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BBC Editors Blog: ‘The end of Fortress Journalism’

July 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Interesting post – and equally interesting comments – from Peter Horrocks, director of BBC World service, as part of his essay for the Beeb’s ‘The Future of Journalism’ essay series:

“Most journalists have grown up with a fortress mindset. They have lived and worked in proud institutions with thick walls. Their daily knightly task has been simple: to battle journalists from other fortresses. But the fortresses are crumbling and courtly jousts with fellow journalists are no longer impressing the crowds. The end of fortress journalism is deeply unsettling for us and requires a profound change in the mindset and culture of journalism.”

Full post at this link…

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Reuters using Apture for multimedia linking

April 29th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Multimedia

Last year BBC News online trialled technology from Apture, which created pop-up windows to wikipedia pages, youtube and relevant articles from certain hyperlinks.

Now Reuters is using the the feature – predominantly on its blogs – to do the same, linking to images, maps, Twitter updates, videos and relevant articles.

The service ‘helps Reuters.com enhance its content with intuitive links to related information available on the Web, without directing reader traffic away from Reuters.com’, says a release from Apture.

You can see it in the screengrab below or take a look at Apture in aciton on the Reuters Fan Fare blog.

Apture on Reuters

The Beeb ended its Apture trial – despite positive feedback – but with the Washington Post and Reuters using it, let’s see what happens.

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BBC could share more technology with S4C/Trinity Mirror in Wales, says Trust chairman

February 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting

In a speech given to Cardiff’s Business Club last night, BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons added more weight to suggest more regional news partnerships between the BBC and competitors are in the pipeline:

  • More on partnerships: work is ongoing on partnerships in regional media with ITV; and between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide.
  • Could BBC enter into an IT-sharing agreement with S4C and ITV in Wales to reduce operational costs?
  • Revamp of Broadcasting House in Wales could benefit local media with technology sharing arrangements.
  • “Perhaps even Trinty Mirror could have a role to play too [in partnering the BBC for regional news provision], given their journalistic presence in Wales and their significant online operation.”
  • And, just in case you doubted it: “The BBC local video project is dead. We have told BBC news that it must come up with a different solution.”

Here’s his comments as a Wordle:

Wordle of Michael Lyons' speech to Cardiff Business Club

But, a note of caution from Lyons on partnerships:

“What we’re not interested in are proposals that simply transfer value from the BBC to other players in the market (…) Let’s make sure that we don’t inadvertently turn the BBC into the Lloyds Bank of the media world.”

Yesterday the Beeb’s Executive announced plans to link out to external news providers from its network of BBC Local sites.

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Guardian releases football data; BBC creates gossip widget

February 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

New releases from the Guardian and BBC for fans of football and online innovations alike.

First up, the Guardian’s new Chalkboards, which give users access to player and match data as soon as the final whistle goes. There’s a competitive edge to creating your data mashups too, as the best chalkboards will be awarded prizes.

(Here’s my first attempt below from one of my favourite football matches of recent times. And yes, I do live on past glories.)

Screenshot of Guardian's interactive football 'chalkboards'

Users will be able to embed the boards on their own sites, as the Guardian hopes to encourage discussion both off and on-site.

According to a release from the title, the feature is part of Guardian News & Media’s new product development programme.

Meanwhile (and a hat tip to Paul Bradshaw’s blog), the BBC has created a widget of football transfer gossip – most significantly, it aggregates rumour links from other news sites, which is part of the Beeb’s remit to make better use of external links.

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SoE08: What next for local media?

November 10th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Newspapers

Two questions being repeatedly raised at today’s Society of Editors (SoE) conference:

  • stop talking about the nationals, how can regional media get in on the digital act?
  • what to do about the BBC – or the ‘boa constrictor’ as Mail Online’s editorial director Martin Clarke called the corporation.

Guardian Media Group chief executive Carolyn McCall told delegates that there is a model for the local press, focusing on hyperlocal.

