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#AOPsummit: ‘Big launch’ in responsive design next week for BBC News

October 12th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Mobile

BBC News will see a “big launch” in its move to responsive web design next week when readers accessing the site on a mobile will be redirected to the responsive version of the site rather than the desktop version.

Chris Russell, head of product for BBC News online, talked through the shift to responsive design at today’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit.

Responsive sites automatically scale to fit the screen size they are viewed on and have been adopted by news outlets including Channel 4 News and ITN, plus smaller outlets including student-run site Redbrick.

The BBC News site has been in development for some time with “location and weather modules” recently introduced and video added within the past two weeks, Russell explained.

He illustrated the importance of making the news site a good user experience on a smartphone by explaining that around 10 to 20 per cent of BBC News traffic currently comes from mobile.

He added that BBC News “still wants to be in app stores” so does not see responsive design in replacing native apps entirely.

Asked whether headlines and other content needs to be written with mobile in mind, he explained that BBC News has been doing that for many years, altering headline lengths for Ceefax pages, for example.

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BBC News launches ‘responsive’ site as 26% of hits come from mobile

March 28th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Mobile

BBC News this week released a “responsive” site aimed at mobile which automatically scales to fit the device it is viewed on.

It can be viewed at m.bbc.co.uk/news.

More than a quarter of hits on BBC News come from mobile, including via apps and the mobile and desktop sites which are accessed via a browser, rather than desktop, according to a post on the Editors blog.

In an average week, for example, the BBC News site and apps are visited by about 9.7 million users on mobile and tablet devices worldwide, or about 26 per cent of total users to BBC News Online.

 

Writing on the blog, Steve Herrmann, editor of the BBC News website, states:

This new site is designed, for now, mainly for simpler phones, although you should be able to access it on any device. It will gradually evolve as new features and functionality are added in coming weeks, to the point where it becomes the default browser for smartphones as well.

Kate Milner, mobile product manager for BBC News writes on the Internet blog:

We’ve made it easier for you to skim through the news headlines and view the ‘most read’ articles. Features and analysis stories are also now showcased throughout the site.

We’re improving our coverage of live news stories for all mobile users. The live page format offers short form updates related to big stories as they unfold, for example on stories like the Budget and global news events.

She goes on to say “over the coming weeks and months we’ll be adding more features and functionality”, including video for those devices that can display it.

 

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BBC News: The editors’ views from the Leveson inquiry

January 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

BBC News has compiled a table of views as shared by newspaper editors at the Leveson inquiry, giving readers the opportunity to closely compare the standpoints of each editor on key points.

The table sets out “how the editors’ evidence compares” and includes key points on given by the editors “on researching stories”, “media regulation” and a “key quote”.

See the table here.

See Journalism.co.uk’s coverage of the Leveson inquiry here.

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Editor of BBC News website outlines live coverage trial

Over on the Editors blog BBC website editor Steve Herrmann discusses how the broadcaster is currently trialling some changes to its use of live pages to develop the format from simply being built around big news stories, to becoming a more regular feature.

The format has been a big success in terms of usage, so we’re thinking about what more we could do with it. We think the pages are not necessarily just about breaking news – they are also a real-time showcase of the best of what we (and others) are doing, so we’ve been wondering whether – and how – we could make this approach work as a regular feature on the site rather than just something we use around big stories. What would it take and how would we need to organise ourselves differently in the newsroom and beyond?

So we’re currently trying some of this out – you can see an example here. This isn’t the first trial we’ve done, and it won’t be the last, and the approach and format may change, because these tests allow us to get valuable insights into how we might develop it, what works and what doesn’t.

Herrmann adds that part of this trial will also look at bringing the BBC’s news and social media output closer together, referring to a recent move by the BBC to reduce its use of automated feeds on its @BBCNews and @BBCWorld twitter accounts.

 

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BBC News Android app now lets users submit stories, videos and photos

October 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The BBC News Android app has been updated to accept user-generated content and encourage people to send in their photographs and videos of a news event, something user of the BBC News iPhone app had already been able to do.

The Android app, which has been downloaded more than two million times globally since its launch in May, has also been updated to include the addition of homescreen widgets, improved personalisation and the ability to store the app on the SD card.

A BBC Internet Blog post details the changes.

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#followjourn – @chrishams Chris Hamilton/social media editor

September 9th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

Who? Chris Hamilton

Where? Chris is a journalist and social media editor for BBC News

Twitter? @chrishams

Chris is speaking at our next digital journalism conference, news:rewired – connected journalism, as part of the panel on “Bringing the outside in”, a session looking at newsroom strategy behind integrating third party and user generated content.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips, we are recommending journalists to follow online too. Recommended journalists can be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to rachel at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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The Economist’s Twitter followers click links, Al Jazeera’s retweet, study finds

August 5th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

A new study has looked at how six news sites’ Twitter followers engage and react to tweets. Twitter content publishing platform SocialFlow has assessed the Twitter audiences of Al-Jazeera English, BBC News, CNN, the Economist, Fox News and the New York Times.

The study is based on bit.ly and Twitter data from more than 20 million tweets posted by the seven million users who follow these accounts on Twitter.

It has revealed some interesting facts:

  • Engagement can be read in clicks. The Economist has a highly active and engaged audience in terms of both clicks per tweet and retweets per tweet, suggesting a high level of alignment between content posted and attention users are willing to provide.
  • Audiences differ in their willingness to consume and share information on Twitter. Al-Jazeera’s audience is the most active in terms of publishing and retweeting content on Twitter, while the Fox News audience generates substantially more clicks from its audience.
  • A large number of followers doesn’t necessarily translate into action. Despite being the largest account, the New York Times garners the fewest clicks per tweet when audience size is normalised and earns many fewer retweets when compared to accounts that are much smaller.
  • Timing and topical interest matter when seeking attention. By arranging audience tweets into topic maps, we were able to visualise the flow of attention between topics of interest, across the different audiences.

