The biggest shock of my young working life was when, as a studio cameraman at LWT, I moved a stage weight to get the pedestal of my camera into position. A stage hand saw me do this and the whole studio went out on strike. It wasn't my job to move the weight, you see.

I remember a time when BBC news crews were made up of a courier, a sound guy, a cameraman and a presenter at the very minimum. These days Reuters journalists are expected to go out and be multi-disciplined, recording video and audio whilst writing in shorthand.

Inevitably, TV is becoming more efficient and productive. In the age of YouTube, quality is no longer an issue, so the major news organisations can get away with reports filed over mobile phones (well, they can until HD kicks in, at least).

So, today's announcements of job cuts at the BBC probably do streamline departments that need some reforming. But the fact that the BBC is to make journalists in their news, local and factual departments - the very flagships of the corporation - whilst continuing to invest in wholly commercial programming and ventures such as talent and reality shows beggars belief.

On top of the truly ridiculous salaries paid to senior management and the corporation's disastrous plays in the property market.

The BBC still has 20,000 too many staff, but most of them wear suites and push pens. Maybe they should learn to multitask.


Anonymous said…
I worked for an ITV franchise in the 90s. We were setting up a regular location shoot for a magazine show. We wanted to use a working cafe, keeping it real etc etc. So we asked the graphic design department to come up with the simplest possible "set" that we could use to tart up the place, hide the ugly walls etc. They immediately asked whether there was space outside the venue where they could "park the generators". We ended up paying someone's sister to make some cardboard icons and used blu-tak to stick them on the walls. I think these sledgehammer attitudes have somewhat gone nowadays, but I still know people who pay top dollar for Avids and specialised operators when other systems and multiskilled staff would save them thousands...