BBC BLOGS - The Editors

Archives for November 2012

Mozilla Festival and the fellowship announcement

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 11:40 UK time, Friday, 9 November 2012

Back in July we announced that we'd be working with the Knight-Mozilla fellowship for a second year and invited applications from people passionate about working with technology and journalism, and keen to have an impact in this area at the BBC.

My colleague, senior product manager Andrew Leimdorfer, has this update:

We are pleased to announce that we have decided on our new Knight-Mozilla fellow, Noah Veltman, who will be starting with us in January 2013.

Noah is one of eight 2013 fellows who will all be announced at this weekend's sold-out Mozilla Festival in London who will be based in news organisations around the world, including the Guardian and the New York Times.

There are so many ways that technology is changing journalism that our first challenge is going to be to make a choice about which of these areas Noah will be helping us with next year. Working on new data visualisations and developing innovative content for mobile web will be high on the list.

We welcome Noah to the team and wish all the Knight-Mozilla fellows all the best in 2013.

Election stats - new mobile record

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 13:36 UK time, Thursday, 8 November 2012

BBC coverage of the US election, which my colleague Jon Williams trailed here a couple of days ago, brought the highest traffic to BBC News Online so far this year, and set a new record for us on mobile.

On 7 November, there were 16.4m unique browsers across the website and mobile, 8.1m of which came from the UK. That makes it the highest traffic day of 2012 so far and rivals our two biggest previous days during the August riots and the March Tsunami, in 2011. During the England riots, on 9 August 2011 there were there were 18.2m unique browsers, 10.9m of which came from the UK.

The peak traffic point yesterday was 07:00-08:00 GMT, which saw higher usage than lunchtime, maybe as people checked the results as soon as they woke up. UK usage figures yesterday were 50% higher than the average for 2012, and ex-UK usage was 75% higher than average.

We spent a lot of time working out how to provide the best possible service on mobile, so it's encouraging to see that nearly 5m mobile devices visited BBC News Online yesterday, a record figure for us on mobile, accounting for about 30% of all users yesterday (on an average weekday, we'd expect mobiles to account for about 24% of users).

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

Election night

Jon Williams Jon Williams | 17:18 UK time, Tuesday, 6 November 2012

So after more than a year of campaigning, it all comes down to this. On radio, TV and online, the BBC is gearing up for a big night - in English and 27 other languages. And not just one big night, but 51 separate contests.

Unlike most other countries, the US election is not a nationwide "popular poll". Instead, the president is elected by an Electoral College of 538 delegates from each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. How many come from each, depends on their population. So as the votes pile up, it's the way each state votes that will decide the election.

In most states, thanks to exit polls, it may be possible to project a result the moment the polls close. Working with our friends at ABC News, the BBC will "call" the results, state by state, based on those projections. In states that are too close to call, electronic voting will mean we're able to follow the counting in real time, based on the number of voting precincts reporting.

The first real test will come at midnight GMT when polls close in six states. Virginia, with 13 electoral college votes, will be the first of the battle ground states to report. Half an hour later at 00:30 GMT, polls will also close in Ohio with its 18 votes and North Carolina with 15 votes. As the polls close, the BBC will call the result in each based on projections made by ABC News.

Using the results service on the BBC News website, you'll be able to follow the same data driving the BBC's results system on TV and radio. They will include the state results, the resultant change in the Electoral College vote, and will colour the state and national maps accordingly - red for Republican states, blue for Democrats.

The target for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is to hit a figure of 270 - winning the majority of the 538 delegates to the Electoral College. Once one of the candidates passes the magic 270 total, this election will be over. Then - and only then - will the BBC call the election. A big night and, possibly, a long night beckons.

Jon Williams is world news editor.

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