BBC BLOGS - The Editors

Archives for July 2012

Applications open for Knight-Mozilla fellowship

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 11:27 UK time, Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Following a successful first fellowship scheme called the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, we are keen to continue our partnership this year.

If you're a developer or technologist keen to spend 10 months in one of the best newsrooms in the world, the 2012/13 Knight Mozilla Fellowships are now accepting applications until 11 August.

Here's senior product manager Andrew Leimdorfer with more details about the scheme:

It's a pretty exciting time to be involved in the cross-over between technology and journalism at the BBC.

There's the move to the heart of London's West End. New Broadcasting House, with its state-of-the-art Newsroom will be home to 6,500 employees by early 2013. There are new platforms to focus on as the audience using hand-held devices grows and grows. There are new ways of working with data, and a great opportunity to start working more closely with television graphics in our newly created visual journalism unit. Then there are all the emerging technologies for building news apps.

Want to get involved? Turns out you can.

The BBC News Specials team has been hosting a Knight-Mozilla fellow since the beginning of this year. Laurian Gridinoc has been in and out of our newsroom since January, helping us build our election results maps back in April, and, this month, helping us work out how we might develop new storytelling formats using video.

In the meantime, he's also been busy hacking away with the other 2011/12 Knight-Mozilla fellows. He attended SXSW in Texas, the Eyeo festival in Minneapolis, spent two days in Florence hacking TOR before going to Dundee for the OpenNews Datalive hackdays, then back to London for the Guardian's Discovery week and the BBC's News Labs.

If this combination of working on news content for a massive audience, and attending hack events that will put you in touch with some of the most creative people in the industry sounds appealing, then there's just a few weeks left to apply for the 2012-13 fellowship.

The deadline is August 11. You could end up at BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, Zeit Online, or Pro Publica.

For more information visit the Mozilla Open News Site.

BBC School Report follows the torch relay

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Helen Shreeve Helen Shreeve | 10:30 UK time, Thursday, 26 July 2012

"Legacy" is a word that you can't escape at the moment - and when it comes to finding out what young people think about the Olympics and Paralympics, BBC News School Report has been giving pupils the chance to report on everything to do with the 2012 Games.

Lord Coe and School reporters


With the torch relay coming to a close, School Report's unique news deployment - involving a 90,000-strong team of reporters - continues to tell the story of 2012 from the perspective of young people.

For the past five years, School Report has helped 11-16-year-olds report their own news. But with 2012 being such a special year, we decided to try something new. I wrote to every secondary head teacher in the UK, inviting their schools to join the BBC's 2012 reporting team. More than 1,000 head teachers signed up, committing about 90,000 pupils to the cause.

Since our News Day in March - featuring everyone from the prime minister to Elbow - schools have continued to file reports from all the main events of the summer, including the Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012 and all 70 days of the torch relay. As Lord Coe put it: "School reporters have followed us every step of the way."

Here are some of my personal highlights - and of course there's much more on the BBC School Report site.

Jane Hill and school reporters
Mounts Bay Academy and Cape Cornwall School in Cornwall got exclusive access to RNAS Culdrose, where the Olympic flame arrived in the UK. Making a film and appearing live with presenter Jane Hill on the News Channel, the reporters met the air traffic controllers who had first sight of the torch, and stood on the tarmac where the plane landed.

Students at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock had a special reason to be excited when the torch came to their school. Their town is the place which inspired the modern Olympics thanks to a certain Dr William Penny Brookes. When the flame arrived, school reporters Tara and Zach brought the experience to life, recording their own commentary on an iPhone.

On World Sports Day in June, school reporters were in Sheffield as Lord Coe returned to his old school. It was the second interview he'd given to students from Handsworth Grange Community Sports College. On our Big School Trip to the Olympic Park in March, he gave them the exclusive that he was running with the torch in his hometown.

Harry from Charlton School has been one of our star reporters this year, covering the 2012 story all year. In March he was at the Olympic Park grilling Lord Coe about the legacy of the Games for children with disabilities and when the flame came near his school, he and fellow reporter Charlie went out to cover the event.

Students from The Bridge Academy in Hackney caused a stir with their reporting, with BBC Sport's James Pearce tweeting: "These kids have given you an exclusive..." - the very first pictures of the BBC's Olympic studio.

Schools have broken up for the summer now but some school reporters will be carrying on during the Games. Look out for their reports on the BBC School Report site and on BBC World, Radio 5 live, News Channel and Newsround.

Helen Shreeve is editor of BBC News School Report.

Introducing World Service radio's Newsday

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Jamie Angus Jamie Angus | 15:39 UK time, Friday, 20 July 2012

BBC World Service's radio output overnight is familiar to night owls inside the UK who listen on Radio 4 and on DAB, but for our audiences around the world's time zones, the programmes that run between 03:00 and 08:30 serve some very disparate groups of people.

Lerato Mbele and Lawrence Pollard

Newsday presenters Lerato Mbele and Lawrence Pollard

Starting on Monday 23 July there are some big changes to the programmes in this timeslot.

