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About Brian Winston

Brian Winston is lincoln professor at the university of Lincoln. He is the author of numerous books on the media, has run media studies departments at universities in the UK and the USA, and, in 1985, won an Emmy award. 

Articles by Brian Winston

This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

No broadcaster is an island

The fragility of the BBC’s independence from the state cannot continue to be ignored. Nor can its overall future be discussed in a silo.

Writing the BBC: the perils of historiography

Jean Seaton’s book on BBC in the 70s and 80s has been widely faulted. But is there some intrinsic reason why writing histories of the BBC is so difficult?  

This is getting silly

The English elite’s scare tactics in the run-up to the Scottish referendum involved promising to stop the game by taking away their balls – the pound, the pensions, Queen Elizabeth (1st of Scotland, notwithstanding) and, of course, the BBC. Some threats clearly addressed real matters of difficulty but, says Brian Winston, the removal of the BBC was merely silly.

What do you do with a problem like ‘news’?

The BBC Trust has a new chair but the problems of the BBC’s constitutional position – problems which centre on news provision – are scarce likely to be solved by this appointment.

Smearing the windows of creative competition

Since its introduction in 1990, the statutory requirement that the BBC outsource 25% of its production has been elaborated. Now the Director General proposes instead a general free-for-all competition, not just for its own production budget but for all broadcasting. Why?

The Kaiser’s tailor and the naked invisible nudists

The real agenda: some proposals (eventually).

Introducing Tony Hall’s cunning plan: The BB(&A)C

Tony Hall’s scheme for the BBC’s future has been widely disdained as a willful desire to put the clock back to the days of ‘Auntie’ BBC, but Brian Winston argues it is more like a return to the brilliant deal that acquired the Proms in the ’20s.

The greater (and shorter) decriminalisation story: it's the physics of broadcasting, stupid

Brian Winston explains how the hypothecated tax and the BBC have gone together for the last 92 years like love and marriage: ‘you can’t have one without the other’.

‘monstrous flattery of the ego of the “common man”’; the BBC & the ‘popular’

Things need to change – there’s no disagreement about that; but the efficacy of starting with the closure of BBC 3 can be disputed. Whatever else is in play, the choice of a less than highbrow channel to chop speaks to a long BBC unease with the ‘popular’.

The BBC and Government: time for some more light?

The BBC’s independence is enshrined in, and protected by, its Charter – but, in most discussion of the Corporation, just how is a matter more of supposition than black-letter law, as Brian Winston argues.

Scotland's future: a new national broadcaster

Yesterday, the Scottish government launched its blueprint for a new Scotland. This week, OurKingdom is examining what it says. Here, Brian Winston looks at what this all means for the BBC.

Cross-media power regulation could return Britain to the 17th century

How do we regulate for news plurality in the UK? Beginning with audience share is a farce, and would undermine our democracy. Ownership must be our starting point.
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