David Keighley

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David Keighley

David John Keighley (born 23 December 1951) is a media consultant and right-wing operative.

Biographical information

Keighley graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1970. He trained on newspapers in the north of England before joining the BBC as a news producer and editor. He subsequently moved into PR for the corporation, and handled first the local radio and then the television news and current affairs briefs. [1]

In 1985 he joined ITV breakfast television franchise TV-am as Head of Press and Publicity after his predecessor Howell James was appointed a Special Adviser to the Thatcherite Minister David Young. [2] TV-am was then headed by the Australian TV executive Bruce Gyngell, with whom Keighley became close friends. [3] Keighley was head of corporate relations during Gyngell’s famous dispute with the broadcasting unions. Keighley wrote in 2000 that the unions ‘were the beneficiaries of antiquated agreements’ and that until then they had ‘wielded considerable power’. [4] The Chicago based Museum of Broadcasting Communications gives the following account of the dispute:

The controversy surrounding Gyngell deepened when in 1987 he took on the broadcasting unions in much the same manner as his compatriot, Rupert Murdoch, had challenged the print unions. Needing to trim the coast of his regional studios, Gyngell wanted to replace workers with automated studios. The unions went on strike and for many months Gyngell and other managers ran the service, replacing local programming with a high dose of repeat imported programs. Gyngell eventually broke the strike by installing automated equipment and recruiting new, untrained staff whom he trained quickly, winning in the process a Department of Industry Award for innovations in staff development. [5]

In January 1993 Keighley founded the PR agency Keighley Stoddart with and former Sunday Times TV critic Patrick Stoddart. [6] According to an online CV, ‘clients included Reuters Television, the BBC, Channel 4, Virgin Radio and Television, several independent production companies and a range of ITV companies.’ [7]

In July 1999 he co-founded a right-wing media monitoring company called Minotaur Media Tracking with Kathy Gyngell, a former TV-am producer and the wife of Keighley’s former boss and close friend Bruce Gyngell. [8] The company was co-owned and directed by Gyngell and Keighley. [9]

Minotaur Media Tracking produced a number of reports for the Eurosceptic think-tank Global Britain and for the Centre for Policy Studies. The great majority of these reports alleged a bias in favour of EU integration in the UK media (particularly the BBC) and several alleged a broader bias against right-wing politics and the Conservative Party. It also conducted the research for Beebwatch, a column which ran in the Daily Telegraph three times a week for two months in late 2003.

Minotaur Media Tracking filed an application to strike-off on 26 June 2006 and was dissolved on 21 November 2006. The company was superseded by Newswatch (officially Newswatch UK Ltd), which was incorporated on 6 September 2007 and co-owned and directed by Keighley and a managing consultant called Barclay Thompson. [10] Kathy Gyngell was listed as one of four team members on the company website along with Keighley, Barclay Thompson and the company’s main researcher Andrew Jubb.

Newswatch filed an application for striking-off on 2 September 2009 and was dissolved on 29 December that year. [11]

Affiliations

TV-am, former Head of Press and Publicity
BBC, former corporate affairs executive, now critic of
Minotaur Media Tracking, founder
Newswatch, founder

Notes

  1. PDF Copy of <http://www.booktribes.com/meet_the_team.htm>, created 18 December 2009
  2. JAMES, Howell Malcolm Plowden’, Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 [Accessed 26 Nov 2009]
  3. Former TV-am boss dies’, BBC News Online, 8 September, 2000
  4. David Keighley, 'OBITUARY: BRUCE GYNGELL', Independent, 9 September 2000
  5. The Museum of Broadcasting Communications, Encyclopedia of TV: Gyngell, Bruce by Elizabeth Jacka [Accessed 18 December 2009]
  6. ‘Media specialist quits for rival’, PR Week, 25 November 1993
  7. PDF Copy of <http://www.booktribes.com/meet_the_team.htm>, created 18 December 2009
  8. Former TV-am boss dies’, BBC News Online, 8 September, 2000
  9. Companies House, Minotaur Media Tracking Ltd Annual Returns made up to 8 July 2005
  10. Companies House, Newswatch UK Ltd Annual Returns, made up to 6 September 2008
  11. Companies House, Newswatch UK Ltd Company Filing History [Accessed 14 January 2009]