BBC News Channel/BBC World News Merger

Some interesting commentary on Twitter this evening by presenter Martine Croxall regarding the merger plans, in response to various tweets, including some from Clean Feed.

There's no doubt the formal announcement from the BBC put a positive spin on the plan. That was always going to be the case.

The new merged channel will serve a world audience - but with UK opt-outs in daytime, including for breaking UK stories, where required.

Detail about the extent of UK-specific coverage is somewhat lacking. But we have been told that some radio content - such as Nicky Campbell's show on Radio 5 Live - will be shown on the UK version of the channel (and BBC Two).

The merger plan will result in the loss of many journalist and technical posts. Though there are plans to increase staffing in the US.

So what has Martine been saying this evening:

- "The replacement channel will be commercial and aimed at an overseas audience. The UK licence payer will not recognise it."

- We suggested to Martine the BBC plan may have been more of a negotiating position, than a final plan of action.  Martine: "The unions have been presented with the thinnest of plans and no reason to believe they are not genuine."

- "There will be lots of ad breaks to fill for UK viewers."

- "It will cede UK breaking news to our competitors."

- Re a tweet on The Papers segment - Martine: "I think the papers will be a casualty of what the managers are planning with one single channel."

- "I make my feelings known loud and clear. We are told that the audience has not made a fuss about what's planned."

Martine is merely voicing concerns felt by many colleagues across News.

It'll certainly be worth keeping an eye out for any official reaction from the unions. Could be a bumpy road between now and next April.

And of course, against this backdrop of BBC cuts, we see ITV News embarking on a second significant recruitment drive in recent months - this time for an on-demand news service.  Almost as if they're taking advantage of an impending BBC own goal.

EDIT: some further tweets from Martine, shortly after our original post above:

"There won’t be a separate UK channel at all. This is what people are not realising. You’ll get what the world audience gets. With Nicky Campbell’s phone in on the TV 9-11 weekdays. The BBC1 bulletins and Newsnight which you can see anyway. No bespoke UK content as standard apart from during advert breaks. And breaking news when an editor decides it’s worth cranking up a tiny studio. The unions are trying to stop the worst of it."

"Managers admit they have low ambitions for UK output esp breaking news. It’s all about the commercial market overseas."

Clean Feed: Website and Twitter.
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