News and Journalism in the UK

By Brian McNair | Go to book overview

4

BROADCAST JOURNALISM

The changing environment
This chapter reviews the history of British broadcast journalism from its origins in the 1920s until the early 1990s. Specific themes covered include:
• The changing political environment
• The changing technological environment
• Key legislative and regulatory changes.

From 1918 to 1979 Britain was governed by what Nicholas Garnham calls a ‘tripartite corporatist consensus’, which established a system of public service broadcasting as ‘one of its institutional forms of political and cultural hegemony’ (1986, p. 28).

The organisation of British broadcasting in the form of a public service monopoly was the result of deliberations by two government-appointed committees: the Sykes Committee, which reported in 1923 and recommended that, given the potential social and political power of radio broadcasting in the UK, it should remain free of control by the government of the day; and the Crawford Committee, which, reporting in 1926, called for broadcasting to be free of commercial domination. It was believed not only that it was innately desirable for a potent new means of mass communication to be exempted from harsh commercial imperatives, but that the fact of wavelength scarcity would tend toward a monopoly structure for the emerging broadcasting industry. That being the case, better that such a monopoly be held in public rather than private hands.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, as it was to be called, would be funded by its audience in the form of a licence fee. It

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News and Journalism in the UK
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Figure and Tables xi
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xii
  • Part I - The View from the Academy 1
  • 1 - Why Journalism Matters 3
  • 2 - Journalism and Its Critics 30
  • 3 - Explaining Content 54
  • Part II - Issues 79
  • 4 - Broadcast Journalism 81
  • 5 - Television Journalism: 104
  • Further Reading 140
  • 6 - Radio 141
  • 7 - Before and After Wapping 153
  • Further Reading 176
  • 8 - Competition, Content and Calcutt 177
  • 9 - The Regional Story 198
  • 10 - Conclusion 219
  • Notes 226
  • Bibliography 235
  • Index 241
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