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Peter Horrocks

Multimedia news


As a consumer of BBC News on the web, do you expect it to cover the same stories as BBC News on TV and radio? I ask, because today is a very big day for BBC News which has now been re-organised in a fully multimedia fashion. As the head of the new multimedia newsroom that is responsible for our core output on web, TV and radio, I want to know about our audiences’ preferences in the world of multi-platform news.

I hope you agree, if you use our services on a number of platforms, that the BBC has a generally strong reputation in all media. But up until today the editorial decisions have been taken separately in three different departments – Radio News, News Interactive and TV News. Now those proud departments are no more. Instead we have a new system that allows the great strengths of each of our editorial areas to create an even stronger editorial proposition. We have re-organised into two main departments responsible for our audience-facing services:

• The multimedia newsroom comprises the BBC News website, the radio summaries and bulletins (except for Radio 1), BBC World Service news, BBC News 24, BBC World, BBC Breakfast and the bulletins on BBC One at 1, 6 and 10, among others.

• The multimedia programmes departments contains Five Live, the Today programme, World at One, Newsbeat, Newshour, Newsnight, Panorama, the Andrew Marr Show, Hardtalk and a wide range of other diverse programmes.

This new structure will help us to be more efficient and so save money to invest in improvements to BBC News. We will be putting more into on-demand news – for instance developing content for new platforms such as mobile and IPTV; increasing personalisation and providing purpose-made audio/video for the web.

The new organisation also allows for our journalism to be used more dynamically across our three main existing platforms – web, radio and TV. But I'd like to know how far we should go with this. So for web users such as you I’d like to know if you mainly look to BBC News for an in-depth approach on the day's most significant stories, or do you value more diversity in the range of subjects we cover?

If we drive our stories more across platforms you will see greater consistency within BBC News – with similar editorial judgments being made across different services. We could concentrate resources on developing the most significant and original stories in greater depth. However the downside could be a narrowing of the range of stories we cover, with less coverage that is distinctive and tailored for each medium.

Of course, I’m painting a somewhat polarised view of the strategic choices available to us. In reality we will choose a balance between these two extremes. But it would be helpful to know your broad preference– should we move in a more coherent or a more diversified direction in our core news?

For thousands of journalists in BBC News, today is the start of one of the biggest changes we have ever been through. Many of the people who bring you the news are uncertain of their own futures, but I know that all of us are determined to improve further the service we bring to you. BBC News wants to be the most successful multimedia news operation in the world – competing with and excelling against the best newspapers, broadcasters and news aggregators on the globe. Your comments will give us some indications to help us do that.

Peter Horrocks is head of BBC Newsroom

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:10 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Alison wrote:

I hope that the TV news will now become less "tabloi" and more considered like the website. I have been relying more on the website in recent time as the TV news especially at 6 uses sensentionalist headlines that are not backed up by the etails of the story.

An example was in the summer floods when the people affecte all talke about community spirit and how thay felt local and national government ha worked hard to help. The BBC reporters spent their time trying to get someone to blame Downing Street.

  • 2.
  • At 10:47 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Hazel Johnson wrote:

I'd like the website to back up the TV news by providing more detailed coverage and background information. News has to be measured in soundbites in a shorter program, but it would be nice to be able to access the broader experience and knowledge of your correspondents online.

  • 3.
  • At 10:49 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Eliot wrote:

News is news, the medium upon which it is broadcast is irrelovent. Utilise each medium to their relaltive strengths, try to take more risks be more creative with the internet.

  • 4.
  • At 11:02 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Ed Moore wrote:

Dear Peter,

I regularly refer to the BBC News website (several times a day), World Service Radio (about two hours a day) and BBC World TV (about an hour each day but much more at weekends).

The range of news is obviously in the same order as listed, website the widest, TV the narrowest. In fact the TV is extremely narrow and does not bear long watching without getting annoyed at the repetitive nature of its output, including those ads! I recently lost my WS radio connection for a couple of weeks and was listening the the World in the mornings and it was a GREAT relief to get the radio back.

The website is really fantastic, with its huge range of subjects. Obviously radio and TV cannot compete although I am sure that the TV could be much better. Greater range within each half-hour programme with in-depth reorts for each main subject every two or three hours would help a lot. Check the far less watchable Euronews to see all the items that you never hear about on World.

