Friday, October 17, 2008

Beleaguered, Becalmed (& Boycotted?)

Things are looking grim at the Oldham Echo. While the Press Complaints Commission deliberates (take your time, chaps) over editor Alistair Machray's blog posting about getting to know Catherine Zeta Jones a little too well, & the move to Oldham has been met with the threat of a reader boycott ( ), senior ears on Old Hall Street will have pricked up in alarm at comments made by Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, earlier this week ( ).
Lyons defended the BBC from criticism by regional newspapers that the corporation has an unfair advantage over local papers & commercial broadcasters such as ITV:
" 'There's nobody who can be satisfied with the quality of local news in most parts of the United Kingdom,' Lyons told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London this afternoon.
" 'The local press has nothing like the strength that it once had. It's not the same proposition that it was 15 years ago. Will the BBC make it better or worse? That's exactly the issue to be explored.' "
Of course, it needs to be said that a good deal of the BBC's local radio & TV output would make most observers fear for the future of the Beeb's standard of journalism. However, Lyons' words would have been sufficient to produce one of those tumbleweed moments on Old Hall Street.

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