BBC Points West celebrates 60th anniversary at Arnolfini

BBC Points West hosted a stimulating live event at the Arnolfini on Wednesday 25 October.

The event, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of Points West, provided media experts with an opportunity to reflect on how far local news had come in the past six decades, and how much it has changed.

Long-standing broadcaster, Jonathon Dimbleby, chaired the event’s panel discussion, which featured David Holdsworth, Controller for BBC English Regions, Julz Davis, Station Manager at Ujima Radio, Rachel Sugden, Senior Editor Gloucestershire Trinity Mirror and Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism at City University, London.

Jonathon Dimbleby
Jonathan Dimbleby. Credit: Siân Yates

The hour and a half discussion looked at the future of journalism and the role journalists can play in their local communities.

Stephanie Marshall, Head of Regional and Local News Programmes for the BBC attended the event and says:

“The world is now a lot smaller, but what does this mean for broadcasting and journalism? The panel discussion looked at questions surrounding what communities will want to watch and listen to in coming years, what questions journalists should be asking, and how easy they will be to answer.”

Many poignant topics were raised during the evening. Sugden emphasised the responsibility of journalists to fact check their work to ensure they do not promote fake news.

Davis spoke about the importance of giving a voice to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Bristol.

Holdsworth discussed the BBC’s role in promoting diversity in Bristol, a vital part of their local strategy.

“Diversity is essential, and we need to think of innovative ways to properly reflect the communities we serve,” Marshall comments. “The future BBC strategy will be to challenge, champion and celebrate where we live.”

Appearing intermittently throughout the event were four videos created by a range of media professionals, each focusing of journalistic topics including hyperlocal journalism, fake news and accountability.

Stephanie Marshall
Stephanie Marshall. Credit: Siân Yates

Marshall emphasises the need for journalists to hold local parties to account:

“There was a radio story about a Bristol woman who has mushrooms growing on her walls due to damp – it’s so important as journalists to question and expose guilty parties – in this case the council – to ensure our communities are safe, healthy and thriving.”

As part of their ongoing 60th anniversary celebrations, BBC Points West is asking young people to send in their stories using a camera or smart phone. Winners will have the opportunity to present with work either at BBC online or on Points West. See more information here.

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