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Is the BBC in crisis?

Professor Suzanne Franks contributes to a major new book which examines the roots of the scandals that have hit the BBC over the last few years and suggests some ideas for the corporation's survival.
by Ben

Over the last few years the BBC has been hit by a series of scandals that have seriously damaged its reputation. The Jimmy Savile revelations, George Entwistle's turbulent 54 day tenure as Director-General and public outrage at large pay-offs for top executives, have all left their mark on corporation.

The new Director-General, Tony Hall, has steadied the ship in recent months and the announcement yesterday that BBC Three will be axed has shown he isn't afraid to make tough decisions. But with just three years before the licence fee and charter renewal, will he have enough time to restore the reputation of the BBC?

A new book, which includes a chapter by Professor Suzanne Franks from City's Department of Journalism, aims to answer just that. Is the BBC in Crisis? brings together media grandees, politicians, PR experts, opinion pollsters and media campaigners to examine the controversies that have beset the corporation and offer some ideas for the future.

Michael Grade (Lord Grade of Yarmouth), former Chairman of both the BBC and ITV, former BBC Director of Television and Chief Executive of Channel 4, contributes an Introduction in which he makes a radical proposal for the structure of the Corporation.

Other contributors include:

  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, on the BBC's cultural mission. 
  • David Liddiment, BBC Trustee 2006-2014, former Network Controller ITV 1997-2002, on a revitalised governance system. 
  • Sir Howard Davies, Director of the LSE 2003-2011, on the 'need for clarity at the Corporation'. 
  • David Elstein, Chief Executive of Channel 5 1996-2000, on the licence fee. Tim Suter, Head of Broadcasting Policy DCMS 2002-2003, on 'A crisis of independence'. 
  • Professor Suzanne Franks, Department of Journalism, City University London casts a critical eye over the ongoing furore at the BBC around executive pay and pay-offs.
  • Vin Ray, 23 years with BBC and founding Director of the College of Journalism, on 'Thirteen days in the life of Newsnight'. 
  • Alice Enders, Senior Media Analyst at Enders Analysis, on 'What Britons think of the BBC'.Peter Preston, media columnist, the Observer, Editor, the Guardian 1975-95, on 'hard thinking ahead for the BBC'. 

The book was launched at a special event organised by The Media Society on Wednesday. An adapted excerpt of Professor Franks' contribution was published by the Press Gazette earlier this week.

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