Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Hard decisions save local news, easy ones don't
As many of you will have noticed, or not as the case maybe, last week Kent Messenger Group announced 61 redundancies throughout their business which will still leave 580 with a job and presumably a life, I see that local councillor Ken Gregory (conservative) suggested or rather urged that "you all to stop supporting any KM company". In fairness this appears to have been in part a reaction to a friend being made redundant after 27years, but realistically what are businesses meant to do, when revenues fall, pray for a miracle or take the uncomfortable decisions which will safeguard the majority of employees jobs.

Directors of KM Group had to make a difficult business decision, which hopefully will also result in maintaining an important part of Kent's media, I just wonder if Mr Gregory has ever run a business and would appreciate the likely outcome of not cutting back overheads when revenues are reduced.

Local broadcast news is currently poor but because of a weak and feeble regulatory body OFCOM its going to get a lot worse. ITV Meridain are about to, lose a 100 odd staff, which will probably return local news back to the analogue age, when the southern TV company used to have in depth news coverage of events in Southampton and little else.

I cannot believe that ITV actually need to cut back on regional news, I don't doubt if it was possible ITV would be all quiz shows, which reminds me, how come as far as I can remember, nobody at ITV management has been arrested for fraud as a result of those previously crooked game shows, still I suppose we would have to blame another weak regulatory body, the police.

OFCOM made an easy decision to allow ITV to end public service broadcasting, not that Meridian has offered much in the way of local news, with its reliance of news from your back garden ( I can't remember the name of the feature where viewers send in video of local fetes or whatever). As I say things were already desperate at ITV Local as this request received earlier this year from one of meridian minions would suggest "I have just come across your Thanet blog and wondered if you would like to be a guest blogger on ITV Meridian?" ( I declined when I discovered there was no wonga involved).

Still where can you read news about the appalling plight of local broadcast news, Kent Messengers Kent online which will survive unlike local meridian news which wont.

Kent Messenger, Meridian Story click here

PS Lets hope local news coverage doesn't get depleted any further, imagine a world with just bloggers, making up their own stories instead of relying on professional ones.


  1. Judging by the quality and content of most news in recent years, I shan't miss it. Most good reporting is on the web these days. newspapers and TV are usually mouthpieces for some quango or political body.

  2. I worked for Southern television in Southampton in the 60's. In those days they were cash rich and produce religious, childrens, drama, country programs and even a pop program as well as the daily regional program. In those days all the local news was on film and had to be delivered to the studios, hence Kent news was restricted to a small Dover studio. It was a good training ground for aspiring broadcasters. They also had to demonstate that they were a competent company otherwise they would loose their franchise. But they lost it anyway not because they were not doing a reasonable job at the time but because of the Thatcher imposed free enterprise system.

  3. There's at least one free local newspaper which isn't a mouthpiece for quangos and political bodies in Thanet. It's all about trying, and perhaps not always succeeding to be fair, about giving both sides of an argument a fair opportunity to put over their views.

    Some opponents of China Gateway apparently got shirty when Thanet Extra dared to carry a story about the alleged advantages of the development - but it has also given the antis a lot of coverage too. Can't please everyone can you?

    On the Southern TV front,they lost their franchise because there wasn't enough regionalised input and TVS (Television Substitute as they were known) promised a lot more. No doubt Meridian will go back to the old ways of transmitting stories about Portsmouth and Southampton to us in sunny Thanet. Perhaps viewers in Hampshire fear the opposite!

  4. From the look of the ITV shake-up we'll be lucky to get anything as local as Southampton!

  5. The trouble is that the news area is too big, I am not really any more interested in what goes on in Brighton or Maidstone, than I am in what goes on in Milton Keynes or great Yarmouth, the technology is there for local TV news covering a much smaller area, but probably not the advertising revenue to cover it.

  6. One can hardly call the news that we get balenced in any Thanet.

    Surely this could get worse when the advertising revenues are coveted above all else?

  7. Sadly we in the south east have been passed over for years for local news.

    If you look at our television and radio coverage, only the BBC have made a real effort to provide a 'Local' service. For a short while we had TLR, but now this is part of a county wide service.(a small part). Southern TV only had a small studio at dover, TVS closed that, Meridien look set to close maidstone.

    Interestngly there looks like a challange to KMFM for the local franchise. One thing TLR did was to provide a focus for local identity, somethng Thanet sorely needs.

    I have been castigated for being anti KM, I am not anti KM, I am anti bad employers, If they were to treat their staff with a little respect I may be a little more laid back about the situation!!