BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ to Undergo Layoffs, Shift Focus to ‘Studio-Based Debates’ 

Programming will be cut down to 30 minutes as part of broader network plans to reduce costs 

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As a part of BBC’s broad restructuring efforts, Newsnight is to be cut down to a 30-minute program and more than half of the staff will be laid off, the company said on Wednesday. 

The long-running BBC show will be shortened by 10 minutes and will drop its investigative films to focus on studio-based debates as part of the overhauled format. 

More than half of Newsnight’s 57 jobs will be cut in cost-saving measures, leaving only 23 staffers on the program. 

BBC News and Current Affairs CEO Deborah Turness said the network is “in a tough financial climate,” and had to make “some difficult choices” as audiences gravitate towards online news options. 

Meanwhile, the BBC News at One TV bulletin will be extended to an hour and will be broadcast from Salford. The BBC also said it would dedicate further funds to digital journalism endeavors. 

“When we started work on this announcement, I did not know if it would make financial sense to keep Newsnight on air,” Turness said. 

“It simply no longer makes sense to keep a bespoke reporting team dedicated to a single news programme with a small and declining audience, however good that programme is,” she continued. 

According to Turness, “The new programme will no longer have a dedicated reporting team, but it will have access to our top reporting talent and experts from across BBC News, who will take part in the conversation and share their expertise and insights.”

In other news, the network is expanding BBC Verify with new roles including people with OSINT and policy analysis expertise. Additionally, plans for a new investigations unit will “bring together the best investigative talent across BBC News”, comprising of 39 journalists including new roles in financial and political investigations. 

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