The BBC's James Harding

The BBC’s James Harding

The BBC has this afternoon released the first of its Future of News reports and suggests the corporation should look at how it can better serve local audiences who have been left with a reduced service from the regional newspaper publishers.

As we often report here at Prolific North, the big newspaper publishers of Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press and Newsquest, have made structural changes and cuts to their titles in recent years, a picture mirrored across the UK as well as here in the north of England.

The report says a combination of devolved power and a decline in the regional press is creating a real need for local news to fill a growing void in both information and accountability.

This, BBC director of BBC news and current affairs James Harding says, means the BBC will ‘have to think about how to deliver on its mission to inform beyond broadcasting.’

“To make this happen, It has a singular responsibility to provide the best quality global news coverage to people in the UK and audiences who sorely need it around the world. In local news, devolution and the relative decline of the regional press are creating a democratic deficit – the BBC needs to consider how it can better serve people in the cities, the regions and the four nations of the whole of the UK.

“The job of the news is to keep everyone informed – to enable us to be better citizens, equipped with what we need to know. In the exciting, uneven and noisy internet age, the need for news – accurate and fair, insightful and independent – is greater than ever.”

You can read his full speech here.

The report, commissioned by Harding is intended to capture the many different views of what’s happening in the news industry as a whole and set out the thinking that will shape BBC News’ plans for the future.

The second part will follow, when BBC News presents detailed proposals as part of the BBC’s overall case for the renewal of the Royal Charter.

Read the full report here.