Our new office: quiet foods only please

Tuesday 9 October 2012, 10:20

Charles Miller Charles Miller edits the College of Journalism blog and produces documentaries for the BBC Money Programme. Twitter: @chblm

This is what the BBC Academy office looked like last week (on a fact-finding mission with, from left, Jacky Hems, David Hayward, Mia Costello and Nicki Defago):

Office empty

And this is what it looked like this morning:

Office full An awful lot of moving had happened over the weekend, masterminded by the unflappable Rob Smith.

The result is that where we used to work now looks like it has been done over by a particularly aggressive spy organisation searching unsuccessfully for a vital clue to save the world from certain destruction:

Old office

The move went so smoothly that by 10 o'clock on the first morning I felt like I'd always been here, gazing at the London traffic in the rain:

Lovely view

More interesting, for a moment at least, is the view inside the building, where you can enjoy feeling you are part of The Thick of It:

New office

My only quibbles are to do with food and drink.

I was impressed to find a better class of coffee machine than I'd ever come across at the BBC - with real coffee beans. But it turns out it's not for everyone: post-production staff only. Do editors really need more caffeine than the rest of us?

Coffee machine

Finally, there's the new food policy, as explained in 'welcome' leaflets on our desks:

"Be aware that smelly foods and 'noisy to eat' foods may cause distraction."

I thoughtfully held back on the lettuce in my lunchtime salad, although I did sneak in a few anti-social croutons. I knew there wouldn't be a problem with sticky toffee pudding and custard.

But when I got back to my new desk I found myself opposite a man I've never seen (that's hot-desking for you) brazenly crunching his way through a packet of McCoys Flame Grilled Steak Crisps.

I would have said something but it might have violated another rule in the welcome leaflet:

"Move away from your desk if your conversation turns into a meeting."

I finished my pudding quietly.


Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Charles, my sympathies - I really can't stand open plan offices and the concept of hot-desking irks me no end - I need my well-defined personal space! Sigh... at least your staircase with the wooden panels look nice.

    @Pratish - sit with a tazer next to your desk and glare threateningly at everyone who raises their voice near your cubicle ;) Your link doesn't work by the way, think it's http://newsview.co.za/bbc-vs-sabc/ without the ')' at the end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Thanks for the interesting link re SABC, Pratish. And thanks to you and Michelle both for your open-plan solidarity. I managed to restrain my complaints about having the radio playing through speakers in the ceilings of the lifts here (until now). Why doesn't the building think it should be as quiet as it expects us to be??

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Lol... I always had a feeling about them croutons... antisocial critters. Still haven't gotten used to the etiquette around open plan offices (am back from the days when managers each got their own offices!)... most people still seem to ignore the obvious 'rules' though - especially when it comes to speaking loudly next to other people's desks. Funny enough, I just came across an article on NewsView (http://newsview.co.za/bbc-vs-sabc/) comparing the BBC with the local South African broadcaster SABC. Perhaps if they read the BBC 'welcome' leaflets they might not have been as critical of local operations!


This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Ageing in China: from personal story to multimedia BBC News project

Friday 5 October 2012, 09:00

Does our audience still need us? The TV news reporter in the age of social media

Wednesday 10 October 2012, 08:49

About this Blog

A blog for the College of Journalism at the BBC Academy, discussing current technical, ethical, production and craft issues in journalism.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Follow us on Twitter

New twitter image News and comment about journalism and interaction with the College:


Recent posts from this blog


Google Glass by Charles Miller

iOS 7 for journalists by Marc Settle

Responsive web design by Helene Sears

Viral videos by Charles Miller


Use of violent footage by Charles Miller

Reporting transgender issues by Stuart Hughes

Pitfalls of data journalism by Martin Rosenbaum

Is Twitter sexist? by Anna Holligan


What President Putin never says by Stephen Ennis

BBC emboldens Pakistan media by Sajid Iqbal

Twitter in the Arab world by Damian Radcliffe

Media freedom in Turkey by William Horsley


Newsnight enlists social media by Anna Holligan

Coverage of high tech burger by Rebecca Wells

Healthy hyperlocal media by Damian Radcliffe

Media access to Google by Charles Miller

Waiting for the royal baby by Suzanne Lord


Place name pronunciation by Marieke Martin

Researching science topics by Alex Freeman

Americanisms and the BBC by Ian Jolly

Researching Northern Ireland by Tim Shields

Also from the College

Polly Evans on presenting regional news for BBC South East Today

Polly Evans


How the BBC provides impartial coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


Alan Green on the job of a football commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live

Alan Green


The BBC College of Journalism and New York Times social media conference in New York

The College of Journalism's New York conference


Other great places to follow debates about journalism and media:

George Brock: thoughts on journalism past, present and future from City University's head of journalism

The Media Blog: lively and often funny topical detail about UK media output

Memex 1.1: John Naughton’s online diary: comment on media output and technology from the journalist and academic

Arab Media & Society: Arab media and trends summarised by the American University in Cairo

British Journalism Review: selected pieces from the authoritative quarterly journal

MediaShift: PBS monitoring of the changing media world from a US perspective

Arts & Letters Daily: more interesting ideas and good writing than you will ever have time to read

FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver of the New York Times writes data-based US politics blog (there are 538 electors in the US electoral college)

Alltop Journalism: links to the most recent posts on many journalism blogs

About the BBC: varied BBC blog about all things BBC-ish

Columbia Journalism Review: US academic perspectives

Facebook + Journalists: Facebook's own guide to its use by journalists

Andy Dickinson: teacher of digital and online journalism at the University of Central Lancashire

Jon Slattery: UK media news from the former deputy editor of Press Gazette

Meeja Law: Judith Townend's guide to media and legal issues 

European Journalism Centre: global news from the Netherlands

Roy Greenslade: Guardian blog by the former Mirror editor now journalism prof

Wannabee Hacks: information and experiences from aspiring journalists.