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News Archive Connected Studio: Build Studio

Peter Rippon

Editor, BBC Online Archive and Connected Studio

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The plans for the BBC’s News Archive are moving apace now following a really creative two day Build Studio event in Belfast last week. Eight Indy teams who successfully wowed us at the Connected Studio event in January came to build prototypes and hone their ideas. We were housed in the Titanic Centre in Belfast, for long hours sat on chairs rumoured to have been made for the ship itself. We managed to achieve a lot more than just re-arrange them!

The ideas broadly crystallised around three, sometimes overlapping, themes. Using archive to enhance and enrich audience understanding of News happening now; exploiting local and location based experiences; and making experiences more social and personal.

Teams at work at the News Archive Build studio

Audiences consistently tell us they want News stories with more context and depth. News can sometimes feel like a moving car. It can be quite hard catching up or getting into a News story when you arrive in the middle of it happening. However, audiences do not like feeling they are being told what they need to know, they want to control and discover for themselves. Can the archive help meet these needs with a story like Ukraine and Crimea for example? We have been covering the story since before Stalin’s purges. Loftus Media  & Softwire, Big Motive, VBOT  and Think all explored ideas around this theme.

The extraordinary growth in mobile use, 50% year on year grow this month for the BBC, means storytelling informed by where you are is becoming increasingly interesting. Journalists from TV, Radio and Newspapers have traditionally not really given much thought to where the person consuming your story is, beyond very broad geography. Archive and location are also obvious partners. If you care about News local to you, you are likely to care about events in the past that are local too. Aerian Studios and Planning Unit teams both looked at the kind of experiences that could be created.

Finally archive also has really potency to drive nostalgia and connect with audiences emotionally. Social networks, and the instinct that drives people to share content, is often driven by a similar emotional power. So how can we exploit that apparently similar sensibility? Clearleft, and the team from Nixon McInnes  & BBC R&D looked at this.

Overall the teams delivered a range of strong, distinct ideas at the end of an intense couple of days. The next step is to test these simple proofs of concepts with audience panels, and use this research to help us decide which to develop further as fully-featured pilots or live trials.

Peter Rippon is Editor, BBC Online Archive

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