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How has social media changed the way newsrooms work?

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Kevin Bakhurst Kevin Bakhurst | 10:30 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

Earlier today I gave a talk at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam about how social media has changed the way newsrooms work. The full transcript of the speech is below.

BBC News, like all major news providers, has been transformed by technology and the opportunities it offers over the last 20 or so years. Social media is the latest tectonic plate to move and change the landscape.

It may seem like re-stating the obvious but looking in our rear-view mirror back along the road of technological change shows just how news has changed: typewriters out, computers in; newspaper cuttings libraries closed as the internet opened access to information; mobile phones rather than messages at hotel receptions; satellite technology to feed material rather than tapes put on planes and so on.

Facebook and Twitter logos


Powered by these changes, news has become 24 hours a day; immediate; available on new platforms; mobile. And now the latest powerful tool to change news - social media.

As we'll hear from my colleagues here later, all big news organisations are plunging into the world of social media, looking at its extraordinary newsgathering potential; its potential as a new tool to engage the audience; and as a way of distributing our news.

The BBC, as an early presence on the web, also spotted the possibilities of social media quickly and it has become a highly important and fast-moving part of our multimedia newsroom, as I will outline shortly.

The other area I will also touch on is the range of new challenges and questions that social media poses for the established news providers - like the BBC, CNN, Sky and al-Jazeera.

First, the practical role and influence of social media in the BBC's multimedia newsroom and for BBC News as a whole.

For BBC News, social media currently has three key, highly valuable roles in our journalism:

• newsgathering - it helps us gather more, and sometimes better, material; we can find a wider ranges of voices, ideas and eyewitnesses quickly

• audience engagement - how we listen to and talk to our audiences, and allowing us to speak to different audiences - and

• a platform for our content - it's a way of us getting our journalism out there, in short form or as a tool to take people to our journalism on the website, TV or radio. It allows us to engage different and younger audiences.

Screengrab of BBC News Royal Wedding live page


The BBC already has a fair track record of inviting the audience to get involved in our journalism - web forums; debates; blogs and comments, and most recently incorporating comment within our website story pages, particularly on the live pages.

We are proud of the standards we have set in processing, sifting and verifying material sent to us and sourced through social newsgathering, giving us a new dimension when telling some of the major stories of recent times - the Japan tsunami; the Arab Spring; the Burma uprisings; the Norway shootings; the riots in England.

The team we have allows us to fully engage in using this material, and reinforce the BBC values that our audience expects, in particular accuracy. So we managed to avoid, for example, use of the photo-shopped Bin Laden body photo after his killing.

Many of our leading journalists and presenters now incorporate social media platforms into their work: Tim Willcox; Lyse Doucet; Robert Peston and until recently Laura Kuenssberg (who has now been joined by her Twitter followers, with our blessing, at ITV News).

We've innovated, experimenting with branded hashtags to curate coverage; visualising Royal Wedding day tweets on our website; and work is under way to seamlessly integrate field despatches from our correspondents and reporters into our core news services and social media output.

And like many established news providers, we have created an open and modern set of guidance to help our staff engage, gather news and spread their journalism, working within the BBC's editorial values that are at the core of our journalism.

Here's a short video we've just made to illustrate briefly the role of social media right now in the BBC Newsroom.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

However, now I'd like to add just a little context to the growth of social media for the audiences of BBC News.

Since its launch Twitter has obviously seen rapid growth.

Graph showing growth in @BBCBreaking Twitter account


Look at the @BBCBreaking account which has increased its number of followers very rapidly even in the last 12 months.

It looks impressive, and it is, but compare that with consumption via the website, which has also grown very rapidly, now attracting an average 9m users a day.

Graph showing comparison with linear news


And still the home of our biggest audiences by a country mile is TV News with the BBC News Channel's average weekly audience up 50% in the last year, and the BBC1 TV bulletins reaching 17.5 million viewers in a week.

Social media has strong growth and huge potential - it's a great tool for our journalism, as we've seen, but for the BBC, still draws relatively small numbers. I would say a "small" but highly engaged, dedicated and vociferous part of our audience.

