John Whittingdale

The changing face of the TV political interview

John Whittingdale, MP, Minister of State for Media and Data, speaking at an RTS event said that in the 1980s ITV’s Brian Walden would devote all his hour-long programme to a set-piece interview with a senior politician.  

“Several times I helped Margaret Thatcher prepare for a Walden interview,” he recalled. “We don’t have that in-depth interview any longer.

What is the future for honest journalism in an era of Fake News?

Robinson, a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, argued for “impartiality as a legal requirement for television news”. Without it, as in the US where “right wingers watch Fox News and liberals watch MSNBC”, he continued, “there are no shared facts. Good public policy decision-making requires shared facts.”

“What Facebook does, and what separate news channels for different opinions do, is give people the possibility to have their own facts,” added Robinson, a former political editor at both ITV News and the BBC.

Ofcom: the BBC's first external regulator

Ofcom's Sharon White at the RTS Cambridge Convention 2015 (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Ofcom built its ­reputation as a high-powered competition and market-­oriented communications regulator. It is capable of facing down telecoms titans, mobile-merger tycoons and the ambitious Murdoch family.

But, as it starts the run-up to becoming the BBC’s first external regulator, it faces the need to change its culture and skills base.

Unpacking the BBC White Paper

The BBC holds a Royal Charter which sets out its rules and its roles; however the current Royal Charter expires at the end of the year and hence needs to be renewed.

The government launched a public consultation into the role that the BBC should play going forward following the publication of a Green Paper.

The Culture Secretary John Whittingdale who is in charge of overseeing charter renewal has now unveiled the content of the BBC White Paper.

Who should keep the BBC honest?

There is no need to hire Nostradamus to predict what BBC governance will look like in the future. What had been the most likely outcome became a racing certainty after the publication of the Clementi report in March. It should be officially confirmed when culture secretary John Whittingdale publishes the white paper on the renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter, due later this month.

As Sir David Clementi, the former Chair of Prudential, made clear in his consultation paper, there were only three possible models for future BBC governance and regulation.

The battle for news viewers

BBC News at Ten with Huw Edwards

This month, the BBC will unveil a longer version of The BBC Ten O’Clock News. The flagship bulletin will also come with enhanced production values. Even though the changes to the programme, fronted by Huw Edwards, have been under consideration for months, it will be seen as the latest round in the “battle of the bongs”, following the October relaunch of ITV’s News at Ten, with the user-friendly Tom Bradby.