BBC News has today briefed staff about a £7.5M ($9.5M) savings plan, with BBC2’s Newsnight bearing the brunt of the cuts as the British broadcaster grapples with a funding freeze.
Reporter roles will be closed on the show, which has built a reputation for original investigative journalism during its 43 years on air. In total, more than half of Newsnight’s 60 jobs are expected to shut.
Sources said Newsnight, which currently runs for 40 minutes, was being “gutted.” The BBC argued that savings will be reinvested in a “BBC News Investigations Unit” that will serve all of the corporation’s news output.
BBC News CEO Deborah Turness said: “Audiences have told us how much they value Newsnight as an iconic BBC debate and discussion programme, and we’ve listened to what they’ve said – we’ve made the decision to keep the programme on air five days a week, despite the financial challenges we face.
“Newsnight has also been a source of great investigative reporting and films but we know that people are consuming the news in different ways, and it can no longer make sense to keep a bespoke reporting team for a single television programme. We will offer more to audiences by investing to ensure the best investigative journalism and reporting is produced – and consumed – across the whole of BBC News.”
Katie Razzall, BBC News’ media and culture editor, echoed the sentiments of some colleagues with a post on Twitter (now X). “Anyone who works on the show – & that includes me – will feel deeply sad today about the end of @BBCNewsnight as we know and love it,” she said.
Elsewhere under the £7.5M ($9.5M) savings plan, the BBC is cutting the news channel’s Our World strand and producing nine fewer hours of single documentaries for BBC2. BBC News at One will relocate from London to Salford and be extended by an hour.
The BBC said £5M of the savings are being reinvested into digital journalism and the new investigations unit as the British broadcaster continues its steady move away from traditional broadcasting.
“Like many businesses, we are in a tough financial climate and as our audiences shift rapidly from TV to online news consumption, we need to make choices about where we allocate our resources,” Turness said.