Eight O'Clock summary
Tonight we're launching a new news summary on BBC One at 8pm (which I first wrote about here back in May). There'll be a UK section presented by Kate Silverton and a local section from each of the BBC Nations and Regions.
The reason why it was commissioned is simple: audience research revealed that while BBC News remains extremely popular, it could do more to attract younger audiences and what the Americans call "blue collar workers". We discovered many people in these groups found traditional news programmes didn't speak to them and would prefer a different approach.
Before it's even been broadcast, the summary has already attracted a substantial number of column inches - even making the front page of Saturday's Daily Telegraph (though I'm not naïve enough to think this was more about the fine points of BBC editorial policy, than the large image of Kate Silverton).
Many of the articles have claimed this is an example of the BBC "dumbing down" - I believe this is wrong for a number of reasons:
1) The summary is an extra offering from BBC News. It won't replace anything - the Six and Ten O'Clock News, News 24 and Newsnight will still continue to offer a broad range of stories, analysis and debate.
2) It won't ignore the key stories of the day, but will tell them in an accessible way.
3) Encouraging as many people as possible to be interested in the news is surely a good thing, and one of the primary reasons why the BBC exists.
Many people rightly have very strong feelings about how BBC News is presented - I hope they will understand that different groups have different needs and tastes, and the BBC should aim to inform as many of them as it can.