It is worth being aware that this is what SocialFlow does: it offers solutions to businesses wanting to maximise the effectiveness of their tweets by timing them to get the most reaction.

Click throughs

One of the points the study draws out is that where the Economist’s highly engaged Twitter audience clicks on links to the associated news article, Al Jazeera’s audience behaves differently. The study finds Al Jazeera English has the most retweets per tweet but followers are not necessarily clicking links – an all important goal for web publishers.

The takeaway for publishers is one of topics, network and timing, as the report states.

Knowing when an addressable audience is available and what topics they’d like to engage in is key to earning their attention.

The study also points out that a Twitter audience is measurable and this should be analysed and used “to inform content development strategies and marketing planning”.

While clicks bring immediate returns, retweets and other forms of audience participation raise trust and brand awareness, both imperatives for maintaining sustained growth. A high number of followers is not indicative of an engaged audience; a high click-through rate doesn’t necessarily yield other engagement metrics such as retweets and new followers.

By paying attention to long established demographics, collective audience behavior and the mercurial and fickle moment-to-moment signals, we step away from conjectures, generalisations, and assumptions, and leverage the audience itself in determining how best to interact.

SocialFlow has also created a Twitter visualisation looking at engagement with @AJEnglish. Topics have been mapped using over the period of an hour. The larger the topic node, the more it was discussed on Twitter during that hour. Click on the visualisation to download SocialFlow’s diagram as a PDF and explore it.

The full report is at this link

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Traffic from LinkedIn to BBC News jumps tenfold in six months

Traffic from LinkedIn to BBC News has jumped from around 20,000 referrals in January to over 200,000 in June, the BBC has revealed.

“Referrals from LinkedIn have increased rapidly over the past few months, but they’re nowhere near the level of referrals we get from Twitter,” a spokesperson from the BBC told Journalism.co.uk.

“Indeed in June, LinkedIn was still behind Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Drudge Report in terms of referrals.”

The figures suggest the dramatic rise in LinkedIn referrals – from 41,278 in April to 164,869 in May – is due to LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn’s aggregation news site which launched in March.

LinkedIn Today has been attributed by TechCrunch as the reason why LinkedIn is now a more important traffic driver than Twitter for its site. Those stats that have been further debated in an article on TechCrunch this week, which questions LinkedIn as a traffic driver as it is powered by Twitter. “Get rid of the tweet and you get rid of the referral traffic,” the article states.

The LinkedIn share button being added to many news sites also deserves recognition as a traffic driver.

Line graph of Twitter and LinkedIn referrals to BBC News. Click on the visualisation to see exact the figures.

LinkedIn Today features industry news for sectors such as ‘online media’, ‘public relations’ and the ‘publishing industry’.

LinkedIn users can also follow particular news sites, such as BBC News, the fourth most popular website in the UK, and the only UK-owned website out of the top four. It is curated by people within that industry based on shares on Twitter and LinkedIn. So a story becomes top story when enough people within the industry retweet and share it.

In order to become news source on LinkedIn today, news sites must contact LinkedIn’s business development team.

BBC News may have received a boost from LinkedIn Today but unlike for TechCrunch, which is a great fit for LinkedIn with its mix of technology and business news, the BBC site has a much wider scope. That is perhaps why the stats show that last month Twitter provided five times as many readers to BBC News, with more than one million referrals a month.

There is more on LinkedIn and how journalists can get the most out of the social network in this week’s podcast.

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Media release: BBC announces launch of web-connected TV product

Today the BBC announced the launch of a new product for connected TVs which, according to a release will see BBC News video news clips brought to television via the internet.

The BBC News product for connected TV combines existing video and text content from BBC News Online and will initially be made available on Samsung’s range of Smart TVs. It will subsequently be made available on a range of connected devices over time.

This is part of a “value for money” strategy to re-purpose BBC Online products for a wide range of devices. Editorial teams in the BBC’s newsrooms will work to curate clips to complement the 24 news channel and to run alongside text-based news from BBC News Online. And the control of what content the user views will be in their hands, with navigation via the remote.

BBC Worldwide is also said to be launching an international version which will be supported by advertising. In a blog post BBC Online editor Steve Herrmann said in time the product will also be rolled out to other devices in the UK.

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Linguistics student’s live blog of march against spending cuts

Hundreds of journalists joined Saturday’s march against spending cuts, according to the National Union of Journalists, with reporters and citizen journalists out in force to cover the largely peaceful demonstration.

One of those reporters was first year linguistics student Matthew Taylor, who set up a new website and live blog to gather Tweets from student journalists on the ground.

Independent student journalism site Elephant, which launched 12 hours before the march began, recorded 1,000 unique users on the day, with around 75 followers online at any one time.

Taylor, a 20-year-old student at Queen Mary University of London, created the site using ScribbleLive’s live blogging platform. Taylor said he wanted immediacy and accountability for the tweets included in the blog and by using the software he was able to use approve Tweets through a student editor.


Armed with an SLR camera, a netbook and phone, Taylor was one of around 15 students reporting for Elephant. The site’s editor, who was also watching out for new information on the UK Uncut blog updated by members of the protest group and rolling news channels, curated and checked tweets for use on Elephant with a delay of “maybe a minute”.

“We were second only to television as the fastest visual report on the day,” Taylor claimed.

He said he is now providing feedback to ScribbleLive as to ways the company can improve the distinction between comments from the public and contributions from journalists in a live blog.

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