Three-quarters of BBC Newsbeat staff refuse to move to Birmingham | BBC

The vast majority of London-based staff on Radio 1’s Newsbeat service have refused to move to a new base in Birmingham, as the BBC faces the challenge of rebuilding entire teams from scratch.

In the latest example of the broadcaster’s difficult and time-consuming restructuring process, three-quarters of Newsbeat’s roughly 40 employees have indicated they do not want to leave the capital, company sources say.

The relocation is part of a huge restructuring of BBC News, brought about by a combination of cuts caused by government-imposed reductions in license fees, a political desire to move staff out of London and an overhaul of how the newsroom should work.

A Newsbeat employee, who is tasked with attracting younger audiences to BBC news, said he feared losing influence over key news executives who will remain in London.

They said: ‘The managers have yet to give a single example of how moving its youth newsroom 100 miles – without any other news service – will help the UK public better understand the issues related to drugs, housing, mental health and cultural appropriation. If they don’t listen now, then they won’t listen.

One of the problems for BBC staff leaving the capital is that they will lose London’s weighting on their wages, effectively forcing them to accept a pay cut. Others fear leaving London due to the reduced number of alternative media career options outside the capital and fear losing their place in the city’s overheated housing market means they may never return .

The BBC World Service’s business news production is also at risk of losing almost all of its staff after most refuse to move to Salford.

In either case, the reluctance of London-based staff to relocate – an issue Channel 4 also faced with transferring some roles to Leeds – could provide opportunities for local recruits. When Newsbeat’s relocation was first announced this year, The Guardian reported that a staff member said, “Good luck in trying to get some exciting young journalists to move to Digbeth.”

In response, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: ‘I understand that some in London have some tough decisions to make in the wake of the BBC’s announcement, but I will not accept mockery of our wonderful region. If you don’t want to come, don’t. We have amazing talent, young and diverse, who will be too happy to take your place. “

The issue came to a head after a long and torturous “preference” exercise. In a process described by a BBC employee as “like an academic application form that leaves people stuck in compensation”, almost all BBC press staff were asked to reapply for their positions in listing their three favorite jobs.

While this was designed to make the restructuring process easier, it has had the side effect of highlighting areas where groups of staff are deeply unhappy, with some managers realizing that almost all of their teams want to change jobs.

Some staff members who have failed to secure their preferred options say they are offered roles that are not suitable. Young employees hired for their digital experience were offered radio news editor positions, while people with no television experience were placed in television shows. There have also been issues with the integration of some of the BBC’s Disability Access programs.

Listeners and viewers will soon start to notice the changes, with many established names on the air having already retired and others preparing to leave. Longtime BBC tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones is among those who have chosen to leave rather than move with his team to his new base in Glasgow.

As part of the global changes, there will be a significant reduction in the number of journalists who work exclusively for specific BBC broadcast programs, with the same reports likely to appear in multiple outlets and shows throughout the broadcast. daytime.

The BBC said retraining would be available for staff working in new formats and a majority of employees would perform roles they expressed a preference for.

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