14:37 02 October 2009
Retired BBC news presenter Peter Sissons has expressed his unhappiness over the BBC paying huge executive salaries.
The 67-year-old criticised the broadcaster's "panjandrums" on "huge numbers", going on to say that the sharp divide in pay was "undermining morale".
Speaking at a Media Society dinner, the news presenter compared the pay deals with the MPs expenses scandal saying 'public service' was being lost in favour of 'pecuniary interests'.
He said: "I have been watching colleagues under huge pressure in the factory that has become the BBC newsroom.
"Poor kids, worn out, working gruelling shifts, paid not a lot of money but with big responsibilities, directing, producing.
"And then there are these panjandrums on huge numbers. If you tried to devise a way of undermining morale, you couldn't find a better way.
"They (top executives) are working in the public service, and all this is taking place after we've found MPs with their snouts in the trough.
"Public service is taking second place to their pecuniary interests."
Sissons also pointed out that BBC News had preferred its journalists to offer opinion and analysis when presenting stories, rather than just the facts.
He said: "I say go back to basics. Report on the news. The term 'reporter' is the noblest word in the language, not this term 'correspondent'.
"Increasingly, reporters are being invited by presenters to give their opinion.
"Far too much opinion is creeping into news reporting, with pay-off lines, to steer the viewer into what to think. Let them make up their own minds on the facts."
Referring to the ongoing ageism debate, he claimed that he and Michael Buerk had been taken off BBC1 news and put on News 24 in 2003 because news chiefs had wanted to freshen up the format.
Sissons continued: "Ageism is still the BBC's blind spot. Yet it is blindingly obvious that maturity goes with grey hairs.
"As for Moira Stuart, the BBC should offer her a job. She is a great loss to the BBC. I say, get Moira back. Why do they make these difficulties for themselves."
The BBC responded by saying: "We are not going to review Peter's form as an after dinner speaker. People know Peter has colourful opinions."
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