I am totally against programmes of listeners/viewers contributions and invariably switch over or off. I like the BBC for its authority and informed and balanced views - I can get ignorant and bigoted "vox pops" just by opening the window, I don't need to be reminded of them by the BBC.

The journalists on all the services are mostly good, many wonderful. It is nice to hear familiar voices on the WS radio when one is used to seeing them also on the TV.

Those new website ads - no problem - I hope the BBC can capitalise on its assets. Also I have nothing against where they are positioned but the 'active' ones are really irritating when you are reading an adjacent story.

Fantastic overall - a real asset to the English-speaking world. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Ed Moore
Greece

  • 5.
  • At 11:04 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Hazel Johnson wrote:

I'd like the website to back up the TV news by providing more detailed coverage and background information. News has to be measured in soundbites in a shorter program, but it would be nice to be able to access the broader experience and knowledge of your correspondents online.

  • 6.
  • At 11:06 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Mr.Francis Morton wrote:

Who do you really think you were addressing? I gave up reading half-way through so peppered with Birtspeak was it. Why not look again at the text, or your approach,maybe then I might get over my irritation, and find myself better able to understand what it was you were driving at...

  • 7.
  • At 11:19 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Mike Daly wrote:

You refer to BBC News having a strong reputation. Until recently I would agree with that assessment, but now I'm not convinced. I hope this reorganisation will allow you to move away from the tabloid influences and reassert your distinctiveness.

Your main TV and Radio News programmes cover a narrow range of stories for obvious reasons. There is only so much you can fit into a few minutes. For that reason I would suggest you stop reporting 'local' stories in national bulletins. We don't need to know about every last stabbing or car crash in places we have never heard of. Stop covering self generated celebrity gossip and scandal. They do it to make money! Be more aware of politicians manipulating the news agenda. They do it to get free publicity! Stop telling us about the latest Apple product. This would give you more time to put detail into major stories.

I would expect the current diversity of your web output to continue. Please focus on quality and accuracy rather than speed. There aren't any prizes for being first and wrong.

  • 8.
  • At 11:19 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

I completely agree with Alison's comments above. The BBC should be striving to be a bastion of journalistic excellence but with being constantly guided by its duty to be impartial.

The BBC needs to stop second-guessing its news audiences and competing for the risk-free 'magazine show' middle ground and instead lead its audiences to engage with something that seems to have declined almost completely, proper news, whose last refuge is the always excellent 'Today' on Radio 4.

  • 9.
  • At 11:19 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Luke wrote:

I think I probably use BBC News a lot more than most. Perhaps this will help you.
In the morning and evening to and from work I listen to Radio 1. I do this because I enjoy the shows. The news I find to be sensationalist, celebrity-centred, drivel. I am a 21 year old who listens to your prime time shows. Presumably I fit in with the target audience in that respect. However, I also have half a brain cell, so would love to hear something a little more intellectually stimulating! As an aside, please, for the love of God, end Sara Cox's inevitable and drawn out fall from grace and fire her!
I also travel a lot, and end up watching BBC World. I find this excellent, though annoyingly repetitive. The depth and impartiality of production I think is impressive and the subject matter in general is very interesting.
As for BBC News on TV. Well, if I had it my way I would make sure that all "tabloid" news was abandoned in favour of looking in more depth at the issues that actually affect people! Also, could you not try to fit in one story per show which restores people's faith in humanity!? Every day it is stabbing, bomb, shooting, burglary, murder, bankruptcy, financial collapse, and ecological armageddon. Some good does go on in the world, remind people of that!
And finally, I realise this has gone on for a while, the web site. All good! I would love it if you could have some more really in depth reports in a similar fashion to Panorama or Dispatches (oooohhh, praising another broadcaster, dangerous). But all in all I think it serves it's purpose well, which I imagine must be to provide a level of depth on a wide range of stories which simply isn't possible over TV or radio.

  • 10.
  • At 11:28 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Pietrovito Moschetti wrote:

I'd like the website to cover pretty much the same news covered by tv and radio but maybe with a little more "newspaper approach", i.e. giving wider space to opinion articles, such as From Our Own Correspondent. At the moment bbcnews.com is my primary source of information and I wouldn't mind to see, a part from the headlines, some in depth analysis of the events as well as opinions expressed by BBC journalists.

