Tuesday 11 November 2008

The Future of News: BBC Director of Global News at City University

After spending an hour or so with the World Have Your Say programme yesterday, I walked over to City University to hear a talk by Richard Sambrook.

He was talking about the Future of News to an audience that seemed to be a mixture of BBC journalists, a load of City University journalism students and some other (presumably) interested types.

Richard warned us that he didn't have a crystal news ball which he looked into occasionally in order to plot the BBC's advance into the future. I was disappointed - surely the licence fee could stretch to...But took his advice and stayed for the rest of the talk anyway.

(Updated: Richard's own post - always best to go to the original source)

Journalism in crisis?
  • Crisis is hardly a new phenomenon but what's changing?
  • Globalisation
  • Proliferation of channels
  • Closure of foreign news bureaux by media organisations
  • Technological changes undermining the economic model
  • Used the analogy of the music industry where the digital age has massively complicated the marketing of an individual song.
  • Investment in the Web 'in hope'. Eg Guardian, running Web operation at a loss.
  • Smaller news organisations going out of business
  • News sites repackaging agency material - contraction of new content behind the explosion of new sites.
  • Old model of limited access and limited resource undercut by the Internet
  • Taking the lead from Castells/Beckett, the new model is networked - interactive and interconnecting.
  • Citizen journalism - what does this mean for standards of accuracy, rigour and accountability? CNN's I-report fails over Steve Jobs.
  • Identified as one of the new keys to journalism
  • Pointed to the differences between the production values of Web video and TV. Thought this would feed back into TV at some point
  • Crisis of trust and authenticity in the mass media
  • Gave example of a new type of foreign correspondent - Hamed Mottaghi - 29 year old freelance journalist in Iran. Somebody who is embedded in their culture. There is an authenticity about reports from somebody who lives and breathes in the country
Blogosphere and low cost journalism
  • Used Technorati survey 2008
  • 133 million+ blogs
  • 81+ languages
  • 6 Continents
  • new model of emerging journalism - low cost mobile journalism
  • Examples Witness (NGO), Global Post, Global Voices (Richard might have pointed out that Global Voices is run almost entirely by volunteers)
BBC in all this
  • 45 International Bureaux
  • Network of 650 regular voices/stringers around the world
  • Suffering the same cost pressures and vulnerabilities as other media organisations. (Presumably here talking about the BBC's World offering which is commercial)
  • Use of Twitter to cover the Bangladesh Boat Trip - pointed out that the audience here was measured in the dozens compared to the radio audience of millions
  • How do we use UGC so it doesn't sound crass? Need a new model for this.
The Future
  • "Future is local and global"
  • Local and highly personalised and the big picture
  • Social video - Seesmic, Phreadz - but expressed disappointment that as yet there isn't much newsgathering going on using them
  • Processing power of the Web will outstrip the human brain
  • Linking out
  • Where is the value we can add as journalists
  • - community style journalism in the social music model
  • Data-driven journalism - Spectra @ MSNBC
  • BBC: My Democracy Now
  • Need to make interconnections between different disciplines: "Not enough now to just be a journalist"
  • A mash up, remix model
Major issues?

  • Personalisation and privacy
  • Adjustments - economic and technological
What will still be important?
  • Standards
  • Storytelling
  • Power of pictures
  • Analysis
  • Mediation - strength of brands still important
  • Debate


Marcela Canavarro said...

Great post!

Daniel Bennett said...

No worries. Glad you found it useful :)

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