MY post earlier this week about Ofcom’s report on the performance of BBC news and current affairs noted links between Cardiff University and the BBC which threw doubts on the credibility of the university’s so-called ‘research’ into BBC programmes. This was a central plank of the Ofcom report and a key ingredient in the BBC’s clean bill of health.
The blog pointed out that Professor Richard Sambrook, in charge of Cardiff’s school of journalism, was a former director of BBC News. It has since emerged that the ties go much deeper. Ian Hargreaves, who is Professor of Digital Economy at Cardiff, was Professor of Journalism there from 1999 to 2010, and before that a former senior BBC news executive. He now sits on the BBC Board of Management (the body which replaced the former Trustees). According to his BBC biography, he is ‘responsible for upholding and protecting the independence of the BBC by acting in the public interest and exercising independent judgement’.
Further, the BBC is currently moving into a new £100million HQ in Cardiff. Joining it there is the Cardiff University media department – and its students are offered newsroom placements by the BBC. In that overall context, it is hard to see how the Cardiff report for Ofcom can be considered even remotely ‘independent’ or credible.