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Forty Years of BBC Radio News

From the Swinging Sixties to the Turbulent Noughties

Anya Luscombe

In this case study of BBC Radio News, that shows how radio journalism has changed since the 1960s, the author paints a picture of the changing nature of the profession and the style of writing. She draws on interviews with practitioners, BBC official documents, style guides and output. Whilst the BBC Radio newsroom itself has changed a great deal between 1966 and 2008, the main aim of informing the public about what has happened has stayed the same. Many of the news writers are concerned about increased workloads and competition from 24-hour news outlets and its impact on the accuracy (of content and language) of BBC radio bulletins. The BBC News Style Guide charts the changes in the language since the 1960s.


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The research for this book would not have been possible with- out the tremendous help of many people at the BBC; not least the many interviewees who were happy to give up their valua- ble time to speak to me. There are too many to mention all in- dividually, but I do wish to express my gratitude to each and everyone who helped. In particular I wish to thank Steve Mitch- ell, Rod McKenzie and John Allen. I could not have done any of this without the patient advice from Trish Hayes at the BBC Written Archives Centre. I wish to thank a great number of people for giving me in- spiration and advice. They include, but are by no means limited to: my family; Sean Street, former Professor of Radio at Bournemouth University, for encouraging me to take up re- search into radio and for allowing me to use parts of his won- derful poems; Mart-Jan de Jong for his enthusiasm for the sub- ject; Hans Adriaansens; Michael Burke, Chad Weidner and Kathrin Steigerwald. A thank you also to the staff of Peter Lang academic publishers.

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