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Larry Madowo heartbroken to see former colleagues at BBC losing their jobs

By Winnie Onyando September 29th, 2022 2 min read

CNN correspondent Larry Madowo has been touched by the plight of some of his former colleagues at the BBC, following the British broadcaster’s planned staff layoff.

In a tweet, the former BBC Business Editor for Africa said he is heartbroken by the impending decision by BBC to layoff 382 of their employees at BBC World Service.

“I am heartbroken for the 382 former colleagues losing their jobs at the BBC World Service. I am especially thinking of all the fine journalists at BBCAfrica, a few of whom I hired and have been proud of their work even after I left. It’s a terribly sad day for our business,” said Larry.

His sentiments came a few hours after BBC World Service announced a planned massive staff downsizing as part of plans to transform itself into a digital-first service. The BBC World Service has also outlined plans to accelerate its digital offering and increase impact with audiences around the globe.

The BBC, which marks its centenary next month, said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million, which unions blamed on the UK government.

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“Changing audience needs around the world – with more people accessing news digitally – go alongside a challenging financial climate. High inflation, soaring costs, and a cash-flat Licence Fee settlement have led to tough choices across the BBC,” the broadcaster said.

Apart from the massive layoffs, the proposals will see seven more language services moving to digital only, modelling the success of others which are already offering purely digital services and performing well with audiences.

In a move that could weaken the UK’s soft power around the world, the corporation will stop producing radio output in 10 languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.

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There will also be a change in focus of the World Service’s English-language radio output, with more time dedicated to live news and sports programming at the expense of standalone programs.

“There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences. The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing,” Director of BBC World Service Liliane Landor said.

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