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BBC Ariel

BBC axes Ariel in-house newspaper and 42 comms staff lose their jobs

By Hamish Mackay

October 20, 2011 | 2 min read

The BBC is making 42 comms staff redundant and is closing the print version of its 75-year-old in-house newspaper, Ariel.

According to PR Week, the move is part of a major restructuring of the BBC’s 191-strong comms unit taken in response to the frozen licence fee settlement.

PR Week reports that 26 of the 42 comms staff have volunteered for redundancy but that an additional 16 compulsory redundancies were subsequently handed out, mostly within Ariel and public affairs.

The media magazine quotes BBC acting head of press and media relations Julian Payne as saying: “This has been a very tough process for the comms team to go through. But what we have ended up with is a team that is ready to handle the future comms challenges that the BBC faces.

“Moving forward we will continue to promote the best TV, radio and online content the BBC has to offer while at the same time ensuring we can provide world class reputation management on the many corporate issues that we face.”

Apparently the comms restructuring will also see the creation of ten posts including staff to join a newly developed briefing unit, which is being created to pull together research for speeches, information for media briefings, Q&A documents, press releases and annual reports.

The BBC is also developing a number of regional posts in corporate and public affairs, who will handle regional stakeholder activities.

The restructure will also lead to the development of a new corporate publicity department located in White City, which will house the public affairs team and the new briefing unit, along with internal comms and the corporate press office.

The changes will see the BBC’s comms operation reduce from 191 to 143 jobs, including a number of posts that have already been frozen.

The redundancies will start to take effect immediately and they will be completed by next spring.

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