Head of News & Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne has announced the first four production companies to be awarded contracts for Channel 4’s flagship current affairs strand Dispatches: Blakeway Productions, October Films, Nine Lives Media and ITN Productions. The contracts are to provide paid work and mentoring as part of the Channel 4 Investigative Journalism Training Scheme and output deals of delivering a minimum of eight programmes.
[pullquote_right]”Challenging, investigative, campaigning and revelatory journalism was at the heart of what they offered”[/pullquote_right]
Byrne said: “The awarding of these contracts opens an exciting new chapter for Dispatches. We were delighted that 19 production companies applied and it was a difficult task to get it down to four. They all gave us excellent presentations on a range of very strong journalism which gives me great confidence in the future of Dispatches.
“Challenging, investigative, campaigning and revelatory journalism was at the heart of what they offered and all four embraced with enthusiasm the concept of multi-platform current affairs. They brought fresh thinking to the grammar of television journalism and showed that journalism can be both swift and revelatory.”
“They are all dedicated to training the next generation of reporters and producers and working collaboratively with each other and the commissioning team. These contracts enable them to establish a team dedicated to Dispatches who are able to make fast-turnaround films as well as longer investigations.”
Blakeway Productions is a leading producer of current affairs programmes. Byrne said: “Blakeway’s extensive track record speaks for itself – they are responsible for some of our best investigations. Their experience and expertise in current affairs is matched by their digital vision for Dispatches.”
October Films is another leading production company which has produced numerous Dispatches films. Byrne said: “October understand the growing influence of social media and the need to increase reach, relevance and engagement.”
Nine Lives is an award-winning production company based in Manchester. Headed by Mike Lewis, former editor of Tonight with Trevor Macdonald and series producer for BBC One’s Real Story, Nine Lives has secured four commissions for Panorama in the last year. Byrne said: “Nine Lives are a fantastic regional indie who are developing innovative ideas and are committed to training.”
ITN Productions recently made the critically acclaimed investigative films Jon Snow’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields and Syria’s Torture Machine as well as producing a live debate about the riots in August. Byrne said: “ITN Productions is able to harness the fantastic journalistic resources of Channel 4 News – developing their stories into major reports and have the ability to get to air quickly with an original take on a story.”