Until now, at these times you would have heard The World Today, and those listening in Africa would hear Network Africa at half-past the hour. Now however, both these programmes are being replaced by the new Newsday programme from World Service Radio, a single global daily news programme with a particular interest in its audiences in Africa.

So why the change? The current listening experience in Africa is far from ideal - two separate programmes with very different editorial takes on the day's news, in separate halves of the hour. We want to offer African audiences a single programme that has international news at its heart, but brings the biggest African stories to the world, and covers the biggest international stories with a particular eye on relevance for African audiences.

We're trying the same thing on BBC World News' new Focus on Africa bulletin which goes out on the channel at 18:30 each day, and on terrestrial partner stations across the continent.

To do this we've brought together the teams from the BBC African Service, and their colleagues in World Service English, along with a presenting team drawn from some of our biggest existing names, and some exciting new talent.

Every day the programme will be co-presented between London and Johannesburg. Lerato Mbele has joined us. Formerly of CNBC and SABC, she's one of southern Africa's best-known broadcasters. Hearing her live from South Africa every morning will help shape a great new sound for the programme, and engage new audiences for the BBC inside Africa on our FM relay stations and our 48 FM partners across the continent.

Listeners around the world can feel confident they'll continue to get the range of news and context around the day's events that they've come to expect. Of course, for the first three weeks of the programme's life, the biggest story is likely to be in London, as the world's attention turns to the Olympics.

So we hope you'll join us. With the team out on location each day, it's the perfect launch pad for the new show. And if things sound a little different to what you've come to expect, I hope you'll feel free to let us know what you think.

Jamie Angus is senior commissioner for BBC Global News.

Technical problems

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 11:41 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2012

As some of you may have spotted, there's a problem at the moment with some of the data in our "Most Popular" module, where the "Most Read" section is pulling in some older stories (check the story date stamp if in doubt) along with new ones. We apologise for any confusion this is causing. We're working to fix it as soon as we can.

UPDATE Thursday 12 July 13:36 BST

The problem with the "Most popular" module has been fixed.

But, as you may have seen, there was also a major problem for BBC Online overall, with the whole site unavailable for a period of time on Wednesday evening. Richard Cooper, of BBC Future Media, explains more fully here.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

A big day for BBC News

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Mary Hockaday Mary Hockaday | 10:11 UK time, Monday, 9 July 2012

Most of the time a big day in the BBC Newsroom is defined by the stories. The Japanese tsunami. The death of Gaddafi. The Eurozone crisis. The Diamond Jubilee.

The Newsroom in New Broadcasting House, pictured before the big move


Today is a different kind of big day for BBC News. Our new Newsroom in central London is open for business.

At 11:00 BST we broadcast World Briefing live from studio SL1 for World Service audiences and our World online team has been publishing coverage of the US heatwave, the floods in Russia and events in Syria from the new Newsroom for our UK and international online news services.

Many other teams are already working in other parts of New Broadcasting House - including all the BBC's international language services. But today is the day when the BBC Newsroom at BH gets up and running.

NBH is a wonderful new home, constructed to the east of the original BBC Broadcasting House with its beautiful prow fronted by Eric Gill's famous sculpture of Ariel. Now seven floors of striking glass and steel complement the original Portland stone, curving around a new welcoming piazza just north of Oxford Circus. In terms of funding, the new development has been financed by a public-private partnership involving a special bond, and the overall move has enabled savings for the BBC of an estimated £736m. More details here.

Over the next few months the journalists now working in the Newsroom will be joined by many others. Next, UK Online, World News and the team that produces the summaries and bulletins on Radios 2, 3, 4 and 6 Music will be moving in.

They'll then be joined by the News at One, Six and Ten, the BBC News channel and our newsgathering staff. Our video editing and graphics teams, studio directors and studio managers are also moving in, developing and testing all the new kit right through until early next year when the newsroom will be fully operational.

Until then, we'll still be making much of our news output at Television Centre in west London. But today is an important milestone, as the BBC's future Newsroom starts work.

New Broadcasting House gives us new studios, new operating systems and new technology. But more than this, it offers our journalists a purpose-built newsroom fit for the 21st Century, truly transforming the way we work.

We are bringing all our journalists who serve UK and global audiences together for the first time. Our coverage of international news for audiences in the UK will be strengthened by working alongside colleagues from World Service.

And we have the chance to make sure that the right teams are working together to support sharing of ideas and content. We know that audiences get their BBC news from various platforms - radio, television and digital - from connected televisions to PCs, mobiles and tablets, and in the new Newsroom it will be easy to share what we do across those devices.

Our job is to do the very best high quality journalism we can, and then make sure it reaches you however you choose to get your news. New TV studios also give us the opportunity to refresh the look and feel of our news programmes, and we'll be using the backdrop of the building itself to give audiences a sense of the quality and openness of the building.

In the high-ceilinged space filled with light from the building's windows and atria, our international web team and World Service radio news team are now in place. Our job in New Broadcasting House for years to come is to produce brilliant BBC news services from an ambitious newsroom. That work starts today.

Mary Hockaday is head of the BBC newsroom.

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