Licence fee freeze leads BBC NI slashes top journalist jobs…

Grim reading this morning in the Belfast Telegraph (h/t Nevin)… Hearts and Minds, as long expected, is to finally go. The production teams for three programmes will be to some extent amalgamated, and run on a rolling basis…. And some key assets are being got rid of, including Julia Paul who’s film pieces for Hearts and Minds have been some of the corporation’s consistently highest quality output:

Politics reporters Yvette Shapiro and Julia Paul as well as environment correspondent Mike McKimm are just three of the household names that may no longer be seen on screen as a result of a voluntary redundancy programme.

The corporation has been trawling for eight to 10 journalistic redundancies in news and current affairs.

The BBC has been forced to cut 20% of its £3.5bn UK-wide budget as a result of the freezing of the licence fee.

“The licence fee freeze has really hamstrung the BBC; as soon as that was announced it was inevitable that the axe was going to fall on news which has really been quite protected up to now,” according to Yvette Shapiro, who works as a reporter on the Sunday Politics programme and who has applied to leave in July.