The birth of the British Broadcasting Corporation
The first public broadcasts where actually commissioned by the Daily Mails’ Lord Northcliffe, this is unsurprising as Northcliffe came into ownership of many major British newspapers in the early 1920’s. It was not until 1922 that this regular broadcasting service became the British Broadcasting Company, and later the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927. At this time the BBC was headed by Director General John Reith. Reith avoided government intervention and was even well known for refusing requests from politicians.
During World War II, there was a desperate public need for accurate, reliable news. Reith continued his strategy of truth and with the help from advances in technology successfully reached audiences across Great Britain.
With the rise of television and the creation of Britain’s first independent television station, there came an end to the 18 year monopoly of the BBC. Advertisements where introduced for the first time and a regular framework for commercial TV was put in place by Reith.
Further technological advances created a network of media across the world. BBC News is now available over a multitude of platforms such as digital satellite and cable channels. The BBC World Service is now accessible in over 200 countries and reaches an estimated weekly audience of 166 million globally. (BBC)
However, the corporation has not stood for 93 years without its hardships. In 2003, the BBC faced scrutiny during the Hutton Inquiry. A BBC Today report accused Blair’s government of ‘sexing up’ the content it released to the public over the Iraq war. Chief spin Alastair Campbell hit back and the BBC’s David Kelly was in the firing line. Kelly later allegedly took his own life which lead to a public inquiry by Lord Hutton.
Despite the BBC’s many mistakes, it is a corporation that has truly stood the test of time. It has set a standard for journalism worldwide and is continually working with technology to ever improve its media service.