Part of our remit is to bring people together for shared experiences. Whether for major sporting occasions, music festivals, national occasions, or important news events, people expect us to provide distinctive coverage that they can trust.
The very nature of these events is that they are not broadcast from a BBC studio, but can happen anywhere in the UK or indeed the world.
We are sometimes criticised for the number of people we send to cover events, but creating high quality output is an enormous undertaking which requires more than just the on-screen or on-air presenters and someone behind a camera or a microphone. There are also many behind-the-scenes jobs such as laying cables (45 kilometres at Glastonbury), driving the satellite trucks, ensuring all the technical equipment works, staffing the edit stations, looking after guests and organising the logistics.
We look very carefully at the number of people we send to cover any event and we always look to see if we can send fewer people than we did the previous time. Every member of the team has a clear and accountable role and staff on location have to work incredibly hard and very long hours.
Here are some examples of recent events and how we covered them.
The Commonwealth Games
Held once every four years, The Commonwealth Games is an important international sporting event – 71 nations took part in the games in Delhi.
In 2010 153 BBC staff from the UK went to Delhi to cover the Games – a significant reduction on the 252 we sent to Melbourne in 2006. They worked on TV, radio, News, red button, online, and national and regional radio output. Between them they provided 1,800 hours of television coverage as well as radio and online.
The Commonwealth Games is unique in that it is the only international sporting event where England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey all compete as separate teams. Because of this we also produce regional radio content for broadcast in each of these regions.
The BBC Sport website included a choice of up to six live video streams as well as on-demand video highlights of the best of the action. This was accompanied by live text commentary featuring text and emails from readers.
Glastonbury is a major British cultural event and widely regarded as the UK’s most significant popular music event.
Every year our coverage attracts huge audiences and allows millions of people who couldn't get tickets to enjoy the festival from their homes – in 2010 15.8 million people watched some of the coverage on TV and approx 5.7 million tuned in to the radio content.
We are the official broadcast partner of Glastonbury, which means we are responsible for all broadcast infrastructure and transmission from the festival. Our pictures are used around the world and made available to all UK broadcasters for their news programmes across the weekend.
In 2010, 274 BBC staff and freelancers worked at Glastonbury: 131 staff and 143 freelancers. They produced about 150 hours of television (including red button), 60 hours of radio and a comprehensive website with around 170 hours of video. They also ran the BBC Introducing Stage which showcases new young artists at the event.
The Chilean Miners
People turn to the BBC for trusted reporting of major news and the story of the Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days was no exception.
The story lasted 53 days from the discovery of the miners being trapped to the Phoenix capsule finally bringing the 33 miners safely to the surface. Our team provided content for TV, radio and online, both here in the UK as well as for BBC World News and BBC World Service.
We sent around 20 people from BBC News to cover the story and a small team from Global News which is commercially funded. Our Chilean freelance correspondent was at the site reporting from day one, and two weeks into the story we sent a production team to cover the story across BBC News, including News at Ten five nights in a row. As the story continued to build presenter Tim Willcox and a producer arrived on site, with two satellite engineers, allowing us to broadcast live and avoid paying external satellite charges.
For the final stage of the rescue, a logistics producer arranged accommodation, transport, workspace and accreditation for the team and we sent two more satellite engineers to give us satellite services 24 hours a day. During the final four days our team worked 18 hour days, to provide coverage for our outlets.
On the day of the rescue almost 7 million people watched the story on the BBC News Channel and more than 8 million people looked at the coverage on the News website.