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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Massive job loss at the BBC a tragedy for journalism

Press Release
Release date: 30 January 2020

The Chartered Institute of Journalists says the announcement of 450 job losses in BBC journalism will be a tragic blow to the profession.

The world’s longest established professional association for journalists says that British democracy cannot afford to lose this quantity of journalist expertise.

The Institute believes that the crisis in British journalism of contraction, exponential loss of professional journalism employment is not abating despite the recent Cairncross Review.

CIoJ President Janice Shillum said: “UK journalism has lost tens of thousands of jobs in the last fifteen years. So many newspaper closures and contraction of opportunity and coverage. This will be a tragic and devastating blow to the profession.”

She added: “A strong, diverse and significant BBC journalistic operation across all media platforms, at international, national, regional and local level is absolutely vital.”

She said: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the BBC licence fee and the politics of highly paid ‘names’ and underpaid women journalists, this scale of loss will be damaging to the industry and to a public service broadcaster that upholds standards, funds journalism training and is accountable to those who fund it.”

The BBC remains the most admired broadcaster world-wide and a reliable source of domestic and world news. The BBC’s news division has already endured several previous rounds of swingeing cuts, at local, regional and network level.

The Institute fears there is much less flesh on the bone than there was 10 years ago. Every round of cuts has impacted both breadth and depth of coverage. This one will be devastating and disastrous in every way.

President Janice Shillum said: “We must all keep campaigning to find solutions to reverse the endless loss of journalists’ jobs and the resulting damage to good journalism which underpins our democracy. Parliament, government as well as the industry must accept they have a duty to secure a better future.”