  • 11.
  • At 11:28 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Hi Peter,
I very much hope you're not going to make decisions on what BBC news does and how it does it based on the comments people write here. You need to consider the millions, not the few and the silent as well as the vocal.
Good luck with the reorganisation. I'm sure it will be more efficient. Let's hope it's actually more effective too.
(Oh - and I presume Radio 1 news is different because it's not really considered news. Is that right?)

  • 12.
  • At 11:31 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Hazel Johnson wrote:

I'd like the website to back up the TV news by providing more detailed coverage and background information. News has to be measured in soundbites in a shorter program, but it would be nice to be able to access the broader experience and knowledge of your correspondents online.

  • 13.
  • At 11:32 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • gregor aitken wrote:

good good, i hope this means that news gathering becomes more centralised.

This would be great as it coud mean you could make sure that the story you put out is the same across the board, no more worries about journalists not checking that there storieshave all the official facts.

With any luck you will soon be able to have just one editor of all content and we could change it from bbc news to the world according to Peter.

So once again the spenders on the gravy train are shuffling things around to improve service. When will you realise that all we want from a news organisation is journalists who investigate the events of the day and then give their honest objective understanding of these events.

Listen i will hapily come down and shadow you for a week to point you in the right direction.

  • 14.
  • At 11:34 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

As long as you stop the tabloidisation of the headlines and stories and the endless plugging and trailing of BBC programmes on the news (radio, TV, web) and emperor's clothes' digital technology I'll be happy. I have lost a lot of respect for BBC news in the last 5 years, facts and objectivity seem to have been rejected.

  • 15.
  • At 11:37 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Kate wrote:

I wish the BBC wanted to grapple with issues and move the world on rather than "entertain" and demean us with people-stalking fantasies and passing fads and generally lower standards and patronise and depress everyone. You end up saying nothing when you try to please everyone or cram in irrelevances. The world is full of curious beings who do wish to learn and develop. Appeal to our potential. Aren't there any problems in the world to solve?

  • 16.
  • At 11:39 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Andrew Carr wrote:

I agree with the comments on the website providing more detail on the headline news offered on TV.

Perhaps a separate section which brings together the news articles referred to in main TV bulletins, but providing more in depth knowledge.

  • 17.
  • At 11:54 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • John lewis wrote:

Personalisation is very problematical and not, I would suggest, a good use of the BBC's resources. I would like to see more detailed analysis and in depth articles on the web - it is a well structured website and I use it as my homepage. Otherwise I agree with Ed Moore's sugestions.

  • 18.
  • At 11:57 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • JNG wrote:

I'm a North American listener/viewer so I'm not able to hear your FiveLive program any more, as well as whatever else you've negotiated away. I admire BBC News on the web but find the imitation tabloid headlines childish and embarrassing, as well as misleading sometimes. The BBC World News here on television, as well as the morning radio news, are bastions of sanity and quiet in an otherwise jangly world, and I wish the trend was otherwise. It would be nice to see some BBC shows other than the same ol' same ol'. And football.

Most of all, it would be really nice, although impossible I'm sure, if you would recognize that worldwide means worldwide, and that people all over the world have their own points of view. So often I get the feeling that the UK knows best when in fact it doesn't at all, and that the job of the BBC is to tell you so.

  • 19.
  • At 11:59 AM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • lesley wrote:

I think the new structure offers lots of positive possibilities. It is obviously not possible, in a news bulletin , to carry the breadth of material that the website covers. And it would be a great pity if every medium was obliged to lead with the same story. The 6 o'clock TV news succumbed some time ago to a tabloid agenda - and maybe that's OK - because there's Channel 4 news at 7.00, which is usually much more "grown up" and then the 10.00 pm BC news and Newsnight. News 24 worries me slightly - I realise it must be very difficult to keep it refreshed all the time, but there's an awful lot of waiting time on it - e.g. recently,waiting to go live to the Cenotaph, or for the firemen to be brought out - it would be so much better if the waiting time were to be off screen.
The one thing that I hope the desire for cost saving which is behind the restructuring will cause to happen is that one reporter will cover a story for all the networks, rather than several going to the same site. Obviously, if the story is a major national one, that's different, but it's not uncommon to see one reporter on national news and another on local news ( both BBC) covering the same story - which sometimes may not be truly a national one anyway. I share the view of other respondents that every stabbing/ killing by other means should not of itself necessarily be covered by national news - if that approach were taken to road deaths, there would be no time for any other news. The national issue should be one of trends and what is being done to address them - but endless pictures of grieving relatives is not of itself national news, without in any way diminishing the importance of the events for those concerned in it. The Mc Cann story is a good example too - recently, the BBC has taken a much more measured approach, but for the fisrt month or two , it went well over the top in terms of its coverage of it.