“There will be models that emerge: investing in SEO, local press have to do that. There’s an opportunity for local press to go very local and build revenue around this. There are models, but it will have to be off a very different cost base,” said McCall.

She went on to describe Channel M – the television offshoot of the Manchester Evening News – as ‘a good model’ for local media that could be replicated in the future.

The business risks associated with online and sustainable digital business models, she added, need to be shared regionally and locally.

Regional media will have to take ‘a real hit’ on their bottom line when it comes to online to if they are to maintain standards of quality journalism, she added.

Malcolm Pheby, editor of the Nottingham Evening Post, took up the regional press’ baton in explaining how the NEP had successfully integrated its newsroom with staff now trained to treat all news stories as rolling news to be broken on the web.

But the pervading theme of the day has been the opposition from regional newspapers to the BBC’s proposed local video plans.

Pete Clifton, head of multimedia for the Beeb, did his best to defend criticisms of the plans, saying that the proposals are subject to assessments by the BBC Trust and suggesting that the BBC could forge stronger relationships with other news providers.

Still it was comments from McCall and Clarke, whose affiliate Northcliffe added its voice to the debate today, that received impromptu applause.

According to both, the BBC’s plans present unfair competition to the local press

Cue videojournalism evangelist and consultant Michael Rosenblum, who promised to teach the audience how to beat the BBC at its own game. Key to this he said is embracing technology, in particular video, wholeheartedly and not incrementally.

In response to a question from a Rotherham newspaper publisher, which currently has no video on its website, Rosenblum said there was a demand for the content and the potential for partnerships with regional broadcasters like ITV local.

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Broadsheet vs Broadband: BBC’s Pete Clifton on citizen journalism

October 31st, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Multimedia, Newspapers

Speaking at last night’s Media Society event, ‘Broadsheet vs Broadband’, Pete Clifton, the BBC’s head of editorial development for multimedia journalism, shared the corporation’s views on user-generated content (UGC) and citizen journalism.

According to Clifton, asking for and receiving UGC helps the Beeb understand what news items have captured the audience’s attention and what stories out there are not being covered.

“It’s gathering in insights that the audience have that we can make sense of and then making it part of our newsgathering process,” he said.

On moderating the vast amounts of images that get sent to bbc.co.uk, Clifton stressed that verifying these was an enormous and serious task. A team working on the BBC’s UGC ‘hub’ have been trained in Photoshop fakery and verifying contributors for this very purpose, he said.

“The day we just put those up without any questioning of whether that’s right or not is the day we’re in very serious trouble.

“It’s gone through all the filters that our journalism would have gone through. It’s quite labour intensive. We’ve another arm of our newsgathering operation – it can ultimately add to the richness of what we do, but we shouldn’t take it lightly.”

Providing an outlet for this UGC and navigating a path through it is all part of the site’s wider remit as a ‘guide’ to alternative views and content online, said Clifton.

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BBC enjoys bumper web traffic as banks’ fortunes slide

September 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism, Traffic

It might be doom and gloom for Lehman Brothers staff, but at least someone’s gaining from it… Business news sites are reporting excellent traffic over the last few days – not least of all, the Beeb.

According to an article from yesterday’s Ariel, the BBC’s in-house magazine, the bbc.co.uk story from Monday ‘Lehman Bros files for bankruptcy’ was the site’s ‘most popular story’ in its 10-year history with more than 1.7 million page views.

From Ariel:

Boom time for business online as Lehmans goes bust: records fall while Wall Street trembles

Monday saw records tumble at the BBC news website’s business section.
As financial crisis circled the globe, culminating in the closure of Lehman Brothers, the BBC’s business pages enjoyed a record reach with 2.35 million individual readers logging on, double the usual amount.

And it also set a new record for most-read story: ‘Lehman Bros files for bankruptcy’ had more than 1.7m page views, making it the most popular story in the site’s 10-year history.

All told, the section attracted 9.25m page views in a single day.
Tim Weber, the business section’s editor, praised coverage of Lehman Brothers’ demise, which he said was ‘fast, comprehensive and authoritative’.

