This is not Bush House's last hurrah

By Alex Veeneman on July 12, 2012

Bush House in central London, home to the BBC World Service for over 70 years. The last news bulletin from there was broadcast this morning.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user redvers)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The views expressed are that of the author’s, and do not reflect the views of Uloop.

The corridors are empty and the mics are off in the vacant studios. It’s silent when it normally wouldn’t be, as the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the world’s finest journalism filled its walls for almost a century.

That’s the mood at Bush House, the home in central London to the BBC World Service for over 70 years. The last news bulletin from the historic building, read by Iain Purdon, went out on the World Service at just after midday British Summer Time (7am Eastern) July 12, ending with a special dispatch by the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson examining Bush House’s heritage as the World Service completes its move to its new home up the road at New Broadcasting House.

This is an end of an era in broadcasting, of a service that through Bush House showed the power of journalism and its importance to the world. I drew inspiration from the programs that originated from this building–the staff behind those programs, and the depth, impartiality and quality of the BBC World Service’s journalism was part of the reason why I decided that I wanted to become a journalist. It is the interest in the listener, the comfort of listening and understanding the world around you, and the ability to help you stay sane that keeps me interested and tuning in after finding it one night out of the blue a few years ago, as insomnia from an illness emerged.

But as I write this, and as the doors at Bush House close, I find the spirit of Bush House lives on in the employees of the World Service, over at their new headquarters and at posts around the world. You just have to look at the content. The World Service journalists who occupy the spaces of New Broadcasting House have Bush House’s spirit–impartial, accurate and original journalism for a global audience, helping one hour at a time explaining the world, and trying to make a difference in the lives of millions.

This may be the last hurrah of Bush House the building, but it is certainly not the last hurrah of Bush House’s spirit. The journalism that comes out of the BBC World Service will always thrive and prosper because of the spirit and determination of their journalists, inherited from a site of history to continue to inspire many for years to come.

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