Tag Archives: controller

Twitter tops BBC for monthly traffic, while BBC Online click-throughs exceed 10m

More than 50 million people used Twitter last month – an increase of more than 7 million from June, according to new data.

The website, which attracted 51.6 million unique users in July, now outranks the BBC and Craigslist in terms of monthly visitors. It has also become one of the top 50 most popular websites in the world, according to the research by comscore.com.

Meanwhile BBC Online’s controller Seetha Kumar reported in a BBC blog post that the number of click-throughs experienced by the site stands at 10-12 million each month.  The blog, posted as a response to the BBC’s first online ‘open meeting’ on August 14, revealed that users were dissatisfied with BBC Online’s use of external links.

Kumar said: “We want to establish new and richer connections to the wider web where they are editorially relevant and meet our public purposes. We know that our users want us to do this and it’s a process that we take very seriously”

Hacks beat Flacks to knockout in Pall Mall debate

Normally it is very sedate – the Pall Mall world of the Gentlemans’ Clubs. On Monday night it was a bare knuckle fight to the finish as the hacks took on the flacks in a Media Society/CIPR debate at the Foreign Press Association on whether this union was a marriage that would ever work. The Hacks won, for a change, persuading some of the 80 strong audience, mainly PRs, to change their mind between the beginning and the end of the session.

Both sides have been reeling since the runaway success of Nick Davies’ book ‘Flat Earth News’ and its unearthing of acres of ‘churnalism’ – PR disguised as journalism – in the press. The Hacks were ably represented by three Terracotta Tigers: Rosie Millard of the Sunday Times, Roy Greenslade of City University and the Guardian, and Maggie Brown, the distinguished media writer. Up against them Peter Luff MP, once and still a PR man, and Jo Tanner whose PR skills helped elect the Boris Johnson as Mayor of London last year.

The whole match was taking place in a rather significant setting. It was here in January 2004 on the stairs of the Foreign Press Association that Alastair Campbell announced his ‘victory’ over the BBC after his PR ‘triumph’ on the Hutton report.

Sue Macgregor, late of the BBC now of national treasure status, refereed the whole shooting match. Millard played the men from the start accusing Flacks of ‘getting in the way of the truth’ week after week after week in her Sunday Times work. She reserved her especial ire for the PR machine of Buckingham Palace, ‘a venal institution’ whose spinners ‘bamboozled the public’ on Royalty.

Peter Luff, only lightly mired in the recent MPs’ expenses scandal was having no truck with the journalist as saint. “Which journalist ever got the sack for getting it wrong?” he asked. On that current PR Disaster, Jon Stonborough, the former ‘spinner’ for Speaker Michael Martin was in the audience and was called upon to advise him. He was less than warm in his praise and less than generous in a forecast of career longevity for the embattled ‘Gorbals Mick’! [Ed – John submitted this piece this morning, timely given Martin’s announcement today that he will step down]

Hacks and Flacks agreed that they were all ‘truth’ tellers and that there was an inverse relationship between the number of PRs now employed and the number of journalists unemployed. That was not a healthy sign.

Greenslade, the sage of the internet and soi-disant conscience of British journalism, was equally punchy, producing a roll call of journos killed in the last two years.

He then very effectively contrasted this with a blank sheet showing the number of PRs killed in action. The opposition was put firmly on the back foot by this low punch.

Jo Tanner pledged, as they all did, to always tell the truth (however they defined it) and delighted in recalling the story of how she had exposed Baroness Jay as not the product of an ‘ordinary grammar’ as she claimed on television but a prize product of Blackheath Girls School. Good journalism for a PR.

Maggie Brown revealed a trick of her trade – a simple device to get round the PRs who controlled access to celebrities and powerful people in the media and elsewhere. She simply ignored them and went round their backs. She cited the example of Jay Hunt, the controller of BBC One whose PR blocked her access. Maggie simply interviewed her proud Professor father instead!

It was left to a super hack Phil Harding, former Today editor and Controller of BBC editorial policy to point out the idea of a marriage between the two was a pure chimera: “We do different jobs.” We do and did. Not a marriage more a friendship of distrust.

After their defeat – smiling as always – it was simply left to the Flacks to buy the drinks for the Hacks…

JamesCridland: BBC Radio 4 reaching out

James Cridland takes a look at BBC Radio 4’s blogging efforts.

“[…] the clever and charming Mark Damazer, controller of the radio station, has caught the blogging bug,” he writes.

“Why does Radio 4 repeat a fair bit of their schedule? He [Damazer] tells us frankly:

“We simply can’t make more programmes with the money we have. We have several ideas for new programmes/formats – but I can’t afford to take out repeats and replace them with these news ideas. We’d go broke.”

