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BBC Online Open Meeting

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Seetha Kumar Seetha Kumar | 12:05 UK time, Thursday, 13 August 2009

Since I've become Controller I've heard the word 'open' a lot more. No surprises because openness as a philosophy has helped define the web, what with 'open source,' 'open to the web' and 'open id'.

One of the few advantages of taking on a role that was born out of a time of difficulty is the opportunity to start afresh. My role you may recall was created in response to a somewhat critical report from the BBC Trust when it reviewed the Online Service Licence last year. In the past the BBC's online services have been criticised for seeming opaque and perhaps too closed.

Openness and transparency are values the BBC espouses. We are trying to build a more open BBC and build more partnerships across the whole web. Have a look at nature's library.

So, as a first step, I am hosting the first BBC Online 'Open meeting' where myself and colleagues will be sharing the plans we have for the next few months E.g. News, sport, weather, knowledge building, radio and music, entertainment and children's.

It's tomorrow and as we focus our efforts on planning the session, I know we won't get it entirely right. This is fine, because we can only learn how to do so next time.
We'll be reporting back next week and I'd welcome any feedback you have.


  • Comment number 1.

    The 'critical report' link mentions the BBCs external search, I could never see the point of that; and do not miss its demise; but I hope you do not go further and take out the external links on news etc items, that is useful and adds value to the pages.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good to hear about the online open meeting, where and when please? Is there a link somewhere? Does "open" in "open meeting" mean the license fee payers will be taking part? Hope it goes well.

  • Comment number 3.

    I heard Danielle Nagler is on leave. Shame, I'd have love to have heard her plans for BBC HD aired in an Online Open Meeting. Perhaps you could invite her to the next one?

  • Comment number 4.


    Good post, assuming that you really where intending on being highly ironic...

  • Comment number 5.

    #1 H_the_eagle
    There's no intention of removing external links from BBC Online. If anything there's a desire to do more.

    #2 BTCustomer and Boilerplated
    This is not a public event nor a press launch, it's a briefing for some partners and others in the industry. It will be open in the sense that we are planning to report back on some of the things that happen on the day and share them on the blog. As Seetha says it is "a first step".

  • Comment number 6.

    Ah, the BBC definition of "Open".

    I'll file it alongside the BBC definitions of "consultation" and "improvement".

  • Comment number 7.

    #4 - yes - I was being a tad ironic.

    #5 - thank you for the clarification. I obviously totally misinterpreted the meaning of both "open" and "online" and "sharing". I suppose I should have spotted the fact that there was no indication of exactly who the "sharing" was going to be with.

    I do hope the BBC isn't getting into a form of "Newspeak" (Orwell) where words mean the opposite of what they seem to mean.

    Why not just say you have got an internal meeting coming up between yourselves and some undisclosed others, and you will tell us a bit about it later sometime? That would have conveyed the required meaning without straining the meaning of words like "transparency" and "openness". You need to remember that those words have been seriously devalued recently - I could give you two very good connected examples, one from the private sector, and the other from government (Cabinet Office), both in relation to the internet, where "transparent" has actually meant "hidden" or "invisible". If you recognise my user name, you may be able to work out what I am referring to.

    As a licence fee payer - I have now been informed of a meeting that I can't participate in and won't get the full details about. I don't know when it starts or finishes, or who is involved in it. I don't know who the non-BBC particpants might be. I don't know what rules will govern it's progress or what can or can't be reported to me. That's fine - it happens every day.

    But why call it open, online, transparent and open?

    As I said, thanks for the feedback. It clarifies things enormously. I still don't understand the purpose of the original blog post, but I sort of think that maybe, I almost know what it means now. It means there is a private BBC meeting today. Great. Enjoy!! ;-))

  • Comment number 8.

    BT Customer - if you are a little patient you may find out more than you think you will.

  • Comment number 9.


    I think "BTCustomer"' comments were more about the language used in the blog rather than what will or will not be reported back, ask most people what an open, online meeting means and most will automatically think in terms of a meeting that anyone - or at least, to use a modern term, stake-holders (ie. TVL payers in this case) can log-on to and listen/view, if not contribute to...

    It was only the inverted comments that gave the 'true' meaning away, sorry to say that there is far to much corporate 'meerkating gobbledy-goo speek' being used these days, not just by the BBC I hasten to add.

  • Comment number 10.

    #9 Exactly.
    #8 - I'm very patient Nick - and a great fan of the BBC. Just quite confused. As I said - no problems with the actual meeting or the process or even the fact that it wasn't public after all. Don't expect it to be. Just VERY confused by the description of an Open Online Meeting with words like transparency and openness - then actually realising that there was nothing on offer of that sort at all.
    I'm mindful that the Beeb is in the communication business. So words do matter.
    Hope the meeting goes well.

  • Comment number 11.

    You can now see video of the day here:
    Cheers all

  • Comment number 12.

    "Openness and transparency are values the BBC espouses."

    Delighted to hear it. So I take it we can expect the Balen Report to be released any day now?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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