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Turkey experiment

Richard Sambrook | 08:44 UK time, Monday, 25 June 2007

This week we start some special coverage of Turkey in advance of the forthcoming elections. We have sent freelance journalist Ben Hammersley on a journey through Turkey to report on the issues and debate in the country.

benscreengrab.gifBut as well as conventional reports on BBC News 24, BBC World, the World Service and the internet he is also reporting unconventionally.

As an experiment, he will also be filing his impressions through a range of of other sites including his personal blog, Flickr - the photo site, YouTube - where you can already see some material, - the bookmarking site, and Twitter. The idea is to extend his reporting and possibly reach new audiences in new ways.

It's not something that every BBC reporter could or should do. Ben is particularly experienced at the use of the internet and social media sites of this kind. So it will be interesting to see what he is able to offer beyond normal news reporting in this way. He is also filing background material on how he has gone about his assignment - how he selected his interviews, what decisions lay behind his reports, and making his source material and notes available. We hope it will open a window on how international reporting is carried out. It won't be perfect, but it will be interesting and will break open the conventional mould of foreign correspondent. Take a look at what Ben's doing and let us know what you think.


  • 1.
  • At 12:08 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

I am glad to see he has removed that dreadful 'goatee'. I will reserve judgement until I see what he has filed - but one question would be; what do we do if we don't like what he has done ?

There will be no use complaining to the BBC. We could write to YouTube and complain to them - but I suspect that they wouldn't be too interested in our comments on bias, impartiality and the artistic merit or otherwise of the film.

To be honest, I would be more interested in Jeremy Paxman's views on this venture..


I think this is exactly what the BBC should be doing more of.

The mainstream media must find ways of responding to the challenges presented by "citizen" journalism - bloggers and the like. It is important that traditional media organisations such as the BBC do not sit in their ivory towers, but move with the times to fulfil your mission of meeting the needs of the licence fee payer.

There's a lot to be said for using sites like Flickr, Twitter, and so on because of the reach such sites have. As long as their use does not dilute the distinctiveness of the BBC, I am all in favour of extending it. The potential benefits of these tools being used by more BBC field reporters are huge!

  • 3.
  • At 05:06 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Frank Dunn wrote:

I am very excited at the idea of comparing news dissemination via different online communities.

However, as someone who studies the effect of such things I would like to know how he intends to measure the response he gets. Can we establish any scientific pattern to what he does?

Would he be willing to undertake a more scientific approach?

This is excellent. It's good to see Auntie trying out new communication methods to engage with the audience.

Thats a great idea! Please don't lose site of your traditional role as bastions of editorial standards though...

"..through a range of of other sites.."

  • 6.
  • At 12:06 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Olexiy Solohubenko wrote:

A very interesting idea - after Ben is back we'd like to invite him to talk to producers in Americas and Europe Region.

One suggestion for future experiments is to spread the word early - colleagues could help with various briefings and contacts and perhaps have their own creative input into what Ben does.

Looking forward to more material from Ben.

  • 7.
  • At 04:19 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Arthur Simmonds wrote:

How will we distinguish his contributions from all the other blogs and other ramblings we come across on the web?

  • 8.
  • At 05:13 PM on 26 Jun 2007,
  • Purna Dosku wrote:

I'm surprised that the Director of Global News would mix up mold and mould!!
In this sentence "and will break open the conventional mould of foreign correspondent." The correct word would be MOLD.


  • 9.
  • At 10:11 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • ben wrote:

i think you journalists over-estimate the interest the general public has in the nuts and bolts of how you make the news. Why do you think making a news bulletin is so much more exciting than, say, closing a business deal? It's all just entertainment, after all.

  • 10.
  • At 10:11 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Angus Wright wrote:

Many congratulations on an interesting and bold experiment. I do hope, though, that you will extend it to cover London and Washington. Its here above all that alternative voices need to be heard.
Good luck

  • 11.
  • At 10:45 AM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Gareth Williams wrote:

Hmmm...maybe this way the correspondant can avoid the insipid "two-way" with the studio...ok, great, then i'm all for it ;)

  • 12.
  • At 11:32 PM on 29 Jun 2007,
  • Jonathan Books wrote:

Yes, as in line with other comments (particularly 2,4,6, and 10), this is a good idea. However, as some comments have made clear, there are potential problems (eg., comment 1).

It would be good if these links to the other sites that will be hosting BBC material would be formally presented on

There is, of course, no question that the material would be freely available.

  • 13.
  • At 08:34 PM on 07 Jul 2007,
  • Chloe Millay wrote:

Impressive - nice platform. This shows an interesting glimpse of what journalism could be in the future.

Although a lot depends on the abilities of a new type of reporter.

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