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    Wednesday, 24 October 2007

    The future of the BBC: a selection of commentary

    There has been much rumination on the future shape of the BBC in the wake of the recent announcement by the Director General Mark Thompson of proposed funding cutbacks in response to the lower than hoped-for licence fee settlement. The main strapline has been fewer programmes better programmes. Newsgathering and factual programmes have borne the brunt of the proposed cuts, although for many commentators this movement amounts only to an overdue push towards the sort of efficiency that is standard among commercial broadcasters. Needless to say, many of those working at the BBC are feeling less than secure.

    These events have brought to the fore the question of what the BBC 'is for' today and 'will be for' in the coming decades. More broadly, what is the role of public service broadcasting in the digital age? An adjunct to this debate is the question of whether the current management team have the vision to pilot the enormous organisation along a preferred course.

    What follows is a selection of the wide commentary on these themes:
    The BBC pays the price of doing too much (Philip Stevens) - BBC sums don’t add up (Charlie Beckett) - The BBC empire has grown too big (Simon Jenkins) - Too much management at the BBC (Jeff Randall) - Cuts, confusion and the Corporation (Guardian leader) - Not so much anger as grumpiness and guilty relief (Mark Lawson) - Helen Boaden: The good news or the bad news? (Ian Burrell) - The Big Question: Why is the BBC cutting jobs, and how will the upheaval affect its output? (Andy McSmith) - Is there a vision? (Owen Gibson and Maggie Brown) - Analysis (Steve Hewlett)

    Ed Richards, the CEO of Ofcom, can be heard in conversation with Damian Tambini on 'The Future of Broadcasting – Public Service in a Digital Age' at the LSE on 21 November.

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