Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 10:16 UK

Regulator backs ITV news merger

A campaign to save an evening news programme in Cumbria and southern Scotland appears to have failed after Ofcom backed ITV plans to cut services.

ITV wants to merge newsrooms at Border Television in Carlisle, with counterparts in Gateshead and Glasgow.

Media regulator Ofcom says talks will take place to split the half-hour Lookaround show between local news and wider regional news.

Union officials have said the merger would be a "step backwards".

Adam Powell, Border presenter and National Union of Journalists representative, said: "I think ultimately ITV will get their way and Ofcom have been complicit in that.

Fresh consultation

"It is a sad day for this region because the regional news will be poorer for it.

"There is no getting away from the fact that this is a step backwards."

Ofcom spokesman Stewart Purvis said further public consultation over plans to split bulletins between local and regional news would take place.

Lookaround, on-air since Border Television's launch in 1961, covers Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders, Cumbria and the Isle of Man.




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