It’s been a rough few months for the old British Broadcasting Corporation. With the many criticisms of its coverage of the general election still ringing in its ears, it has seen a surprise fall in the proportion of the British public who see it as a trustworthy source of news. The new Tory government has also been hinting heavily it will review the validity of the license fee in this new era of subscription services. Last week it drew ire for the brutal and mishandled axing of the Victoria Derbyshire show, which has been lauded over the past few years as being a bastion of the sort of public interest journalism the BBC is publicly funded to provide. And now, they have announced cutting 450 jobs in the newsroom.
Little wonder, then, that director general Tony Hall chose last week to step down – with some interpreting it as a pre-emptive move to prevent further strictures being placed on its ability to report on a sitting government.
The reality is, though, that the issues facing the BBC run too deep to be sorted with a single resignation. The entertainment and news worlds have changed, with subscription to entertainment services the norm and the manner in which we increasingly consume news fundamentally changing. Those critical of the BBC have pointed out that it has been slow to adapt – and then when it has, it has done so poorly.