BBC BLOGS - The Editors

Panorama Online: The next phase

Derren Lawford | 13:26 UK time, Monday, 5 January 2009

Today sees the official launch of the new Panorama website and I hope you won't mind me saying a few words about it here and seeing whether you think that this is a good use of the web by a TV programme.

Panorama logoSo much work goes into a 30 minute Panorama or a one hour special and the website struck me as the perfect platform to showcase the best of our journalism online. Britain's Terror Heartland is a prime example; blog posts from Tom Giles and Jane Corbin provided extra context, while an extended interview with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik gave those of you interested in the subject an extra perspective. Jane also wrote a feature on the programme and introduced it online in a short video.

I was also very keen for the new Panorama website to be more interactive and responsive to you, the people that use it. You should now find it easier to both get in contact with the programme and e-mail us any story ideas too. Where possible, we'll follow them up and see what can be done.

And even if you are already familiar with the website, there's more to read, watch, comment on and contribute to. If you're coming to the website for the first time, hopefully there's enough interesting material - features, picture galleries, short videos, full length films and blog posts - to make it somewhere you would like to come back to again.

While working on the relaunch, Ofcom published its latest report on the communications industry which made interesting reading, especially as 26% of those aged 15-24 claim to use the internet for "watching TV programmes", up 16% on the year before. 51% used the web for "watching video clips/webcasts", up by the same amount. But the report also noted an increase across all the age ranges for audio-visual content online and that the fastest growing online community is actually the oldest (although they are still in the minority).

Luckily, we were already planning to reflect this changing attitude to media online, which is why the first thing you'll probably have noticed when you look at the front page is a big embedded video player. This will either have key moments from a current Panorama programme or a reporter's take on the film they've made.

Now, just as I took over the Panorama website, there was a story in Broadcast magazine that said that Panorama was going to start doing online "minisodes". Having previously created and produced them for BBC Three's award-winning Current Affairs strand, Born Survivors, this was a reasonable assumption to make. However, I felt that the Panorama website needed a wider variety of video footage.

That's why there's a new section called Panorama Video Extras, a mixture of extra exclusive programme footage, original material made by my multiplatform team, re-versioned snippets from the programme, classic clips - and the odd minisode, too.

And after seeing the impact that the Born Survivors Season can have on other platforms outside the BBC, I was determined that we have a presence in the appropriate places too. So you can now keep up to date with the latest goings on in Panorama via Twitter, check out the archive on Delicious and watch some key moments from our films on YouTube.

We're now fully integrated with the iPlayer and the BBC's online programmes pages too, so hopefully when you come to the website you should now find it a lot simpler to catch up on the latest Panorama programme on iPlayer.

But I also wanted to make it easier to watch Panorama online for longer, a full 12 months after they are broadcast in fact. We've actually been doing this for a while, but judging by the e-mails we receive, not a lot of you are aware of this. That's why we've created a new section on the homepage called "Watch previous programmes in full". It does exactly what it says on the tin.

I mentioned blogs earlier, so who can you expect to hear from on the Panorama team? Well, the likes of our online archivist specialist Eamonn Walsh will be thematically linking programmes from the present to the past, giving classic clips a fresh airing and reflecting on the programmes from our past that you still chat about online.

Then from the main production team, there's Panorama Deputy Editor Tom Giles and reporters Jane Corbin, Raphael Rowe and John Sweeney. And of course I look forward to you all joining in the various debates too (indeed, some of you have already). Whether it's on our own blogs or your own, we'll do our best to make it one big (no doubt heated at times) conversation.

There's more...

One of the main things I felt was lacking from the old website was a permanent and prominent space for the reporters. For all their investigative and award-winning endeavours, there didn't seem to be enough information about them online. So we've created a new section called "The Team" and completely revamped all their pages with new pictures, text and the first in a series of bespoke videos that should give you a better idea of what makes the likes of Paul Kenyon, Vivian White and Raphael Rowe want to be a Panorama reporter today.

But I was acutely aware that despite the achievements of Panorama in 2008 and the technological advancements that allow a website to offer so much more, the programme itself has been around for 55 years.

To better reflect Panorama's enduring legacy, you can now find, among other things, a 50th anniversary film and microsite; a video timeline that charts Panorama through the decades; a picture gallery of famous faces from Panorama's past and a fun quiz to test your knowledge of the programme.

So all in all, lots of changes and hopefully lots more for you to get your teeth into. As ever, if there's anything you rate or hate, e-mail me at with "website" as the subject - or leave a comment below.

Derren Lawford is Panorama's Multiplatform Editor.

We still want your views

Derren Lawford | 10:58 UK time, Friday, 5 September 2008

Since my last blog, I've been busy putting together a highly skilled multiplatform team in place with a diverse range of skills for the new look Panorama website, from news and feature writing, editing and shooting video, encoding content for the web, to research and film archive.

Panorama logoThe site hasn't re-launched yet, but we're already trying different things on the current website and on You Tube where Panorama's Primark: On The Rack special had a strong presence. This week's programme How The Economy Got Personal used information from an online "Feeling the Pinch" questionnaire which was suggested by Sandy Smith who edits Panorama. We promoted it on different platforms; our website, via the Panorama e-mail newsletter and other parts of BBC News online, local radio and Jeremy Vine's show on Radio 2. More than 8,000 of you thought it was a good idea. A big thank you to all of you who took part.

The full results of the questionnaire are up on the website. Although it's not scientific as the figures were taken from a self-selecting sample rather than an official poll which has a representative sample, it did provide us with an interesting snapshot of what 8,770 people in the UK are concerned about.

So, in that sense it was invaluable to get such a big response to a story that has been dominating the headlines all year. That's why we're keeping the questionnaire online for a bit longer so if you haven't had a chance to to fill it in, you can.

And judging by the e-mails we've already received it's a story that will continue to develop as people struggle to cope with increasing fuel, energy and food bills as well as a fragile property market. We're always interested in how the big stories are affecting you, so if you've got a story you think we should investigate or know about please e-mail

Panorama redesign

Derren Lawford | 10:05 UK time, Monday, 12 May 2008

I'm just starting a new job looking after the multi-media presence of the BBC's longest running investigations programmes, Panorama, and I'd like to ask you for some help.

Panorama logoIt's been a big 12 months for Panorama, covering a wide range of topics from corruption in the UN to teenage sex for sale in the UK and everything in between.

We've also seen our past stories hit the news again, most recently with Princes, Planes and Pay-offs coming back into the fore following a review into business practices at defence firm BAE Systems.

One of my responsibilities will be completely relaunching the Panorama website. In the next few months, I hope we will be bringing you a new and very much improved site. That's why I'd like to hear from anyone who already uses it, what do you rate and what do you hate? Your feedback here will help us as we set about redesigning the way it looks and works.

It's also clear to me on starting the new position, however, that as a team we don't always know how our stories affect people. Do they alter people's perceptions of the world? Do they change their behaviour? Do they stick in the mind for days or weeks after broadcast?

So please let me know about how past Panoramas have affected you or your thoughts.

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