstheUK,thereisstillhugescopefordevelopingthistypeofoutputincurrentBBCcoverageofnewsandcurrentaffairs.
5
 ThisrequiresthatBBCcorrespondentshavealevelofknowledgeandunderstandingaboutpolicyandpracticeacrossthenationsandregionsoftheUKsufficienttoallowthemtodrawrelevantandinformativecomparisonsandcontrasts.
6
 Thisalsopresentschallengesonissuessuchasprioritisationofnewsstoriesand makingleadreportsrelevanttoasbroadanaudienceaspossible,whilereducingduplicationbetweentheUK-wideoutputandthenational/regionalnewsprogrammes.Althoughthisissueisnotdirectlywithintheremitofthisreview,thisbalanceiscloselyrelatedtothatremitandsoneedstobeconsidered.
7
 Thereisadifficultbalancetobeachievedhere.AnincreasingproportionofnewsemanatingfromWestminsterissometimesarguedtohavenodirectrelevancetoviewersinScotland,WalesorNorthernIreland.Conversely,itmaybethoughtthatviewersinEnglanddonotwishtohavetoomuchcoverageondevelopmentsinthethreedevolvedareas.ItistheviewoftheRSEthattheBBCshouldseektocommunicatesignificantdevelopmentsacrosstheUKtoallofitsaudience.Forexample,thedebateonandoutcomeofthereferenduminScotlandwillhaveimplicationsforalloftheUK,sothereisaneedforthattobereflectedinUK-wideoutput.(Wewillrefertothisfurtherinaseparatesubmission).VoicesfromallpartsoftheUKalsoneedtobeheardaspartoftheconstitutionaldebate.Inasimilarway,BBCScotlandscoveragemustnotlosesightofstoriesthataffectScotlandlessdirectlybutneverthelessare(orcanbemade)relevanttoaScottishaudience.

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