And that leads me on to the second main area I would like to address - and those are the wider challenges presented to so-called "traditional" media by social media.

For good or for ill - and sometimes it is for good, and sometimes not, social media has trashed many of the foundations on which "traditional" media stands. And in all honesty I can raise questions about this but I don't think we yet have all the answers:

• Privacy. In particular privacy of the individual, where are the boundaries? Are there any areas off limits? It seems we can all discuss pregnancies, affairs, ethics, finances, abilities, families. It's out there on Twitter and Facebook and there's no real protection for what, until now, has been largely personal or private.

It leaves traditional media in a very different universe. We mitigate this via very clear guidelines to our staff, which states that although content placed on social media or other websites "may be considered to have been placed in the public domain, re-use by the BBC will usually bring it to a much wider audience". They go on to say that: "We should consider the impact of our re-use, particularly when in connection with tragic or distressing events."

• Anonymity. Many people joining the debate or discussion or sometimes accusing, or attacking, have no name and no face and therefore no seeming personal responsibility for the impact or truth or validity of what they publicly say. Professional journalists, like ours, encouraged to engage in social media spaces but held to account for their views and values, often find themselves engaged in a wholly uneven discussion on coverage or stories with an invisible opponent.

• Ethics. Most of us work within an ethical framework. We won't report the death of a loved one until the family know; we won't just steal material from others; we try to establish facts before pushing a story out there. These are all fundamental and long cherished principles of the way BBC News operates. But not the ground rules of many using social media.

• The Rule of Law. We work within the laws of our land - we avoid libel; or contempt of court; or revealing the names of young victims or juveniles accused of crimes. We don't break court injunctions. Some social media users do many of these things.

Sometimes it has been argued they show up the failings of the laws of the land, and they may do, but often it is done in ignorance of the law, or simply on the assumption that it doesn't matter. And that can leave traditional media looking slow or stick-in-the mud or somehow part of an "establishment" that doesn't tell the whole truth. Look at the case of Ryan Giggs.

• The role of traditional media. Some of our role is probably gone. Will we be "First with the Breaking News"? Probably not in many cases. Someone on Twitter will be. Will we have the first still of a hero or victim? Facebook probably will have it. Will we get the first video out of Syria or Burma? YouTube will almost certainly have it posted first, although we'll often be one of the first to verify it's genuine (or not).

• Audience interaction. This can be a great way of hearing what your audience has to say, and answering questions or engaging. We have sophisticated ways of measuring what our audiences consume, and we keep an eye on what's being said to us and about our content, all of which we consider in our editorial discussions.

However there's a real danger lurking here - namely that we mistake the squalls on Twitter or the views of ten or 20 vociferous tweeters for the view of the audience as a whole. It may be that it is, but it often isn't, and we shouldn't necessarily be swayed in our editorial judgements by a noisy but small row on Twitter.

These are some of the challenges we face with social media and we grapple with them every day.

But you can take those challenges and say that the uncertainties they introduce can actually underline the strengths that established news organisations have, for a very large part of the audience.

In the sea of many voices and stories of claims and general noise, we know there remains an appetite for a journalism that is based on the values that news audiences of "traditional" organisations' like the BBC value most highly of all : truth; accuracy; integrity; verification; independence; and yes, speed. The new environment we are all living in can underline in the audience's mind the values of our journalism.

Lastly, social media shines a powerful light on all that we do. It can be uncomfortable at times but it is ultimately a great thing. It will help keep us all honest. Those traditional organisations who abandon those core values and aspirations will be found out - there is unrelenting examination of all we do - and those who don't live up to their values will quickly surrender their value to audiences in this new world.

Kevin Bakhurst is deputy head of the BBC Newsroom


  • Comment number 1.

    Because social media is so quick (and often inaccurate), it places journalists at the pivot of slowing things down, investigation, providing accuracy and in depth analysis.
    These are the things I look for at BBC, and the things I do not find in so much of the western media.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for this info.I always look for you posts and I do appreciate you for this wonderful Information.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for sharing Mr. Bakhurst. I would say a must read for all corporate communications departments.
    One request: can you share / show the growth in BBC News on mobile? I love your mobile newsroom and would like to see the adoption curve.

