BLOG: The changing face of news

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017 Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017 Time: 07:45 - 09:15 Location: The Corinthian Club

This is a past event

At our first breakfast of 2017 we welcomed BBC Scotland to present for the first time.

2017 brings a new BBC Royal Charter along with a new Director for BBC Scotland and with that a new chapter in the way it serves its audience in Scotland.  Broadcasting in Scotland has come under intense scrutiny over the last few years with BBC Scotland’s own news provision being a particular focus for debate.

We were delighted to have presenter Gary Smith, BBC Scotland’s Head of News and Current Affairs address the challenges and opportunities around broadcast news in Scotland. We heard about his vision for evolving BBC Scotland’s news offer against the backdrop of changing audience consumption habits. We also learned about the wider portfolio of programming which distinguishes BBC Scotland from other news providers.

There is currently a debate around the Scottish Six; a proposed 60 minute news programme that replaces the current Six O’clock news from London, while encompassing the current 6.30pm Reporting Scotland programme, the most watched news programme in Scotland. It is felt that with the current devolved powers i.e. education, health, law and some taxes are not represented in the London broadcast, and that the value of an hour programme would better serve Scottish audiences. We were told to ‘watch this space’ as a decision is expected soon.

Aside television, naturally the BBC see the way forward for an increase in online broadcasting, something the BBC are already at the forefront of. A quarter of adults in Scotland currently use BBC Scotland’s news website. However, the most significant changes in the past 12 months is the creation of video content on social media, particularly on Facebook – with an increase in audiences of almost 1,300%! Gary sees social as an untapped market, particularly young audiences who don’t watch television in the way older generations do. Much of our information and news now comes on the move via apps on our smart devices.

With many people globally owning smart phones the speed with which we receive our news has increased dramatically in a short space of time. However, Gary pointed out this is the slowest it’s ever going to be moving forward – scary thought! With this increase we were warned about the ‘dark side’ of news… ‘fake news’! Basically translated as stories that are not true, copied and repurposed globally before they can be stopped. This was very prevalent during the Trump vs Clinton campaign. To help combat this the BBC is using a cross platform device called “Reality Check’ to help re-establish faith in the facts.

Following Gary’s presentation on the ‘changing face of broadcasting news’ within the BBC we had a lively Q&A covering broadcasting, license fees north of the border and online content.

We thank Gary and BBC Scotland for giving us an insight into how the BBC is changing over the coming months and years and would welcome them back to follow up on progress in the not too distant future.

Book your space now for March’s Communications Breakfast, which sees Kissing with Confidence CEO Russell Wardrop present on ‘How to be a rainmaker’

Photos by Great Scot Photography

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