Olympics proof that local journalism matters, says former BBC boss

By Jamie Smith

Roger Mosley at Leeds Trinity's Journalism Week

Roger Mosey at Leeds Trinity’s Journalism Week

The BBC will have to ditch the partisan attitude it adopted during the 2012 Olympics and go back to its traditional unbiased coverage for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, according to the corporation’s former editorial director.

Roger Mosey, who organised the BBC’s London Olympic broadcasts, told students at Leeds Trinity University that supporting team GB was openly accepted.

However, he said there was concern in the BBC about July’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, when the company will be broadcasting to English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish audiences, and will have to be impartial.

Roger also said covering events like the Olympics meant journalists could not appreciate it as much as their audience.

“I spent every day thinking everything was going to go pear-shaped. I think everyone did. You don’t enjoy the event as much because you’re working, waiting for your briefs and your copy,” he said.

As well as partisanship and patriotism, women in sports reporting, the future of free to air local radio and the balance between news and sport were also major subjects of the speech and the question and answer session that followed.

Roger Mosley and post-grad Jamie Smith

Roger Mosey and post-grad Jamie Smith

He said one of his proudest achievements was making the Olympics matter to local audiences and localism should continue to be the focus of the BBC and the media in general.

Roger said: “Syndicated reporting is not ideal on local radio. We don’t want it all coming from a shed in Milton Keynes.”

He also told the students of his pride at employing far more women than average in the male dominated industry of sport reporting, including Leeds Trinity Chancellor Gabby Logan, who will be speaking at Journalism Week on Wednesday.

Roger said: “Many of the BBC’s strongest sports reporters are women in an area where they are under-represented.”

Roger’s entire speech:

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