Full post at this link…

Links for ICO’s call for senior public officials’ (including BBC) salary bands to be publicly available

“Senior public officials salary bands should be publicly available as a matter of routine, according to new Guidance published today by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)”, the ICO said, in a release today.

“Salary details, bonuses and performance related pay should be in the public domain to the nearest £5,000 band when there is a legitimate public interest. Disclosing exact salaries will only be required in exceptional circumstances,” the ICO said.

The Independent reported the ICO has said that “highly paid executives and presenters working for the BBC, and bosses of the newly nationalised banks, must disclose details of salaries and bonuses.

And here is where you can find that information:

Download the PDF of the release here: http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/pressreleases/2009/salaries_guidance_final230209.pdf

Download the PDF of the Guidance here:http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/practical_application/salaries_v1.pdf

Two examples concerning the BBC from the Guidance:

  • “The Commissioner determined that the BBC should disclose the salary band of the Controller of Continuing Drama, but not his exact salary, which was individually negotiated. He found that the legitimate public interest outweighed the intrusion of disclosing the salary band but not the additional intrusion of disclosing an exact salary. (ICO decision notice FS50070465, March 2008)”
  • “The Commissioner decided that BBC Northern Ireland did not have to release the fee paid to a presenter. The fee had been decided in confidential negotiations in accordance with the standard practice in the industry, and was therefore properly treated differently from the salary of a senior employee. (ICO decision notice FS50067416, January 2008).”

Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’: John Mair’s memories of Charles Wheeler

John Mair, television producer and associate senior lecturer in journalism at Coventry University, shares his thoughts on Charles Wheeler, the legendary BBC journalist who died in July 2008. A memorial service was held in London yesterday.

Yesterday the great and the good of British broadcasting and journalism gathered at Westminster Abbey to honour Sir Charles Wheeler ‘the reporters’ reporter’ who died, aged 85, last year.

Wheeler devoted 60 plus years to great journalism; we all have our personal and professional memories of him. Mine date back to 2004, when I was asked to produce the Media Society dinner at the Savoy Hotel to give him its award and honour him. How do you salute a God?

I’d grown up with his work from America and elsewhere, been a producer in the BBC where he was treated with huge respect, and seen and heard his work.

I can especially remember a ‘so-so’ story on Newsnight in the 1980s about cops beating up a black man in Notting Hill, which was everyday stuff then, unfortunately. It was transformed to a different plane by Wheeler reporting on it: all of a sudden it had ‘bottom’. Charles sprinkled journalistic experience and gold dust on all he touched. That ‘so-so’ became a significant story. Charles Wheeler was like that.

Back to the Savoy Dinner: Charles was modesty itself and happy to go along with whoever came along. Everybody but everybody I approached to speak readily agreed to do so: Helen Boaden, then controller of BBC Radio 4, said no problem; Steve Anderson, then controller for news and current affairs at ITV and a former Wheeler producer at Newsnight, was gagging to be on the cast list; so too the great Peter Taylor, who said he would be ‘honoured’ to be part of such an event. Charles and his work had that sort of influence with even the very best of our trade.

But the icing on the Savoy cake proved to be one Boris Johnson, then a barely known Tory MP, Spectator columnist and part-time clown. Boris is also Wheeler’s son-in-law, and his speech on the night was a tour de force. Scribbled on the back of a Savoy napkin, it had scores of hardened hacks in stitches.

Wheeler was much more measured and contrite when it was his turn: apologising to his many producers for giving them a hard time (the sign of a good reporter – one who in involved enough to get angry); radiating modesty and sheer professionalism at one and the same time. Charles Wheeler was like that – he cared about every single word and every single picture to the bitter end of the film that he was working on – and his life.

Never mind Westminster Abbey, Sir Charles Wheeler’s (Charlie Wheeler to all) work on tape and on screen is his epitaph. That will be with us all for a long, long time to come. Adieu ‘Reporters’ Reporter’. You probably have your notebook out, finding the great stories and telling them.

‘A sad day for Scottish Journalism’: job cuts at Herald&Times and BBC Scotland

All staff at Newsquest’s three Glasgow titles, the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times – bar a handful of senior management roles – have been made redundant and told to reapply for their jobs in a move to cut 30-40 posts.

The announcement follows the appointment yesterday of Donald Martin as editor-in-chief across all three titles.

According to a blog post by Shaun Milne, staff have been put on 90-day notice, as part of plans to integrate the three titles. “[T]he titles will adopt a 24/7 approach from a single operation taking in the web, evening, daily and Sunday titles,” writes Milne (in reference to one of the industry’s worst kept secrets this year…)

The announcement comes as BBC Scotland said it would axe 70 jobs, including an expected 20 from news and current affairs – this figure is on top of the 96 redundancies implemented in September, a release from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said.

