Tuesday, 31 August 2010

BBC Buzz to track conversations about BBC programmes on the web

The BBC is developing a tool to monitor conversations around their programmes on the web which will be used to link back to blog posts and web pages from their website.

'BBC Buzz' was first spotted by the 'On An Overgrown Path' blog. Roo Reynolds, the BBC's Social Media Executive for Vision, left a comment on the blog describing how the tool worked.

He said the aim of BBC Buzz was to show "where the 'buzz' is around our programmes", and help "people find relevant and interesting blog posts about that programme." Links to blog posts about a programme are displayed on pages like this one:

The BBC Buzz about page explains that all links are moderated before they appear on the BBC website.

The BBC has been exploring how to reflect conversations around its content on the web for some time. The Internet blog, for example, uses a delicious feed to provide links to pages that are talking about the BBC.

BBC Buzz has been built on the back of a prototype called Shownar. It is in the final stages of development and is due to be officially launched in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

"I don't want my news to be interactive"

I'm writing about BBC Newsnight and came across an interesting comment on Newsnight's programme blog from 2007.

It was written in response to a post by the Newsnight web team asking blog readers what they wanted to see covered on the TV programme - part of an "experiment in audience participation" by former editor Peter Barron.

It demonstrates that soliciting involvement in the editorial process is not everybody's cup of tea:
"Please stop doing this. You are the news experts; we expect you to make decisions on what is important based on your wider knowledge of current affairs.

"I don't want my news to be interactive; I want it to be accurate, considered, balanced, and give me an indication of the important issues affecting the world today. I don't want news that simply panders to the agenda of those who shout loudest. I don't have time to keep up with everything and make decisions about what is and is not important; that's your job!

"Your current approach smacks of lack of confidence in your own knowledge and judgement. That will taint my opinion of your ability to deliver the quality of news reporting that I expect."

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Nick Robinson looking for "less abusive debate" on blogs

The BBC's Political Editor is interviewed for the BBC College of Journalism:

Transcript of Nick on blogging:

"I wrote a blog because a very clever guy who works behind the scenes, a guy called Giles Wilson at the BBC, came up with the idea that I should. I didn't even know what a blog was when he asked me. I mean this is a long time ago. This is almost a decade ago that I first started writing before I left the BBC to go to ITN.

"And at the time, really, I don't think there were political blogs at that stage. So I started writing a blog very early because some inspired individual behind the scenes at the BBC came up with the idea.

"And for me, I loved it because there were things that you could write that you simply don't get the voice to do on a tight news bulletin. I liked the interactivity of it. I liked the fact that you could be provisional in your judgements. It was a rolling process.

"Now it's completely different - there are lots of political blogs. There are people who can be faster than me on air because they don't do the other jobs that I do. There are people who do it full time which I can't possibly do. So I've had to reconsider what the role of the blog is. And in a sense it seems to me that any blog has got to be your voice.

How do you react to the comments?

"I've found the comments to be the biggest problem with the blog because while initially I liked the interactivity, what I've discovered is that a huge percentage of comments on my blog are frankly just abusive, either abusive of me, or abusive of each other or abusive of politicians. And I haven't yet found a way to cut through that and to get the sort of dialogue that I would really like.

"So I'm going to be honest with you and I've said this before and I've upset some people. I don't read the comments anything like as much as I used to because there is too much static white noise in them and not enough pure feedback. But if we could find a way of having a more thoughtful, less abusive debate via blogs I think that would be a good thing."

Thursday, 5 August 2010

BBC website confirms that blogging BBC journalists provide 'expert views'

Just trawling the BBC's blog offering over the last few weeks and came across this question to the editor of the BBC website in the light of the latest redesign:
"Why don't you have a single list of the main News blogs linked from the front page?"
In the answer, Steve Herrmann notes that there is now an 'Expert Views' section on some of the BBC's webpages where you will find links to the BBC's bloggers:
"We do not currently have a single destination page aggregating all our News blogs, but we link to blogs individually on relevant section indexes around the site, also on related stories and on the front page, depending on the news agenda.
"All the blogs are also linked to from the right hand navigation within any individual blog post. There is now a new section on many of the main indexes called "Expert Views" which does provide a home for blogs in the respective subject areas. For these reasons we do not currently have a permanent link to all of them on the front page."
The terminology further reinforces the idea that while BBC journalists may not express personal views they are allowed to offer expert views - i.e. those that are "rooted in evidence".

In the editorial guidelines these are described as "professional judgements" rather than "personal views".

Though, as I've pondered before, the difference might sometimes be a fine one.

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