Tag Archives: Channel 4

Channel 4 News covers Iraq inquiry with anonymous blogger

Channel 4 News has launched a new blog to offer blow-by-blow coverage of the inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war – with a focus on deeper analysis of the proceedings which have started this week.

The blog will be written anonymously by ‘a Channel 4 News reporter with a deep interest and thorough knowledge of intelligence and security matters’, according to a press release.

The reporter will also tweet updates from @iraqinquiryblog.

MediaGuardian: Channel 4 axing News at Noon and More4 News

Channel 4 is cutting its lunchtime news bulletin and More4 News ‘as part of a cost-cutting move that will place a number of journalism jobs under threat,’ the Guardian reports.

“Staff at ITN, which produces Channel 4’s news output, were told of the decision at lunchtime today. Channel 4 said the aim of the cuts was to protect the flagship 7pm bulletin, presented by Jon Snow.”

Full story at this link…

Benjamin Cohen, technology correspondent for Channel 4 News, tweeted:

“Grim staff meeting. News at Noon and More4 News cancelled. Wonder how it will be reflected on-screen tonight (…)”

Then:

“Tweet that Channel4 News at Noon and More4 News are axed spread like wildfire. Very tough story to cover I assume.”

Update: A spokesperson for ITN told Journalism.co.uk:

“We are immensely proud of the high quality programming produced for Channel 4. Whilst we are very disappointed that the financial challenges facing the channel have left them with no option but to reduce budgets, we’ve worked in partnership with Channel 4 to identify savings which will not jeopardise the quality and integrity of the flagship Channel 4 News bulletin. We look forward to continuing to provide the programme for many years to come.”

WSJ.com: Joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 could be agreed within weeks

WSJ.com runs a short interview with BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith:

“The commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corp., BBC Worldwide, and public service broadcaster Channel 4, could agree a joint venture within weeks, although it would be a scaled down version of the original proposals, BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.”

MediaGuardian is also running news of the tie-up at this link.

Broadcastnow.co.uk: Update on the Channel 4 / BBC Worldwide negotiations

Although no agreement was reached in time for the Digital Britain report, noises from both parties are positive on a partnership between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide. BroadcastNow.co.uk reports:

“Channel 4 is on the brink of entering the next phase of its evolution after the government backed a tie-up with BBC Worldwide and called for it to put renewed emphasis on content for older children and multiplatform delivery.”

More information in the story at this link…

Live ‘Twinterview’ with Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy (kicks off 3pm)

It’s coming up to 3pm, @krishgm will soon be ready and waiting – it’s time to put some questions to him via Twitter through our live coverage account @journalism_live. Feel free to throw in your own too, just Tweet @krishgm with the tag ‘#ch4’.

A bit of background: Krishnan Guru-Murthy is one of Channel 4 News’s presenters, based in the UK. You can find his full biography here on the Channel 4 site. Here’s an interview with commissioning editor Vicky Taylor on the channel’s web strategies. He has been Twittering since early February this year (first Tweet here). Channel 4 News has had a presence on Twitter for longer.

We live-tracked it here but we’re now reproducing the questions and answers from the Twinterview with @krishgm here. Mainly questions from us with a few from the crowd (order of Tweets altered or split slightly to make it clear). Enjoy!

journalism_live: @krishgm hello there! all set? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live #ch4 yep – here and ready

journalism_live: @krishgm great! here comes your first Q then… #ch4 journalism_live: @krishgm Were you reluctant to start Twittering? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i wasn’t reluctant at all – just a bit bemused. but people on twitter really help you – it is a very warm experience #ch4

journalism_live:@krishgm Was it your idea? #ch4
krishgm:@journalism_live yes i just wanted to see what the fuss was about so gave it a go, and within a week or so i really got it. #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm How has your use of it changed now you’ve been going at it since early feb? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live I also use it for random personal stuff about me and my life – i find myself opening up a bit! #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live but i can see myself and the programme using it more and more to contact people about stories #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think the most exciting thing is the way networks overlap – so people you are not following end up talking to you

journalism_live: @krishgm who does the Twittering for @channel4news – is that you as well? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live no not me – i do actually have a job too. identity is a state secret. like the banker on ‘deal or no deal’ #ch4

journalism_live:4 @krishgm ooo… mystery. Are you thinking as ‘presenter of channel 4 news’ when you submit a Tweet via @krishgm? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live sometimes i tweet purely with work in mind…but there’s a fair amount of personal stuff too. I wonder if it jars…? #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm #ch4 is Twitter beating Channel 4 to breaking news stories and is this something @krishgm is more aware of now? (@lauraoliver)
krishgm: @journalism_live i think it offers something totally different and not competing. we don’t do 24 hr news. we want to be best not first #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i must clarify ‘best not first’ comment. we do also like to be first where we can (i.e. scoops) but we not 24 hr news #ch4

Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Does Twitter in any way ‘slow down’ people at work do you think? Or is it inspiring and makes them more productive instead?
krishgm: @Britt_W yes! it does slow us down when we twittering rubbish! #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm and are there drawbacks of journalists sourcing via Twitter? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live you have to verify all information – so the same rules apply. i think there are potential man-traps – such as liars. #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm Yes, you recently Tweeted it’s ‘just a new medium’ for finding people – Or could you ever call people’s Tweets ‘journalism’?#ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live You can tell an accurate story in 140 characters so yes in theory it can be journalism. But mostly, no! #ch4

programx: @krishgm You and @channel4news have asked for user ideas/opinion on prog content. How does mgt see this? Infringing on their domain? #ch4
krishgm: @ProgramX well we have three meetings a day between C4 News and News at Noon where mgt are there and we discuss it all #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm #ch4 is quite conversational via its use of @channel4news – was that a deliberate strategy?
krishgm: @journalism_live @channel4news is a sort of window on the newsroom and all the bonkers stuff said in here so yes #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live we think its a mistake to tweet lots of ‘breaking news’ updates that are really just driving traffic to websites. #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm 140chs must be a constraint for conversation: any plans to develop a fuller blog for yourself? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live not right now. I think i’m better suited to twitter! a blog is hard work – and i write a daily email when on #ch4

TGRWorzel:@krishgm I think it is a good way for audience to suggest questions, if we know who you are going to interview
krishgm: @TGRWorzel i really love all the suggested questions for interviews. please send more #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm someone asked earlier if Ch4’s ‘freer’ tone was because didn’t have constraints of BBC licence fee? (@buffsrawlinson) #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live wouldn’t overstate it but yes i think that is a factor. plus we smaller, less bureaucratic, fewer bosses, etc #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm yes were surprised how small! http://is.gd/l6F5
krishgm:
@journalism_live that article obviously didn’t mention the 100 odd people making C4 News on the telly #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm of course! to clarify that’s just the website #ch4

journalism_live: You just mentioned that you now incorporate viewer suggestions into interviews?#ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live I don’t promise to incorporate (I don’t quote) – but they inform me when I’m deciding what to ask and what is ‘big’ #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm but again with being aware that people might have an agenda? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live yes of course – you wouldn’t just use a tweet as uncorroborated source. there’s all sort of bonkers types out here! #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm do you think inc. more informal tone and method will influence TV prog. content? #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think tv tone naturally changes with the times and often becomes more informal and more direct. it is one influence #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live i think there’s still so much confusion about what twitter is, and what its for in general population #ch4
krishgm: @journalism_live you keep hearing ‘we’re on twitter’ on tv/radio without it always being an interesting use of twitter that adds value #ch4

Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Another question: Are you divided in your views regarding using Twitter or are you all for it? Does it cause a problem?
krishgm @Britt_W nobody is against it, but lots just don’t understand yet why anyone would botherbeing on twitter. they will #ch4
Britt_W: @krishgm #ch4 Sorry, didn’t express myself properly. Meant: Is C4 STAFF (not just you) divided in their views ie some for – some against?

