The new year was not so happy for BBC as it announced that money is going to be tight this year to its staff. On Wednesday, deputy CEO and Director of journalism, Jonathan Munro, emailed the BBC staff that a significant amount of funds has been spent on covering wars, elections and important sports events.
BBC needs to be careful about its spending keeping in mind its efforts to collect an additional £90M ($113M) that blew a hole in the pocket over a funding deal besides the ongoing cuts on content. For Munro, “it’s simple housekeeping,” when it comes to reminding the team that every dollar or pound that is spent must contribute to the yearly heavy lifting.
As reported by Deadline, Newsnight, the BBC flagship daily current affairs show , bore the brunt of the miscalculated expenditure as the show was trimmed to 30 minutes and relaunched as a platform for debate and interviews, after the £7.5M ($9.5M) savings plan.
Reportedly, insiders sense the BBC to be in a midst of a perpetual contraction while Jonathan Munro’s email remains optimistic. As posted by the Deadline, the email reads as –
“Happy New Year everyone
I thought I’d drop an early note into your inbox as we start a very busy news year. The wall chart of news events in 2024 is already heavily coloured in – which presents us with lots of opportunities, a fair few challenges and a significant amount of work to do.
Elections come round in all democracies, but never have the timings aligned like they do this year. Some statisticians reckon half the world’s adults will vote in national polls, or their equivalents, in 2024. That’s a lot of counting.
India – the world’s biggest democracy, the United States, Indonesia, Venezuela and South Africa are all definitely voting. Pakistan, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan and even the Solomon Islands are also scheduled. And there are more. Plus, if Britain’s election is called, it’ll be the first time since 1992 that it’s been in the same year as the US Presidentials (Conservative win here, Democrat win there); if the UK’s election is in the autumn, it would be the first time since 1964 that the campaigns have overlapped (Labour here, Democrat there).
So that potential overlap is something we’ll all be dealing with for the first time. An emergency resupply of live pages will be needed.
Also on the wall chart
It’s not just elections. 2024 is a year of other major events – the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris are sure to be of huge interest, as are the European Football Championships in Germany, where we know already that England and Scotland will play – the Scots having the honour of opening the tournament against the hosts. And there’s still a chance that Wales might join them.
That’s good news for football lovers. Avert your eyes this summer if sport isn’t your thing, but doubtless there’ll be stories springing up around the events which will be of massive interest to almost all audiences.
We start the year covering two major wars – in the Middle East and in Ukraine, as well as multiple other trouble spots the world over. Particular thanks are due to colleagues who’ve been on or near the front lines during the holiday season, including our colleagues in Gaza.
And thanks also to those who scrambled to the Japan earthquake – the first major breaking story of the new year.
Decision points ahead
All of 2024’s huge stories will play to our strengths. We have the journalists to report and analyse. Our verification tools are in better shape than ever – at the start of a year where misinformation and disinformation will be regular visitors to everyone’s feeds. And we have the production and technical skills to do all of that with immense quality.
But, we also have a challenge. In line with every other major newsroom, we will have to commit significant proportions of our budgets to these events. Undoubtedly more of our cash is earmarked up front than in any year in recent times. Obviously we also need to allow for the as-yet unknown stories which really matter, and to resource everything which makes us distinctive – interrogative journalism, eyewitness reporting, live coverage.
All of which means that we are going to need some patience. We won’t be able to back every idea or service every request. The bar for discretionary spending will have to rise, at least for the next twelve months. Working together to make our content travel further will be more important than ever. Every pound, dollar or rupee we spend has got to contribute to the heavy lifting which is needed throughout the year.
Let’s not get disheartened by that – it’s simple housekeeping.
Happy New Year
So there’s much to think about. But none of us came into the news business to endure the quiet times. This is a wall chart which news lovers will relish. Fascinating events lie ahead, some of them deeply consequential.
And with that, it just remains for me to repeat my wishes for all of you to have a very happy 2024.”