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29 October 2014
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23.07.02

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Ground breaking union agreement set to transform TV news journalism


A ground breaking multi-skilling agreement, enabling television news staff to report, shoot and edit their own news material, has been signed by the BBC's Nations and Regions division with the NUJ and BECTU trades unions.


The scale of this agreement is unique in UK broadcasting.


It will lead to training in Personal Digital Production (PDP) for up to 150 staff from both journalism and craft and production backgrounds over the next 12 months.


It is anticipated that up to 100 staff will be appointed to new roles as Video Journalists during this period.


The agreement follows the successful experiment of training more than 50 volunteer staff from both news and craft backgrounds in new digital production techniques (PDP) in a series of courses led by Michael Rosenblum.


Video Journalists will now be introduced progressively as part of a "mixed economy" alongside traditional journalism and craft roles in the BBC's regional TV newsrooms in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the 14 regional news centres across England.


A higher proportion will be appointed in areas where the BBC is establishing new local services like Oxford and Hull.


Staff will be appointed through open competition and by direct recognition of individuals who meet the VJ criteria over a three month assessment period.


The BBC is committed to equal opportunities for all staff, whether they are from a journalism, craft, production or technical background.


As part of the same process of expanding journalism capacity across the Nations and Regions, up to 110 journalists in the English Regions will also be promoted to Senior Broadcast Journalist, bringing the ratio of senior posts into line with the Nations.


No staff posts will be made redundant as a result of any of these changes.


Latest BARB figures show the BBC's Nations and Regions are already enjoying unprecedented success.


The 6.30pm news slot on BBC ONE has become the most watched news slot anywhere on British television, with an average 30% share in May 2002.


ITV regional news at 6.00pm had a 20% share in the same month.


"Our aim is to build on our current success to provide viewers in every part of the United Kingdom with journalism of unmatched quality and range," said BBC Director of Nations and Regions Pat Loughrey.


"This new multi-skilling agreement is a major breakthrough which paves the way for us to cover more stories across the Nations and Regions with more journalists and cameras on the road than ever before."


He praised the trades unions for their constructive attitude towards the new approach.


"There has been a real spirit of collaboration and trust," he said.


"This has created the opportunity for BBC Nations and Regions to take its place at the forefront of best practice in modern television journalism."


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