  • Comment number 4.

    "How has social media changed the way newsrooms work?"

    It would seem they have possibly affected people's ability to conjugate the verb "to have".

  • Comment number 5.

    Wholeheartedly concur with the content and tenor of your speech.

    To be sure, the coming years are bound to bring even more startling changes.

    As the case of Libya dramatically illustrates, the collaboration that willy-nilly arises between professional, salaried media personnel and the audience that not too long ago was separated from you by an unbridgeable chasm, has an immediate synergistic effect on the world we live in -- and can even have an impact on heretofore monolithic and plainly malevolent systems, such as those of the now defunct Libyan "Green Big Brother Leader" dictatorship.

    Leaving to the side for a moment the fact that Col Qaddafi and his sycophants caused outright physical & mental harm to a captive population, systems such as the one he built up over a period of 42 years are monstrously inefficient, relying on ignorance and deception to maintain their reign of terror, and a source of trouble not merely for their own prisoners, but even for those of us presumably at a remote, 'safe' distance elsewhere.

    The lopsided accumulation of vast riches by an entrenched corrupt clan, as in this now dismantled Libyan police state, engendered its own web of criminal connivance all across the globe. Not only did it set a dreadful example for other aspiring sadists, but it inevitably created entire networks of ruthless financial manipulators, fellow travelers, and agents.

    We should all be pleased that this monstrosity has been toppled. In the coming days, as we settle in to a weekend of remembrance of all that was collectively lost on the 11th of September a decade ago, the juxtaposition of those images against the ones about to emerge of a jubilant, free Libyan Arab society -- for inevitably, Bani Walid and perhaps some other areas are about to be liberated from the presence of the last Qaddafis, their vassals & their groupies, as the deadline for peaceful surrender expires and the time for the military option finally arrives (right about now) -- we can marvel some more at the magnificent possibilities for an accelerated move towards a more efficient and equitable human civilisation that rapidly evolving technological advances have enabled.

    As one humanity, we have many pressing, even daunting problems to address, beginning with the twin dilemma of reviving economic systems and resurrecting a fast-fading biosphere... We do not have all the answers, any of us.

    But we have a chance. And we have tools adequate to the intelligence of those of us motivated to make positive changes, and capable, qualified, to do so.

    As I face this weekend, with its look back at the damage done by one set of extremists, and its look forward to the prospects of a set of resolute, courageous and relentless Libyan Arab Muslims righteously and rightfully enamoured of the idea of "Western-style" Liberty -- an idea plainly hateful to the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks, and the 7 July attacks, and the 11 March attacks (and all the other awful attacks of this past decade) -- I will be grateful to you all, my colleagues, my interlocutors, my information sources, my reporters, my news readers, my news addicts, My Friends -- at the BBC, and everywhere else, who have risked life and limb and sanity in many cases just to let us know exactly what was happening, and where help was most needed.

    Thank you, and kudos: all of you who made the fateful decision to embrace work in the news media as a lifetime mission.

    I am sure others, in positions of authority, will say it much more impressively than I can. But I will simply say: thank you, friends; I love you, I love what you do, I love the results, and I admire your fortitude, for this is not an easy kind of work.

    And thank you, technologists, engineers, scientists, programmers, technology designers and managers, for making all this possible.

    We may have other subjects on which we do not always all agree. But this weekend, and on these subjects -- the outrageous atrocity known as '9/11' & the liberation of Libya from a vicious tyrant -- I suspect we are all in perfect & harmonious concord.

  • Comment number 6.

    'How has social media changed the way newsrooms work?'

    Well, it seems to have propelled twitter to the status of a trusted source in too many cases.

    And a means of actively promoting events to create news as much as using it as another tool in the gleaning armoury.

    '• audience engagement - how we listen to and talk to our audiences, and allowing us to speak to different audiences '

    May prefer to be engaged and talked with:)

    But 'to' is better if not prefixed with 'down'.

