Thursday, 6 July 2017

The BBC bought nearly 70,000 Guardians and over 63,00 Daily Mails last year - they're both free on the web!

Anybody at the BBC who genuinely needs to read the Guardian and the Mail on a daily basis for work purposes and isn't paid over £100,000 a year (i.e. most journalists) will undoubtedly have access to a desktop computer, a smartphone and a tablet. Most of these devices will presumably have been paid for by the BBC. The Guardian and the Mail are both available for free online - and the online versions will obviously be more up-to-date than the physical versions, and will therefore be of more use to journalists. Which leaves us with the question...

...-  why, in the case of the Guardian, is the BBC spending  £139,000 a year of license-payers' money buying a ridiculously large number of copies of a loss-making newspaper with a small circulation (running at around 160,000 - a third of what the Telegraph sells), and which is filled with ridiculous left-wing tosh?

I'll admit to being tired of newspaper stories about BBC executives spending too much money on taxis and "business" lunches - it's a huge organisation and, whether or not you think it should exist at all, it doesn't spend all that much on these items (they've been embarrassed into tackling wanton overspending in these areas over the years). Salaries and the size of the middle-management pool are still major issues, on which the BBC's track record remains distinctly patchy. But spending money it doesn't need to spend on newspapers that are available for free and constantly updated online strikes me as very bad optics (as they say these days).

When I received my first promotion after working for BBC News for a year back in the '80s, my boss (who still works there - in fact, he runs the place) informed me that I would now be eligible for a generous daily newspaper allowance. This was a relief, as I'd been spending a small fortune on the damned things while scrambling to get up to speed. He also remarked that I'd no doubt stop buying newspapers altogether now that I was being financed to do so, because that's what everybody did when they qualified for the allowance. I discovered that this was indeed what everybody did: I've just never been able to figure out why. Needless to say, I instantly followed suit. Weird.

Meanwhile, I see that the new No. 10 Director of Communications is Robbie Gibb - the Head of BBC Westminster rather than the deceased BeeGee. As Gibb (whose brother Nick is a junior education minster) was in charge of the Daily and Sunday Politics, I  just hope it doesn't mean that the sainted Andrew Neil - the Beeb's only openly right-wing news/current affairs presenter - has lost an ally and protector.

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