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Russian bloggers

I knew we were starting a new project with Russia's biggest blogging platform this week. But clicking on our site - bbcrussian.com - on Monday morning, and following the links at the top of the page, I found blogger Yulia Ilinskaya describing an anti-Nato communist demonstration in Kiev, and photo journalist Aleksei Yushenkov's pictures of Russia's new president, Dmitri Medvedev, at a closed internet forum.

World Service logoThese were the result of the BBC's new partnership with Russia's biggest blogging platform, LiveJournal. With nine millions users per month, LiveJournal is similar to Facebook in its multiplatform approach, but with an emphasis on blogging and reporting events.

Together with LiveJournal, to try and access some of this fresh reporting talent, the BBC has set up Live_Report - a space for budding reporters and citizen journalists to share their content with the BBC.

Following the links, I found a video on an erotic photo exhibition in Moscow this is not featured on bbcrussian.com - and is unlikely to be in its current format. But we know it's happening and that blogger 'babyashkina' is filming it and writing about it.

So far, Live_Report has more than 350 members, and the BBC will feature the best of the reports - in a range of formats - on its own Russian-language site as well as potentially on radio in Russian. My hope is that some of the reports will make it further throughout the BBC in English as well.

For me personally, it's a good feeling to see Live_Report in the news this week. As head of BBC Russian, most of the publicity that's come my way over the last 18 months has been around the closures of several FM partnerships in Russia and the difficulty we've had bringing our radio broadcasts to listeners in Moscow and St Petersburg - not to mention the rest of the country - in FM quality. So linking up with LiveJournal is something I can only be pleased about.

It's also very good news because over the last few months we've looked more and more at how we can engage with our audience in Russia. The internet is not only a method of distribution in Russia, it is an excellent way to interact with an audience that likes to share, to set the agenda, and to criticise and praise. We already have a very active band of readers and listeners who are constantly telling us what they think, and suggesting ideas for interactive programmes. As it is, bbcrussian.com has been blogging for quite a while already - if you polish your Russian, you'll find blogs on the history of the Russian revolution and military, poetry, and the thoughts of the last few months of one contributor's life who has since died of cancer.

Russians tend to embrace technology, and mobile phone ownership is high. Internet access is widespread and access through broadband is growing. This gives us as newsgathers access to direct reports from all around the country, even though our team is based mainly in Moscow and London.

It's all about finding new ways to be relevant to our audience, and to get the best content to our audience. And what about the BBC agenda? What do we do if some of the reports are a bit less polished or a bit more edgy than we are used to? My view is that this is an exciting challenge to our team of journalists - who are already very used to dealing with user-generated content through forums, interactive programmes and so on. If there are issues with a particular piece, we can work on that on a case by case basis. And even if not in the existing form, we might yet be able to use the rather interesting reporting skills of 'babyshkina' in the future.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    BBC stop lies please!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm a LiveJournal user and have found over the last five years that it is always where I learn about breaking news. Because it's such a large and varied community within a very short time of any major event happening there will be reports appearing and often incredible first hand narratives are played out on individuals journals.

    A lot of LiveJournallers followed the enws of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of New Orleans residents and closer to home every time there has been a scare in London it's to LiveJournal I've turned for what Londoners are actually seeing on the streets. Working with the BBC and an official, central, community these experiences and reports could be incredibly useful.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this partnership progresses, pelase keep us up-to-date in English as well as Russian!

  • Comment number 3.

    You feel hesitant to post a link to an erotic exhibition, while elsewhere on the news page I see a link to one of the English-language blogs covering China which publishes the address/phone number and photos of the house and car of a target of Chinese harassment.

    Journalists from the land of page 3 girls is more willing to encourage political witch hunts than a little prurient erotica?

  • Comment number 4.

    Does this mean that the BBC blogs will now be using web beacons and taking LJ's other measures to restrict/decimate our privacy? And what steps has the BBC taken to assure freedom of expression for bloggers living in repressive regimes, now that you are in cahoots with one?

  • Comment number 5.

    what's this message mean - "The server www.bbc.co.uk at BBC Embedded Media Player requires a username and password."

    it has only started appearing since this post was made... please fix...

  • Comment number 6.

    To leodrink,

    Try pointing out the lies so your comment has some credibility.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks for the bulletin on the Russian Bloggers....

    as always the B.B.C. does an excellent
    service for the viewers!

 

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