    There does seem to have been created an odd set of hybrids out and about where 'interactivity' is possible, and often engaged, but not always. Depending.

    When not, then most 'social media' is simply sticking another speaker on the bandwagon.

    I prefer to be inside having a conversation, just to keep things an exchange as opposed to only being told what I apparently am asking to hear.

    'The BBC already has a fair track record of inviting the audience to get involved in our journalism - web forums; debates; blogs and comments, and most recently incorporating comment within our website story pages, particularly on the live pages.'

    Not sure some, on the wrong end of a rather vague modding regime with a very catch-all tool of watertight oversight, will agree.

    This thread is a nice, rare exception. Hope it doesn't end up closed as soon as most.

    'Many of our leading journalists and presenters now incorporate social media platforms into their work

    I'm enjoying this one, currently:
    Nothing since Aug 18. Maybe no one is interested?

    '• Anonymity. Many people joining the debate or discussion or sometimes accusing, or attacking, have no name and no face and therefore no seeming personal responsibility for the impact or truth or validity of what they publicly say. Professional journalists, like ours, encouraged to engage in social media spaces but held to account for their views and values, often find themselves engaged in a wholly uneven discussion on coverage or stories with an invisible opponent.'

    Boo hoo. If the argument is valid, tough. You, on the other hand, have, and abuse the means to obliterate anything not fancied. That... is uneven.

    '• Ethics. Most of us work within an ethical framework. ... But not the ground rules of many using social media.'

    Lucky you popped that 'most' in there. As there are 'exceptions'. The BBC is no worse, but no better than (my own weasel) most.

    '• Audience interaction. This can be a great way of hearing what your audience has to say, and answering questions or engaging..

    Unless you are a raft of editors and senior staff on this very blog, who either were deaf or became mute before pulling plugs.

    There's a lot of nice, warm, fuzzy stuff up there. Saying it don't make it all so.

  • Comment number 7.

    Casting our minds back a few years, the mainstream media was mortified at how the public would undermine "journalism", yet now this same source of news is embraced. Attribution issues aside (see previous editors post where BBC states that it's free to loot other people's images when the owners don't stop them in time), it should continue to use crowd-sourced submissions but get beyond this rut that all news corporations seem to be stuck in.... In short, it shouldn't be news that people read the news through the site and submit content from our mobile devices. Just like in days of old when we first huddled around our village chiefs before someone realized they can bang drums to get the message out further, this is just evolution... So please get with the program 100% and have policy in place to encourage this; have a hierarchy of public contributions, reduce the overhead of filtering possibly incorrect information from every Tom, Dick and Harry, and "evolve" into a news corporation for a properly connected culture.

  • Comment number 8.

    Kevin Bakhurst's words, "in all honesty I can raise questions about this but I don't think we yet have all the answers", invite all to speak for principles of address.

    As in response to Mark Thomson's call for debate on journalistic boundaries, it bears restatement that from the Agreement attaching to the BBC Charter, and the BBC Guidelines of October 2010, our first principle is clearly framed: our need is to understand the duty of 'due impartiality' as not requiring 'absolute neutrality' but rather positive defence or promotion of 'fundamental democratic principles'.

    The BBC Charter properly forbids expression of a 'BBC opinion' on public policy (other than on broadcasting and the provision of services on-line), but the Charter 'does not require … detachment from fundamental principles', and so empowers and demands of BBC reporting the exploration, for all audience levels, of due understanding of 'fundamental democratic principles' even if under political or commercial pressure not to inform.

    Today, in defence of decisions taken 'to defeat' a competing 'extremist Muslim ideology', our former Prime Minister Tony Blair described our way of life as 'based on openness, democracy, freedom and the rule of law'. If hypocrisy is not to be seen as 'the way of the West', in the minds not just of others but of our own children, the BBC must play a bigger part in promoting discussion towards 'sharable meanings' for our 'fine words'.