The NUJ chapel at BBC Scotland has sent a letter to controller Ken MacQuarrie protesting against the proposed job losses.

In a release, Pete Wishart MP, SNP Westminster Culture spokesperson, said the cuts marked ‘a sad day for Scottish journalism’.

Commenting on the Herald&Times cuts, Wishart said:

“Any decision that threatens news coverage and quality is clearly troubling and these cut backs are a backward step by the group’s owners.

“When Newsquest acquired these newspapers they made a commitment to develop and invest in them, regrettably those words do not seem to have been backed up by investment.”

WalesOnline: Rejection of video plans could cause job losses at BBC Wales

Friday’s rejection of the BBC’s local online video proposals ‘appeared to come as a surprise to BBC management in Cardiff’, reports WalesOnline.

“The decision, I’m afraid, also raises serious questions about the level of reinvestment we were hoping to receive. The investment would have helped the process of delivering efficiency savings and would have offered redeployment opportunities,” a note from BBC Wales controller Menna Richards said.

“Inevitably that process will now be much harder.”

AOP 2008: At yesterday’s digital sweetshop – best of the rest

It was all a bit kids in a sweetshop at yesterday’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit, if we forget all the problems with wifi, of course.

The main aim, for most attendees, In all likelihood, was to talk to all the people they know in online life, but rarely get the chance to talk to in person – over coffee (and odd looking cake/pastries) and lunch during the day, and drinks in the evening.

The programme ranged from panels to energetic speakers with a broad range of digital publishing topics covered – though perhaps not as much new discussion was initiated as some participants hoped, despite Peter Bale from Microsoft attempt to get some answers from YouTube’s Jonathan Gillespie.

A few additional highlights to add to our coverage so far:

Emily’s Bell’s vision for Guardian’s international reach: In the panel introducing ‘the digital pioneers,’ Bell, director of digital content for Guardian News & Media, said the group sees now as a ‘uniquely’ timed opportunity for the brand to expand internationally – and to do so before their rivals do.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk afterwards, Bell elaborated on her example of the Economist’s well-established grasp of the international market.  Although it happened for the Economist over a 20-year period, she told me that a similar endeavour in 2008 is ‘compressed’ by the web.

Bell also pointed out during the panel that the Chinese words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are one and the same (I tried to keep that in mind as my laptop charger physically broke and the wifi went down).

The Guardian’s move stateside was also referred to by Saul Klein, partner of Index Ventures and moderator of later panel ‘Growing in the Digital World’.

Quoting Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group’s director of digital strategy and development (and Emily Bell’s boss), Klein said the Guardian’s acquisition of ContentNext was ‘well set up to exploit’. Waldman explained how moves like that prepared the group for a US audience.

The ‘Unlocking the mobile internet’ panel: In the spirit of the thing, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher gave out his mobile number for questions before probing the panel on their respective views on mobile internet’s future.

Is 2009 the year of mobile? Melissa Goodwin, controller of mobile at ITV says not: “I don’t think it’s next year, I’m hoping it’s 2010.”

“We just want to give you anything you may want,” she said of ITV’s mobile strategy, though she admitted that building advertising revenue was very much an ongoing issue.

Goodwin also revealed that consumers can look forward to Friends Reunited on two iPhone applications in the first part of next year, as reported in more depth over at PaidContent.

Stefano Maruzzi, president of CondeNet International, on outlining Conde’s digital development: As reported over at MediaGuardian and PaidContent, CondeNet, the online arm of Conde Nast, has got lots of ideas about lots of things:

  • Rolling out a Wired website worldwide (and in different languages, he told PaidContent)
  • Keeping Tatler’s online presence minimal
  • Engaging with the iPod user audience

BBC appoints Roly Keating as first archive director

The BBC has named BBC Two controller Roly Keating as its first director of archive content.

Keating, who will take up his new role in October, will be responsible for the corporation’s tv, radio and multimedia archive. He will be tasked with increasing public access to this content, a press release from the BBC said.

He will work with the newly appointed director of the BBC’s Future Media & Technology department Erik Huggers on the digitisation of the archive and take charge of BBC archived content on on-demand services such as the iPlayer.

“Unlocking the value of broadcast archives is one of the great opportunities opened up by digital media – and the BBC has the greatest archive of them all, with untold potential public value,” he said.

The BBC Two controller position will be advertised in the autumn.

Guardian: BBC News head tipped as director of audio and music

Helen Boaden, BBC’s director of news, and the corporation’s head of sport, Max Mosey, are amongst the front-runners in the race to replace current head of music and audio, Jenny Abramsky, who is to leave her job.

According to the Guardian, sources inside the BBC are tipping former Radio 4 controller Boaden for the job – should she want it.

Abramsky announced last week that she was leaving the corporation after nearly 40 years to chair the board of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.