programx: @krishgm You’ve tweeted while on air, something @declancurry also does. Is there scope 4 making C4News even more interactive this way? #ch4
krishgm @ProgramX ssshhhhh! the boss wouldnt approve! I’m supposed to be concentrating solely on the show! but its fun. #ch4
krishgm @ProgramX as before – really like getting feedback/suggestions live on air #ch4

journalism_live: @krishgm and has there been any mention of Ofcom? Of course it’s a very grey area what they do and don’t police #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live never heard anything about ofcom – but our reputation is at stake on all media so we have to be careful. #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live and twitter is not overseen by an editor – so there are potential problems. blogs are checked before publication #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live god, i’ve just thrown up a massive issue there about overseeing output…#ch4
journalism_live @krishgm Vicky Taylor said journs are ‘prof journalists – they’re aware of what they can and can’t write’ so it’s not a ‘major prob’ #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live well that’s good and a great and supportive position from the Channel – until somebody screws up! #ch4

journalism_live @krishgm will pursue that one with more than 140 chs… Q from @gemmanewby – will twitter threaten journo/researcher/photographer jobs?#ch4
krishgm @journalism_live i can’t see why it threatens anything at all. it enhances. #ch4

krishgm @journalism_live last q….am going to have to go do some work soon! #ch4
journalism_live @krishgm yes, us too. a silly Q from @thespyglass Does Krishnan ever consciously compete with Jon on the tie front?! #ch4
krishgm @journalism_live well i love ties too and have about 300 on a wall at home, so maybe a bit. we have v diff styles. me flowers/insects #ch4
journalism_live @krishgm great – a v impt Q and insight to end on. Cheers Krishnan. Apologies to his fllwrs for hogging the chat. #ch4

krishgm @journalism_live a pleasure – lets do it again sometime. #ch4
journalism_live: @krishgm see you around. Bye for now! #ch4

Channel 4 News sources interviewee via Twitter for the first time

Channel 4 News sourced an interview via Twitter today for the first time. Over the last few months the channel has increased its level of communication with users and viewers via its @channel4news Twitter account and presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s own, @krishgm.

After setting up an interview with someone sending Twitter updates from the airport at which an aeroplane crashed in Amsterdam, Guru-Murthy tweeted “It’s just another way of finding people and talking. ‘Twitizen journalism’ is a rather dressy way of describing it I think.”

It’s ‘just a new medium,’ he later added.

This update comes from the news team:

“We got to a good eyewitness at the airport today via Twitter – then a phono. He described the plane ‘in three pieces at least’ and that there wasn’t any visible smoke and gave us good detail – see below on hearing the plane coming down and seeing over 50 ambulances, and possible survivors walking from the wreckage:

“An eyewitness – Jonathan Nip [@nipp] – talking to Channel 4 News initially via Twitter and then on the phone also described the moment the plane came down as a “low thump” saying he thought there had been ‘an earthquake’.

“He added that he thought he saw ‘just after the crash, people coming out of the plane’ but that it was ‘really hard to distinguish’, however adding: ‘at the same time a lot of ambulances came and a lot of emergency helicopters so that implies there are at least some survivors’ although he said ‘it looks really bad in any case’.

“Saying that he thought the speed of the response meant that the ‘rescue operation is being done really well…’ he described seeing ‘a lot of ambulances, I am talking about over 50 ambulances, even emergency helicopters, normal helicopters, a lot of police, firemen, huge fire trucks immediately after crash’.”

Background: A Turkish airline passenger flight crashed in Amsterdam today and broke into several pieces, resulting in an unconfirmed number of casualties: latest update here.

Channel 4 (part 3): BBC Worldwide could benefit from merger, says Duncan

More comments from Channel 4 CEO, Andy Duncan, at the House of Lords Communications meeting:

  • ‘Synergy’, ‘Pluraility’ and ‘Radicalism’ appeared to be the keywords playing on Andy Duncan’s mind, as he explained his vision of a merger between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide.
  • Channel 4’s CEO felt the broadcasters could be beneficial to each other, holding on to their ‘distinctive’ brands while planning bold strategies for a bigger and brighter future. The question was, according to Duncan, ‘how much synergy is there?’
  • He highlighted BBC Worldwide’s DVD venture as an example, positioning Channel 4 as the ideal candidate to, ‘unlock some of the constraints’ placed on the BBC in the cross promotion of this enterprise.
  • Any notion of the station’s identity being absorbed and lost as a result of the plan was shrugged off by both Andy Duncan and Anne Bulford, the organisation’s financial director. “At heart, the culture would be aligned,” she claimed. “You have to maximise the commercial revenue you can get from that.”
  • Despite claims that the channel would effectively be syphoning the BBC licence fee ‘through the side door’, Duncan remained insistent that talk of merger was only a partial solution.
  • Duncan indicated direct funding from the licence fee could still be ‘a valid option’ in the long term. Pooled resources, radical action and strategic thinking would be needed if value were to be added to the organisations.