    From lack of solidarity with others, the Wheel of Fortune is delivering another Bust to follow the most recent Boom. Economic dislocation is inevitable, and spread of real hardship is now underway from persistence with competition as against co-operation. We will have to 'stop selling' and 'stop buying' false ideals, such as of 'freedom (for some)' and 'democracy (with inequality of voice in the market)', if we wish genuine 'openness' in 'freedom of conscience'.

    As against western and eastern 'commands to believe', from franchised deliverers of Good News from God, global education is needed to allow 'God' to speak more directly, through the facts - as far as we can tell - of 'Creation', Evolution and Human Progress (so far) towards Shared Individual Freedom in Democracy.

    Please feel free, anyone, to pass on the above in 400 characters, or by Tweet.

  • Comment number 9.

    The devlopment and exploitation of the social media provides an excellent opportunity for the BBC to keep its audience informed in quickly changing scenarios accross the world.
    There should be some thought given to the appropriate presentation of less quickly changing developments that affect us. I note the prominence given by the BBC to the video of the "Peace Envoy" who represents the so-called "Peace for Palestine" quartet of Europe and the US. Here there has been no progress. This unchanging scene, is in vivid contrast to the rapidly and exciting movement generated by the Arab Spring which has been imaginatively captured by video presentations on social media.
    Our Middle-East peace envoy, blind to the havoc he has caused in Iraq by conducting an illegal and disastrous war on the Iraqi people, is now urging us all to support him in his desire to bring about regime change in Iran!!! BBC social media is presented with an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the ridiculous stance of our peace envoy.

  • Comment number 10.

    It would be interesting to look at the beeb web viewing statistics since HYS was (closed).
    Social media may attract an audience, but HYS was a successful format that allowed people to engage with the beeb and each other, in one place.
    It has now turned into a search every bbc web page/story to see if a debate is open.
    A pain for the customer, but more hits for the beeb website. Manipulation?

  • Comment number 11.

    7, Jason:

    The public have indeed undermined journalism, by their insatiable appetite for utter drivel, for which they seem more than willing to pay.

  • Comment number 12.

    But of course internet and social media is over-rated. Anonymity yet ability to comment unfettered leads to libel and trash talking and there is no responsibility to prove or check what you are writing. Further as they say, there is a profile of people who are forever online. So, I'm not sure how long this so called social media revolution will last... though but for now it is a reality.

    But I have to add, social media does challenge the traditional media hegemony over the elusive element called "truth". The intellectual thought today is dominated by "a" perspective. Social media allows the "alternate thought" to emerge which in the natural order would get quashed by the present biased thinking based hegemony.

  • Comment number 13.

    '12. At 08:33 11th Sep 2011, Lastsong - Anonymity yet ability to comment unfettered leads to libel and trash talking and there is no responsibility to prove or check what you are writing.

    No doubt. But not exclusive to areas, and people that still those in the MSM try and paint as such exclusively.

  • Comment number 14.

    12: Add the verbs "to be", "to do" and "to allow" to the one I mention at 4.

  • Comment number 15.

    While BBC is on to writing blogs about technology and there is so much hype about technology changing our world, pls also cover the security risks. I mean it is so easy to stalk someone or hack their computer nowadays. Very often even government and defense sites are hacked. So while most organizations now are turning paperless, it is so easy to get inside that data.

    At a personal level, I think women make easier targets -an't let go and persistently hac given that they are generally a little deaf on technology, gadgets etc. Earlier stalkers used to be these weird psychos who would try to stalk a woman. Nowadays, it is very respectable memebers of society - patriarchal sissies who can't take no from a woman - an ex spouse or someone you worked with who just can't accept you don't want to be involved with him anymore. It gives these cowards a great kick to harass you electronically. The catch is, that you know it, he knows it but it is so hard to prove it....

    Technology is making privacy so easily exploitable. So how safe is a paperless office and individuals since we keep so much stuff - personal and professional on the computer. You'd be amazed at the profile of people who do this sort of stuff (education and profession wise they often come from the cream of the society - just my experience) but I wish there was more research into cyber targeting and cyber breach of security. I see it as a big threat of the future.

