The effective merger of the old BBC News Channel and BBC World News has thrown up some strange editorial dilemmas.
Big news in the UK may not be of much interest around the world.
But perhaps the strangest example we have seen so far came on Saturday afternoon.
Phillip Schofield’s departure from This Morning led the 4pm and 5pm bulletins.
It is easy to justify this decision to UK viewers – especially as news channels often lead on what is new rather than necessarily most important.
Viewers in the UK will be familiar with the tabloid stories in recent days concerning the alleged working atmosphere on This Morning.
Everybody knows Phillip – even if they have never watched This Morning – and the risk to ITV if a staple, long-running show loses popularity and goes under is clear.
However the details of some tabloid stories cannot be repeated easily elsewhere.
Unless news organisations have actual proof that these stories are true, they could be successfully sued.
Naturally the BBC had to be very careful in what it could actually report. It had to stick to the facts it knows. It highlighted, for instance, the rows the programme has faced recently and its importance to ITV.
The problem is that this may have made the story look ridiculous and overblown to overseas viewers.
Presenter of daytime magazine show leaves – hardly earthshattering news.
It will soon be time to start to weigh up whether the new news channel is working.
There will be examples of UK stories which may have had insufficient coverage – and examples of stories which may have been of little international importance.
It cannot be easy for programme editors but the new news channel must find its feet or be made to work.
If it fails it could do real reputational damage to the BBC.
On the other hand, while ITV clearly wants to protect the future of one of its key daytime shows, this saga of recent days is unlikely to do the company itself any damage.
PICTURED: the Phillip Schofield story was the lead on the late BBC One news (10.05pm), as seen here. COPYRIGHT: BBC.
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