Amol Rajan

Alex Mahon talks privatisation and the future of Channel 4

Session chair Amol Rajan: Did you interpret the new culture secretary saying that she is re-examining the business case for privatisation as implying that she and Prime Minister Liz Truss are not as committed to privatisation as their predecessors? 

Alex Mahon: We’re in discussion with the DCMS about where they want to end up and what the options are. I imagine they’ll look at the things that I like: facts, data and evidence. Then we’ll see what the coming weeks and months hold as they think about that. 

BBC Director-General Tim Davie on funding, impartiality and social exclusion

Session chair Amol Rajan: Is the licence fee the least bad option for funding the BBC?

Tim Davie: Yes…. If you believe in universal broadcasting… the licence fee, for all its problems, [has] enabled a few things: the BBC has been able to keep [to] its mission, it’s kept us independent [and] impartial; and it provides a certainty of funding in the medium term….

Amol Rajan to replace Jeremy Paxman as University Challenge host

Earlier this week, Paxman announced his departure from the series after 28 years at its helm. His final series will air from 29 August through to Summer 2023.

Said Paxman: “I’ve had a blast hosting this wonderful series for nearly 29 years. I’ve been lucky enough to work with an amazing team and to meet some of the swottier brains in the country. It gives me hope for the future.”

Rajan has been BBC News’ Media Editor since December 2016 but he will step down later in the year. He will, however, continue his presenting role on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Have We Got News for You? asks BBC Points West

Jonathan Dimbleby was in the chair to lead a 90-minute discussion – “Have We Got News for You?” – on the future of local news in the regions. The panellists were journalist and academic Roy Greenslade; controller of BBC English Regions David Holdsworth; Ujima FM station manager Julz Davis; and Trinity Mirror editor Rachel Sugden.

The event featured filmed provocations from Richard Sambrook, director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University, who charted the decline in print media and argued that there was a lack of local accountability.

Amol Rajan’s TV Diary

The general election coincides with my completing six months at the BBC. There is so much about my old job, as editor of the Independent, that I miss. But, on the whole, I am glad to have made the move, not least because my belief in public broadcasting has grown exponentially.

And for one reason above all. Part – though far from all – of my job is doing news about News.

News – the real stuff, made up of facts, and selected through wise judgement – is in big trouble.