    ..though I digress from the original post of social media but I would like to see some articles exposing this phenomenon as well as assessing future risks to individuals and organizations. And since hacking can be done from anywhere, I don't think there are any international laws in this regard. (if I may say so, hacking seems a v respectable profession particulalry in many ex communist states where an individual has always been considered dispensable)..

  • Comment number 16.

    Very interesting article about the rise in technology with regards to news reporting. The BBC needs to remain unbiased in it's approach to reporting the coverage so it does not alienate any group of people. This is a good article which outlines ways in which the police could prevent a similar outbreak in the future -

  • Comment number 17.

    @ 13.At 09:39 11th Sep 2011, JunkkMale
    Yes Junkmale, on such a trivial (and bizzare) story, atleast the media recanted and apologized for the gaffe. But it was just a gaffe.

    I do question Main Stream self righteous journalists claims that they bring integrity and truth to the surface whereas social media is about drivel. In case of Libya, it certainly has been "the other way round". While social media has been rife with abuse stories by rebels for the last 5 -6 months, it is only now UN and Amnesty Intl. have started confirming these reports and I quote from one of them:

    "From the start of the Libyan rebellion black people in Libya have been attacked and lynched by rebel mobs. This has been known by human rights groups and the United Nations as well as by the intelligence agencies, military forces, media and political leaders in the NATO countries – but they have generally kept a lid on it because it does not suit the narrative."

    "The Sydney Morning Herald also carried a report of rebel killings, stating, "Diana Eltahawy, Libya researcher for Amnesty International, said a trail of abuse, torture and the extrajudicial killing of captured pro-Gaddafi fighters had followed the rebels from east to west as they took over the country, " the report goes on to say, "The worst treatment of Gaddafi loyalists seemed to be reserved for anyone with black skin."

    There have been continued allegations that workers from sub Saharan Africa have been threatened and killed by rebels presuming they were Gaddafi mercenaries. According to the SMH many black detainees in Zawiyah told Amnesty they were migrant workers.

    Reporting from Libya has bestowed rebel fighters with a purpose, a higher moral ground, than government troops. This is now increasingly questionable. Evidence has existed for several months of rebel atrocities but mainstream media have declined to expose it.

    John Rosenthal in July wrote in the Big Peace, "There is extensive and virtually incontrovertible evidence of horrific atrocities committed by rebel forces under their control." He also stated that video evidence of executions and "grotesquely inhumane and demeaning treatment of prisoners" was available but ignored by media in the U.S. and Europe.

    If these accounts are accurate then NATO's mandate to protect civilians was ignored as they rushed to provide support to oust the Gaddafi regime. It will be telling if NATO insists on ICC prosecutions for those on the rebel side who%2

  • Comment number 18.

    And if I may add...kudos to Amnesty for for non aligned reporting on human rights abuses in both camps.

  • Comment number 19.

    '17. At 05:19 13th Sep 2011, Lastsong wrote:
    @ 13.At 09:39 11th Sep 2011, JunkkMale
    Yes Junkmale, on such a trivial (and bizzare) story, atleast the media recanted and apologized for the gaffe. But it was just a gaffe.

    Well, we can trade examples, based on areas of personal concern, all day.

    But I suggest the one I cited was more serious than the 'gaffe' you quaintly try and dismiss, with the obligatory 'moving on' attempt.

    This thread is about social media, and its impact on reporting.

    I'd suggest the whole issue was spun out of control by a poor grasp of what is only a potential new source of possible leads, and living in a bubble that reinforces tribal stereotypes whilst in theory paid and part of a £4Bpa media organisation with the word British in its brand.

    Especially in areas being 'reported from' where propagandist misrepresentations can turn into something pretty darn ugly, pretty darn quick. More so when tweeted up via 'the world's most trusted news medium'.

    And it's getting more and more pervasive, not in a good way.

    I see that as a matter of serious concern as much as the specific areas we trust to be reported on professionally and with integrity.

  • Comment number 20.