And he told ariel online: ‘Business and economics stories have always been more popular than most people suspect, but since the start of the credit crunch a year ago our daily reach has soared by about 50%.

‘However, Monday’s meltdown of investment bank Lehman has taken things to a new level.
‘It’s the most fascinating time in my live as a business journalist, but it’s also great to see that our audiences really appreciate our output.

‘Right now, at 1530 UK time on Tuesday, we’ve already reached more than 1.45 million people – it’s bound to be another bumper day.’

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BBC’s international news sites attract 13m weekly unique users

June 11th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Traffic

The BBC’s international-facing news websites, which include bbcnews.com and bbcworldservice.co.uk, attracted 13 million weekly unique users during 2007-8, a press release from the corporation has said.

According to independent surveys, the audience for all of the Beeb’s international news services was more than 233 million a week over the same period.

The figure rose by by 23 million from 211 million two years ago.

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BBC offers aggregation service with Topics pages

June 10th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Online Journalism

Following the review of bbc.co.uk in which the BBC Trust criticised the lack of internal navigation on the site, the Beeb has launched a beta aggregation service.

BBC Topics, which will have automatically updated pages, will cover people, countries or subjects.

“So topics uses a variety of search techniques to create feeds of the latest BBC content from news articles, programmes available to watch on iPlayer, weather forecasts, news videos, country profiles and information from the TV and radio schedules. BBC editors then add in hand-picked articles and features from around the BBC and other websites,” said Matthew McDonnell, portfolio executive, search and navigation, internet group, BBC Future Media and Technology, on the BBC Internet Blog.

The pages will present everything the BBC has on a certain topic, whether it is in or out of the news, McDonnell added.

Topics covered will be partly chosen in relation to the site’s search logs, as well as by what content is available.

Feeds to the pages from external sources are also in development, according to the blog post, which will please the Trust, who said the site should also be acting as a guide for users to outside content.

Only a few topics are being trialled so far, including China, David Cameron, NATO and dogs, but more will be added in the coming months, as will more forms of BBC content.

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While we were away… EveryBlock, LoudounExtra, BBC plans and more

June 9th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Magazines

In case you hadn’t noticed, Journalism.co.uk was in Sweden last week covering the World Association of Newspapers annual conference and the World Editors Forum.

So no one misses out, here’s a round-up of what went down while we were away:

Guardian: BBC ends ‘licence fee’ plans for international news website
The Beeb has dropped proposals for subscription-based access to BBC.com

WSJ.com: Analysis of hyperlocal news site LoudounExtra.com
Following the departure of Rob Curley, chief architect behind the Washington Post spin-off site, WSJ asks if the site has found its audience a year into the project.

Editor&Publisher: 94 newspapers join Yahoo partnership
A total of 779 newspapers now have access to the search engine’s advertising technology and HotJobs ads.

Daily Mail: Sir Ian Blair advocates use of celebrity news videos as evidence in drug trials
Footage, such as the Sun’s infamous Amy Winehouse video and of Kate Moss snorting a white substance, should be presented to the jury in such cases, Blair has said.

Guardian: BBC’s new plans for personalisation of website
Plans to create a new rating, recommendation and personalisation system across bbc.co.uk will be put to the BBC Trust, according to the corporation’s latest programme policy statement.

Editor’s Weblog: Washington Post launches online publishing company
The Slate Group will feature a host of digital titles including Slate and The Root, with additional launches planned.

Telegraph.co.uk: Update on revamp of community blogging platform MyTelegraph
Communities editor Shane Richmond says a relaunch date will be announced by the end of next week.

Matthew Ingram: Globe and Mail removes pay wall
Number of subscribers was not enough to maintain the wall, says Ingram, who works for the paper. Some readers remain unconvinced, he says, pointing out one comment: “You can’t shut us out for a few years and then expect us to come back just because it’s free.”

MediaShift: Everyblock releases first special report
The hyperlocal data and news site has mapped information from a recent Chicago police bribery investigation as part of its first special report.

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