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June 3, 2013

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» Radio shines at Curious13 Final Show

Radio students graduating this summer put on a live final radio show during the Curious13 event at the Atrium in Cardiff on Friday night.  Broadcasting under the Exposure Radio brand, it was carried live to the world on the student … Continue reading

February 20, 2013

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» Time for television to take over the Exposure brand

By Julie Kissick As one door closes … another one opens. Exposure Radio is done and dusted for this year, and we move on to Exposure TV. This is the first year the university has run this Major Broadcast module … Continue reading

April 30, 2012

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» Censorship in the Welsh media

The latest issue of the investigative website Rebecca includes disturbing accounts of two incidents in which the public were prevented from seeing TV programmes with a strong and clear public interest. In each case, ITV Wales decided not to broadcast programmes researched by the Wales … Continue reading

January 9, 2012

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» The Media Policy Agenda for Wales

As the UK Government prepares to publish its Communications Green Paper, the first step towards a new Communications Act, Huw David Jones reports on the priorities for Welsh stakeholders.  This blog was orginally published on the LSE Media Policy Project. … Continue reading

August 19, 2010

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» Spend on public service broadcasting in Wales falls again

The continued decline in spending on public service broadcasting in Wales is highlighted by Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, published today (19 August).

Expenditure on English-language TV programmes for viewers in Wales (by the BBC and ITV) fell by 16 per cent last year. Since 2004, spending in Wales has fallen by 44 per cent – the biggest drop in any of the four nations.

In light of the new government’s decision to scrap plans for an independently-funded news service on ITV Wales, it’s noteworthy that spending on news (on BBC Wales and ITV Wales) has fallen substantially.

By genre, the reduction in Wales was driven by an 18% (£1.6m) decline in spend on news
programming for viewers in Wales to £7.6m and a 17% (£3.5m) reduction on non-news/noncurrent affairs output in the nation to £17.2m. Investment in current affairs programming was broadly flat in real terms, down 2% to £2.7m in 2009.

The report does not cover recent, more encouraging, developments at ITV Wales which suggest that the network is rethinking its earlier decision to scrap its regional news service (a decision which led to the proposal for an independently-funded alternative). A number of journalists have been recruited for the Cardiff newsroom and there is an air of restrained optimism about the medium-term future.

The full Ofcom report – covering the whole of the UK – can be read here. The details for TV in Wales are accessible in a separate section.

February 4, 2010

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» Less than two months to decide the future of news in Wales

Hopes for a continuing – and improved – news service on ITV Wales depend on the speed with which a choice can be made between the three consortia bidding for the contract.

The chairman of the panel set up by the Government to choose between them admitted in Cardiff today (3 Feb) that they would have to make a decision by the end of March if there was to be any chance of finalising a contract before a General Election in May.

The Conservatives have made it clear they are opposed to the plan for pilots in Wales, Scotland and the North-East of England to replace the current ITV news service. If they win the election, all bets are off.

A one-hour session at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay this afternoon was the full extent of public participation in the selection process. Apart from a group of students from Cardiff University – and one from Glamorgan – the public appeared to be represented by interested parties from the Cardiff media world.

Gordon Main of Pembrokeshire TV – an experiment in local web-based journalism (who’ll be speaking here at the Atrium next month) – complained that the whole process of bidding and selection had been carried out without a real public debate.

All three bidders – in their pitches – promised a new start for journalism in Wales if they were successful, which was no surprise as the panel have made it clear they don’t want ‘business as usual’.

All three talked about ‘citizen journalism’ and offered people the chance to tell their own stories in one way or another. When pushed, they appeared to concede that it had more to do with a two-way relationship between the production company and the public than with turning citizens into journalists. People will be encouraged to contribute their stories, videos and pictures and, in return, the news provider will make its publicly-funded output freely available to local websites, bloggers and other non-commercial outlets. They were pressed hard on the need to fund real journalism rather than feed off enthusiastic amateurs.

The web, of course, featured large in all three plans. While the main evening TV news would be the ‘showcase’ (in the words of one of the bidders), the website would be central in all three plans (the UTV-led consortium’s site is already live at www.waleslive.tv).

So what’s the real choice? The biggest beast is Taliesin, which has ITN, the current ITV Wales news staff and what Clive Jones called ‘the Grand Alliance’ of media companies from across Wales (in TV, radio and many local newspapers) along with no fewer than four universities (www.taliesinnews.co.uk). He promised ‘the first comprehensive alternative to the BBC across every platform’ with ‘100 platforms’ to tell stories. The word heavyweight doesn’t do it justice – this is a truly big beast and that may be its weakness. It sounds as though it would be bigger than the BBC, raising the fear that it will limit the range of journalism on offer rather than promoting diversity. (At an earlier session, hosted by Ofcom, one of Taliesin’s potential partners had spoken of the benefit of more ‘consistency’ in the news – which would save people the trouble of having to choose between different versions of a story!) When questioned, both Clive Jones and Spencer Feeney, editor of the Swansea Evening Post (a member of his consortium) denied that all its outlets would be pushing the same story. Jones was the only one to promise investigative journalism.

The idea that a company from Ulster should be qualified to run the news service in Wales may not immediately ring true. But UTV’s news service is acknowledged to be good and beats the BBC hands-down. They own Welsh radio stations Swansea Sound and The Wave and they’ve teamed up with North Wales Newspapers in what comes to look like a strong bid. They stole a march on the competition with their own publicity van broadcasting the message in words and pictures outside the Millennium Centre.

Llanelli-based Tinopolis presented a very confident pitch, based on the wide experience of a Welsh-based company which has become (through acquisitions) ‘the biggest independent supplier of public service programming’ in Britain (www.tinopolis.com). Of the three, this was the bid which seemed to have its finger most on the pulse of the changing world of communications and the blogosphere; if that’s what the panel are looking for, this could be the one to watch. Rather than a heavyweight consortium, they’re selling this as a network of bloggers, local websites and professional journalists passing information in both directions. Their weakness must be their lack of experience in news.

There was a nice moment when a student tweeter asked each of the bidders to sum up the unique character of his pitch (ideally in 140 characters). Two pleaded commercial confidentiality. Ron Jones of Tinopolis highlighted his idea of an ‘open-source’ network, giving a helping hand to other new media to get off the ground.

James Stewart.