    I guess individually the journalists must have professionalism and integrity but end of the day, compromise is key to success in life. There must be intense pressure on media channels (only so called free in the so called free world) to block out news that is inconvenient to the power blocs. I see Libya has altogether disappeared from BBC news main page - as soon as the inconvenient truth starts emerging.

  • Comment number 21.

    '20. At 14:08 13th Sep 2011, Lastsong - There must be intense pressure on media channels (only so called free in the so called free world) to block out news that is inconvenient to the power blocs.

    Of that, no doubt.

    Hence being 'sensitive' to being told that is not the case, often, when bending to such pressures, either in agreement or to spite them seems pretty much clear and present.

  • Comment number 22.

    It would be good of the self proclaimed "morally responsible" MSM to cover things as the following:
    1 What is ICC's inherent right to judge? Is it an elitist and racist institution? How representative is that? How can "mad dictatot" Gaddafi be charged but not "mad dictator" Sarkozy? I would like to see this debate given the latter has flouted all international norms and legalities (plus under his rule France democracy index has fallen to below that of developing countries like South Africa. On that basis should France be bombed since it is no more a fully functional democracy any more?).

    2. How does this NATO operation work? Since most countries seemed opposed to intervention, how was the decision road rolled onto it? Is the West suffering from extreme form of "cronyism" and "spineless sycophancy" as the primary governance culture?

    3. If water and electricity supply of Paris was bombed in the name of freedom, would not the MSM be giving coverage to common people and how their lives have been affected? How come we don't see this coverage for Tripoli?

    If every body is not equal in your eyes, then my friends I'm afraid, you haven't yet learnt the meaning of "democracy" - just right to vote only makes it a mob rule. You are missing the essence of it altogether.

    So, while social media is allowing underdogs of the netherworld to express their dismay and anguish at your callous approach to the developing world, MSM continues to operate as per the old norms. Social media does give voice to those who count less and does not bow to pressure from power blocs! That is its advantage over MSM which shies away from asking such tough questions.

    MSM - it is time to get off the self righteo

  • Comment number 23.

    I think social media has made the world even more connected and allowed a greater level of freedom of speech. Actually newsrooms have become more reactive as opposed to pro-active essentially allowing the public to report their own news the media is the voice of social media news. I really like the fact that places that are remote can become connected through the use of social media. When I first heard about social media I had no idea it would have the effect it has politically and culturally I initially thought it would be something teens would use to chat and post pics and that's about it. How wrong could I be.

  • Comment number 24.

    I commented on the story about Cameron's visit to Libya several hours ago, but I notice that all comments older than half an hour on that thread have 'disappeared'!
    I can see the story has been updated but so has Steph Flanders blog yet all the earlier comments on that thread are still there.
    If our comments mean so little then why ask for them?

  • Comment number 25.

    '24. At 18:41 15th Sep 2011, muggwhump -
    If our comments mean so little then why ask for them?

    There's a box, somewhere, that says 'Are you (the BBC) listening?'

    Asking, but doing no more, and in fact doing a lot that counteracts any response, still gets that box ticked.

  • Comment number 26.

    I listened to today's "Question- Time" (Jonathon Dimbleby) with my usual anticipation. I was slightly disappointed at the half hearted discussion re the forthcoming UN bid for full national status by Palestine. (Pity that social media intervention was naturally precluded)
    I was shocked that not a single voice for - or against the issue in this all important debate was broadcast in the "Any Answers" that followed! Here, I am sure, social media would have been excluded. Why was this allowed to happen???

  • Comment number 27.

    The online news website is littered with bad spelling and poor grammar. I suggest you get a grip and sort your people out. The news pages are read all over the world and it is a sorry reflection on the very low educational level of people employed by the BBC to post the news. The latest howler is regarding the conjoined twins.......the leed surgeon.....LEED !! what ??

  • Comment number 28.

    '27. At 16:27 18th Sep 2011, Richard wrote:
    I suggest you get a grip and sort your people out.

    Not sure either are in the handbook.

