The development of the UK television news industry 1982-1998
This thesis examines and assesses the development of the UK television news industry during the period 1982-1998. Its aim is to ascertain the degree to which a market for television news has developed, how such a market operates, and how it coexists with the 'public service' goals of news provision. A major purpose of the research is to investigate whether 'the market' and 'public service' requirements have to be the conceptual polarities they are commonly supposed to be in much media academic analysis of the television news genre. It has conducted such an analysis through an examination of the development strategies ofthe major news organisations of the BBC, ITN and Sky News, and an assessment of the changes that have taken place to the structure of the news industry as a whole. It places these developments within the determining contexts of Government economic policy and broadcasting regulation. The research method employed was primarily that of the in-depth interview with television news management, politicians and regulators: in other words, those instrumental in directing the strategic development within the television news industry. Its main findings are that there has indeed been a development of market activity within the television news industry, but that the amount of this activity has been limited by the particular economic attributes of the television news product. What makes the provision of television news a worthwhile venture for news organisations is the degree to which television news confers status and political legitimacy upon its provider. To this end, 'public service' programming goals continue to be present in commercial news outlets.