Tuesday 19 June 2012, 09:57
The American writer Eric Hoffer argued that "in times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
It is a view that describes the state of the modern media, struggling to find a place out of the eye of the storms unleashed by technology, the internet and social media.
But it is also a view that articulates the mission at the heart of our new BBC College of Journalism website.
This redesigned site is built firmly on the foundations of its predecessor, retaining its ambition, authority and credibility.
Its role remains the same: it is a site about BBC journalism for BBC journalists, but one that is available to everyone.
But by shining a light on the work of the BBC’s leading practitioners - producers, writers, presenters, reporters, editors – it offers an opportunity to learn from the some of the best in this ever changing business of journalism.
The new look is, I hope, clear, crisp and welcoming; the navigation and user-experience intuitive, simple and intelligent; the content relevant, practical and topical.
We have re-organised the top-level navigation, giving the blog and our events briefings, seminars and conferences greater prominence on the front of the site. So, when award-winning reporters like Paul Wood or Robert Peston give BBC staff their insights into the latest stories, the most relevant parts of that session will be up on the site for everyone to see.
The blog remains the place for discussion and analysis of all the key issues that affect journalists and journalism today, but now we will be linking even more from individual blog posts to useful content throughout the site.
The section that concentrates on core craft skills becomes “How to… edit, report, write, interview, produce…” We have introduced significant new sections on how the BBC uses social media and important advice on dealing with trauma, something that can affect not just those reporting conflicts but journalists covering difficult court cases or disasters of various kinds.
There’s a lot about online journalism too – from a day in the life of a front page editor of the BBC News website, to tips on creating a story for the web and using SEO.
In Subject Guides we want to offer a straightforward route through some of the most complex stories that local, regional, national or international journalists are covering today. We have a new section on devolution in the UK, for example, as well as advice and signposts to help in covering other major stories such as the EU or business. All of this comes directly from the specialist BBC reporters and producers who cover these stories every day.
And in the Standards section some of the most senior BBC editors explain how the key BBC values of accuracy, impartiality, independence, accountability and public interest influence their daily editorial decisions.
We have also tried to make the site more connected – to internal BBC content such as relevant face-to-face training the College offers staff, and to externally available content, be it the BBC News website or other non-BBC sites or blogs that we think could be useful.
Three of the College of Journalism's language websites have had a similar redesign. Arabic, Persian and Russian offer an insight into the specific editorial issues our journalists face in these parts of the world – for example, in the impartial use of language. We plan to relaunch the College's other language sites in the future.
Although a relaunch represents a momentary pause for the website team, it is of course just the beginning for our users. There’s still an awful lot of content for us to bring over from the original site and fit into the new version, and we intend to barely draw breath before we start on that. So let us know if there is anything in particular you’re missing.
We’ve also already got a long list of new material that we want to create to fill gaps in the How to and Subject Guides categories – sports reporting is one of the first we’ll be tackling.
We’re planning to roll out more new features soon – including the idea of pulling together content into thematic 'Collections'. Thus, for example, a 'Reporting Syria' collection would include blog posts on the story, links to content on verifying UGC, trauma, field producing and so on.
Please let me know below what you think about the new site - what you like, what you don’t like; what works, what doesn’t.
But above all I hope you find it useful in your daily work.
The Head of the BBC College of Journalism, Jonathan Baker, also writes about the launch of the new website on the About the BBC blog.
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Monday 18 June 2012, 18:17
Friday 22 June 2012, 11:05