BBC announces restructuring and cuts to News

The BBC has announced cuts to its news division, which will see the BBC News Channel merge more of its output with international channel BBC World News, fewer staff in South Africa and Afghanistan and the loss of dedicated reporters for Panorama.

The cuts were announced today by the BBC's director of news James Harding. The cuts - a net reduction of 220 full time posts - are expected to save £48 million by 2017.

He told staff "It will be a testing time of uncertainty and change".

BBC News Channel and BBC World News have shared their overnight output since the spring of 1998. How the two services will merge other parts of their output remain to be seen. The News Channel will contain more single-headed presentation.

Other changes will see BBC Radio 4's World Tonight and BBC World Service's Newshour being brought together under a single editor. Six posts in Arts and Entertainment will close, despite the BBC's Director General Tony Hall recently pushing arts output on the BBC.

The BBC's World Have Your Say programme on the BBC World Service will be axed from next year.

Under the restructuring plan, a small team will be created to cover news stories from the Afro-Caribbean community and the number of political reporters and city correspondents across England will be increase to enhance local coverage. The move comes at a time when new local TV stations look set to overtake regional BBC coverage of local community and political events.

Unions have opposed the plans, and a strike, which could affect the BBC's coverage of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd July*. BBC newsroom staff have reportedly been angered by a steady stream of high profile appointments from other news organisations, despite the impending job cuts.

*Update 18/07/2014: it's been announced that this strike will now not go ahead.

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