BBC staff are worried that the upcoming merger will “crash and burn” like former Prime Minister Liz Truss. Last week, the staff of the news channel were informed about the plans to launch a new channel on April 3 with pilots beginning on Monday and a dry run scheduled from March 6.
The channel is to replace the domestic service and BBC World News network.
The staff was assured that “it won’t be a big bang moment”; instead there would be “a lot of trial and error” for a few months.
However, it has led to a number of mixed reactions among the staff.
A senior journalist involved in the venture was heard dismissing its chances of success, reported The Times.
The insider told the publication: “It’s going to crash and burn like Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s experiment.”
Naja Nielsen, director of digital and channels, Jess Brammar, the channel editor, and Paul Royall, her incoming maternity cover replacement, told staff about the plans on Tuesday.
Plans are on to make the channel more dynamic than its predecessors.
According to the new plans, the presenters will leave their desks to roam the studio, showing the newsroom as part of the BBC’s push towards transparency and impartiality.
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An “evidence hub” will feature a reporter standing in front of three giant interactive screens to show how footage is verified and fake news debunked, while small cameras dotted around the newsroom will show correspondents at their desks working on stories.
Other innovations being considered include red button channels to offer UK viewers in-depth coverage of stories unlikely to appeal to a global audience.
An insider told The Times: “The resignation of Nicola Sturgeon was a huge domestic story but viewers in America are unlikely to have heard of the SNP.
“So that story seems unlikely to feature prominently on the new channel.
“There are questions about how license fee payers will feel about paying for news about Bangladesh when they want to know what’s going on in Bristol.”
The source said the BBC was retreating from domestic news when the heavily-politicised GB News was advancing, leaving Sky News as the only balanced daily news operator.
Senior staff are confident about the channel’s ability to survive, taking heart from the foundations on which it will build.
A senior executive told the publication: “We aren’t blowing the channels up but will be able to build on all of the essential components of the existing news channels.”
Another editor said: “People seem to be in two camps.
“Either they think it’s a smart way to evolve or it’s a terrible idea which will kill off the channel.”