Tag Archives: BBC

The BBC’s new statistics role has ended after 18 months. Here’s what the person in that role did

At the end of July this year the BBC ended a quiet experiment that had been going on for the last 18 months: a Head of Statistics role funded initially by the corporation’s innovation fund and then by election coverage money.

Anthony Reuben was the person occupying that role. A business reporter with almost two decades’ experience at the BBC, Reuters, Sky, the Money Channel and the FT, he was helping to design a new statistics course for the BBC College of Journalism when the need for a new role became clear.

“We got to the last slide, which was where to turn for more help. There were plenty of people outside the BBC, but nobody in it who had the time or skills to help with statistical questions. So we applied for a year’s funding from the Innovation Fund.”

What the head of statistics role involved

Once in the role Reuben would sit with the planning team and attend some of the daily news and planning meetings to anticipate big stories which might “set off alarm bells”. Continue reading

Hyperlocals and the BBC: contribute to a consultation

The BBC are launching a consultation with hyperlocal websites on how it can “work in partnership” as part of its Local Journalism Working Group.

From the announcement:

The proposals include the creation of a Hyperlocal Forum which will work towards a number of objectives and shared areas of interest, with initial partners including Nesta and the Carnegie Trust.

The proposals for comment are to:

  • introduce an external linking system, currently being rolled out to all BBC website Local Live streams across the country, to hyperlocals and bloggers, and ensuring their content is showcased and credited on the BBC website

  • include hyperlocal providers in training and events as part of its media partnership work

  • invite hyperlocal bodies to be represented on the Local Journalism Working Group and other relevant panels

  • ensure all local BBC teams are aware of hyperlocals operating in their area

  • promote an updated register of hyperlocal sites, expected to be published at the end of the year

  • engage with partners from across the hyperlocal community and other external media to establish a Hyperlocal Forum to meet twice a year from November.

Some of this work is already being done (particularly Local Live), but the register suggests a more comprehensive approach and linking has long been a concern.

Send responses to hyperlocalviews@bbc.co.uk by September 30.

Guest post: hyperlocal Groundhog Day – why policy makers need to support UK hyperlocal media (and how)

Weather prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania

Groundhog image by Alessandro M

In a guest post for OJB, Damian Radcliffe argues that the need for policy makers to support hyperlocal publishers is stronger than ever – and explains just how that support can happen.

When I first started reporting on hyperlocal media in 2009 it was against a daily backdrop predicting the death of newspapers and clarion calls for public intervention to save this vital resource.

Since then, this hysteria has died down, although it’s clear that many of the structural challenges being faced by the local media sector have not gone away.

In January Press Gazette reported that there had been a net reduction of 181 UK local newspapers since 2005, including a further 11 lost this year, whilst a leaked memo from Trinity Mirror shed light on the commercial pressures many newspapers groups face and how this is influencing reporting on the ground.

Despite this, the UK’s industrious hyperlocal media sector continues to beaver away. Continue reading

Data journalism at the 2015 UK General Election: geeks bearing gifts

bbc election quizThis has been the election when the geeks came in from the cold. There may be no Nate Silver-style poster boy for the genre this side of the pond – but instead, I believe we’ve finally seen the culmination of a decade of civic hacking outside the newsroom. And if anyone deserves credit for that, it is not the Guardian or the Telegraph, but MySociety, Tweetminster, and Democracy Club.

Looking back at my review of online election reporting in 2010 it’s striking how much has changed. Back then data journalism’s contribution was all about interactive presentation of results, but little else.

In the time between that election and this one, however, two things have changed within the news industry: firstly, a more code-literate workforce, including dedicated data project teams; and secondly, the rise of mobile, social media-driven consumption and, as part of that, visual journalism. Continue reading

Tips on choosing the right Twitter hashtag: a tale of 5 hashtags

brumvote related tags

What do you do when you’ve been using a hashtag for some time and another one comes along with the potential to be more popular? Do you jump on board – or do you stick with the hashtag you’ve built up? How do you measure the best hashtag to use for your work?

That’s the question that a team of my undergraduate journalism students at Birmingham City University faced last month. And here’s how they addressed it. 

First, some background: in February this year the students launched their election coverage under the hashtag #brumvote.

The hashtag worked well – it took in everything from BuzzFeed-style listicles to hustings liveblogs and data-driven analysis of local MPs’ expenses and voting patterns.

Then last month a similar hashtag appeared: the BBC launched their own youth-targeting election project, with the hashtag #brumvotes.

At this point the students faced 3 choices:

  1. Keep using the #brumvote hashtag
  2. Adopt the new #brumvotes hashtag
  3. Use both

Changing hashtag would involve changing dozens of posts from previous coverage, but would the clout of the BBC mean missing out on a potentially more successful hashtag? Continue reading

AudioBoom on election coverage, moving from hosting to publishing – and SoundCloud

By Antia Geada and Agustin Palacio

The AudioBoom digital news team is facing its first big challenge: covering the upcoming General Election. 

The team was created at the beginning of the year, specialising in covering international news, as it aimed to be not only a platform where others share audio, but also a publisher in its own right. 
Team leader David Marsland has joined this group, which is now focused on engaging people in politics in the run up to the general election. He says:

“People don’t get involved with politics that much outside of the election’s time. But with the elections approaching, we are getting a lot of listeners for all of our political staff.”

Continue reading

Join an election hackday at the BBC in Birmingham, Monday April 27

Hacks Hackers Birmingham logo

I’m organising an election hackday at the BBC in Birmingham on Monday April 27.

The event will involve journalists from the BBC and other news websites in the Midlands – but more importantly it’s open to anyone who wants to get stuck into data related to the key issues this election.

If you want to sign up to take part you can do so here. That page also includes details on times and location.

Some more details:

  • We’ll be particularly looking at issues affecting young people, and those affecting female voters.
  • But immigration, welfare and employment, the NHS, the economy, rural issues, the environment and anything else are all options too.
  • Some teams will focus on stories, spending some of the day turning the leads they find in the data into stories with quotes and other elements.
  • Some teams will be focused on tools: from interactive maps to resources to make it easier for journalists to fact-check claims made by candidates.
  • If you can’t make the whole day but want to contribute something, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.