Channel 4 (part 2): Duncan says channel is still key source of cutting-edge content

Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan also said at yesterday’s Communications Committee in the House of Lords that:

  • Channel 4 is fulfilling its role as a Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) by functioning as a gateway to new talent, innovative programming and contemporary content.
  • Commercial television was simply unable to invest in or provide the content Channel 4 is recognised for.
  • However, when challenged about the function of programming such as Endemol’s ‘Big Brother’, Duncan was forced to concede that it served more as a source of income than it did as the ground breaking concept it was billed as 10 years ago.
  • Digital channels such as E4 and 4Music were hailed as some of Channel 4’s more recent successes. Despite this, it remained unclear as to how these services were able to fit within the remit of Public Service Broadcasting. Current PSB legislation was ‘archaic’ in this respect, Duncan said. In addition, he said, online services such as Channel 4 Learning showed their requirements as a PSB had evolved successfully beyond the original vision of the law makers.

Channel 4 (part 1): Station plans to focus more on regional content

Following up on yesterday’s Ofcom round-up, here are further reports from the House of Lords, where Channel 4 chief executive, Andy Duncan spoke at a Communications Committee hearing.

  • Channel 4 is unlikely to move away from London in a bid to save money, although it is keen to expand its influence around the UK. London was the centre of the UK media industry, Andy Duncan explained to the committee. Savings made from any move were likely to be ‘negligible’ at best.
  • Although Channel 4 is already active in places such as Glasgow, Duncan admitted the station had relatively little presence in Scotland and other parts of the UK, outside England.
  • The station’s CEO said that they were adept at creating good quality ‘one-off’ shows. The challenge was to create more opportunities for ‘returning’ series based in the region.
  • Certain Channel 4 IP, such as ‘Dispatches’ and ‘Cutting Edge’ already allow for the allocation of programming and resources focused in and around the country.

Ofcom’s PSB review – a round-up

In its public service broadcasting (PSB) blueprint, UK industry regulator Ofcom made a series of recommendations for Channel 4, the BBC and ITV – there’s a video explaining the report on Ofcom’s YouTube channel, but for those of you wanting something more textual here’s our round-up:

Key points:

  • There needs to be alternative public services to the BBC – echoing Lord Carter’s comments last week
  • More choice for regional news consumers
  • Retention of the licence fee and no top-slicing
  • News content for ITV and Five, but limit level of public service commitments

Recommendations were given for each of the UK’s broadcasters in turn, but given news this week of potential mergers with Five or the BBC and yesterday’s pledge to invest £500 million in regional production and programming, here’s a synopsis of the points directed at Channel 4:

  • “A new organisation, with public purposes at its heart, should be established; Channel 4 is well-placed to be central to this.” This could potentially be funded by a chunk of the £130m-a-year BBC licence fee digital switchover surplus.
  • Full range of digital content and news and programmes from outside of London needed
  • Merger with BBC Worldwide, Five or other organisations not ruled out, but “[P]artnerships should complement market provision and ensure economic sustainability, accountability, choice and competition. New governance and accountability arrangements would be essential.” (Report from Telegraph.co.uk, says Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said there is ‘more of a tension’ surrounding a possible deal with Five)

Following the regulator’s market impact assessment late last year, which formed part of the BBC Trust’s decision to reject local online video plans, the report also reviewed PSB in the nations and regions:

  • Potentially good news for local newspapers in England (welcomed by the Newspaper Society) – “Ofcom believes that the Government should plan for an alternative way of securing regional news for the devolved nations and English regions from 2011”.
  • Plans for ITV and BBC to share some resources and infrastructure in England will be reviewed – in particular, how sustainable this model is.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has expressed concerns over Ofcom’s recommendations for ITV Local – suggesting a deal had already been agreed between the channel and regulator rendering a consultation on cuts to its local news provision meaningless.

“Ofcom has presented its proposals as a framework for saving public service broadcasting, but the reality is that this report has given ITV the go-ahead to cut its local output. It means fewer local news programmes and fewer local stories. As hundreds of editorial staff walk out of the door, they’ll be taking the links between ITV and local communities with them. That’s hardly in the interests of citizens and viewers,” said a statement by the union.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, gives his thoughts on the review in this Comment is Free article and on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.