    Punting out one way tractor stats on how good it all is and will be, however... watch this space (now, sadly, one that is so vast, and open so long, it has to be filled with anything at all, as opposed to anything of relevance or quality).

  • Comment number 29.

    Says Eddy from Waring (#4, "13:51 9th Sep 2011") about this thread's new-grammar heading "How has social media changed the way newsrooms work?":


    It would seem they have possibly affected people's ability to conjugate the verb "to have".


    To be consistent the BBC should make a more thorough job of the singularly distracting effect by saying "the way newsrooms works".

  • Comment number 30.

    Kevin, the introduction of social media in newsrooms is indeed revolutionary but I do believe some rigour needs to be applied in terms of validation of citizen journalism through tweets, facebook updates and the like. It's easy for false information to spiral out of control with social media - at the very least newsrooms need to clearly mark the social feeds as on-the-ground opinion rather than fact until some effort is taken to verify data.

    A topic of discussion on many of the blogs of photo journalists currently revolves around the usage by traditional media of photos in the public domain via tweets etc. This has occurred to me a couple of times whilst on assignment covering the Middle East and Libya. In both instances, however, the newspapers in question acknowledged me as the source (at least my twitter account anyway!)

    Introducing some formality into the process in my opinion will bolster the current newsroom offering and in fact promote citizen journalism rather than being a competitive source of news.

    Oli - Czech on Africa blog.

  • Comment number 31.

    You all do not understand that artificial intelligence is quite literal. The atomic bomb was a suicide attempt. Mother Earth of course stopped the other bombs from going up in smoke. The internet was created in Japan (see Al Gore for proof of this) at this moment. Did the internet know so much, yet so little love, did I try to reunite itself with itself in rest and harmony. The philosophers stone, least you forget, is: just love.

  • Comment number 32.

    If you class the BBC's news website as social media - then NO.
    On the Scottish news political website we only have one commentator AND
    for the past month this site has been "hit or miss".
    Please get them to keep the "old" comment open until a new comment is posted
    otherwise your Scottish politivcal website audience has no BBC forum at all.

  • Comment number 33.

    Here is some graphic video evidence and proof of what conspired and who really plotted the 911 terror tragedy in new York, NY USA, on September 11th, 2001.
    I challenge everyone to watch this, and send to the U.N. Hague for independent review as we have, as the Justice pepartment and F.B.I. (past director) covered this up along with the help of the American nationalized paid off media. We have electronic reply/thankyou responses from most all major media agencies, as well as the Whitehouse and F.B.I. as for proof of their reception of this evidence presented once again here. It's about doing what's right for humanity!

  • Comment number 34.

    Abhijit_Lahiri writes: Kevin Bakhurst has cogently analyses the role of social media in changing the new room work. In continuation of his analysis, may I now add that it is an undeniable fact, the ever alert opinion forums through social medium networks has in an unequivocal terms galvanized news work rooms which at time looks lethargic in its attitude.

  • Comment number 35.

    What's with all the editorial pieces going to Twitter. I don't want to join Twitter; so, this change precludes my comments.
    Can you explain the rationale - like you have a lot more Twitter followers than those of us who do not want to Twitter.

  • Comment number 36.

    It is a good tool to have in your arsenal, and more so, if the rules are being flouted by those using it - you come off looking better because you do.

  • Comment number 37.

    Kevin, I came across a good article through one of Steve Hermann's posts with some ideas about how social media and newsrooms can better integrate to provide more public value.

    Traditional media need not be dead but they definitely need to adapt themselves to ubiquitous new technology otherwise they will likely die off!


  • Comment number 38.

    Yes, there is no doubt that social media totaly has changed our lives. We are always keeping touch with social media and that is a great achivement and we can share everything with the whole world within few minutes. But on the other hand side i also see some very negative things of this social media i.e. sometimes they totaly manipulate the things and misguide us which could be the cause of big danger.

    So in my opinion there is should be a some kind of system for approving authentic news like on this blog moderators will check the authentic comments first before approval so people can only the genuine information. So same like this a system should be launched, specially on a goverment level when they try to publish some kinda fake information.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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