Tory right-winger John Whittingdale’s appointment prompted national press headlines about the BBC and the culture department being ‘at war’ earlier this week – but the editor of the Yorkshire Post and the chief executive at Johnston Press see things rather differently.
Taking to Twitter, The Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post editor Jeremy Clifford said:
It would be good to see Whittingdale return the BBC to what they're good at and stop them encroaching on what we're good at, local news
— Jeremy Clifford (@EditorYP_YEP) May 12, 2015
While chief executive Ashley Highfield said:
Hopefully constructive progress can now be made on a proper relationship between BBC and local press pic.twitter.com/5dTr3LoHGT
— ashley highfield (@ashleyhi) May 12, 2015
It’s not the first time Highfield has criticised the BBC’s position in the local news landscape. Last year he told the Newspaper Society AGM: “The BBC purports to support regional press, yet seems to be wishing for its demise by questioning – at what seems like every opportunity – whether local newspapers are already dead.
“I suggest now is the time for Auntie to put on some different spectacles and start looking at local press differently: as a genuine partner to take the BBC to a wider audience.”
Clifford has also previously supported the Conservative party’s policies – during the election campaign his paper was unusual among the regional press for coming out in support of the coalition government.