I wish the BBC well with its new structure - doubtless many within will feel understandable unease about change - but chnage can often be very refreshing.

  • 20.
  • At 12:01 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Eli wrote:

I would prefer less consistency, rather than more: I could then go to a different medium for, say, a quick overview of what's out there, and then to another for in-depth reports on those topics and areas which interest me.

The website is ideal for me to check on extra detail and information, and that's what I'd like to see on it.

However, as long as links are provided to external sites which do give the information, I suppose I can could follow those instead of relying on the BBC for detailed and considered reporting and editorial. Shame, though.

btw, I normally use Linux ;)

  • 21.
  • At 12:05 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Alan [another] wrote:

We can't have in-depth *and* a wider selection of stories?

In general I would rather see more stories, but with all key stories given more in-depth. I would expect to see everything I can see on TV online and then a whole lot more.

  • 22.
  • At 12:08 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Matthew Nicholls wrote:

I use the BBC website very frequently; it's always the first and last page I visit when I'm at my desk. For a factual quick-fix it's excellent. For analysis it is less good, though the various 'blogs' are starting to fill in that gap. In sum, I use it (and Today) for real-time delivery of factual information, and turn to newspapers and journals for more considered, more editorially partisan, and rather less breathless coverage.
That being so, I value the site's impartiality, breadth of coverage, and sober journalistic reportage. The ability to follow a story you're interested in by clicking to related stories, past coverage, and the like, is something that the web does uniquely well and your site better than most. Your background articles are also first rate.
I'm not sure I really want BBC news on my iPod, or beamed into my mobile 'phone or fridge or whatever: it's useful when I'm online, but I like other conduits like old-fashioned newsprint when I'm not (and I do think of myself as a technophile). Constant rolling news ends up sensationalising little stories, so instant, constant access is not important to me - once or twice a day is fine.
Like another contributor above I really don't like the reams of reader/viewer/listener 'have your say' feedback (I appreciate the irony of writing that in a reader feedback comments box). The entire BBC seems to be on an 'involve the audience' drive at the moment which can end up cheapening your output, and which is starting to be lampooned by your own excellent stable of satirists (Mitchell and Webb, Down the Line) - a sure sign that it's a bit off-beam. The licence fee pays for professionals to report the news and sometimes to give their judgement on it. The pages of ill-spelled comments from readers (often under obvously false names) appended to the bottom of news stories compromises the integrity of the news site, in my opinion, and gives the whole thing a cheap chat-room feel. Have them by all means, as some people seem to like them, but tucked away in a parallel site. Keep the news site for news.
The same goes for celebrity stories and a fortiori home-grown BBC celebrity stories. The arrival of a new character in Eastenders or the departure of someone from a dancing show is not news, and does smack a bit of self-advertisment when it is prominently placed on your front page. As with all the 'have your say' pages, it patronises, and I'm not sure that simple popularity is sufficient justification.
Oh dear - this is turning into a list of pet hates, so I'll conclude by saying thank you for your news website which, notwithstanding the comments above, is a world-leader. I only complain about it because it's a resource I use so much. Keep it up, and keep it serious.

  • 23.
  • At 12:19 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Dave Pritchard wrote:

The only plea I'd like to make is this: please don't end up directing so much effort into web-based audio/video material and similar gimmicks that the quality or quantity of the text-based news suffers. If I want sound and moving images I have a radio and a TV; what the website can provide that they can't is written material which is quick to download, doesn't require the latest browser plugins, and has a relatively high signal to noise ratio!

  • 24.
  • At 12:38 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Hazel Robbins wrote:

I like the BBC Daily Email as it is. It's my main source of current news stories. I like the brevity of each report. However, I think it might be useful to provide links from each story to different interpretations of the event where applicable. Then those who want more background could easily access it.

  • 25.
  • At 12:40 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • phillip martin wrote:

I would like to get more local news, rather than the 4-5 headlines that we get on the Three counties pages at the moment. The website never has the same stories that you cover in the radio broadcasts.

  • 26.
  • At 12:46 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Ginko wrote:

Hi!

The multimedia newsroom and the centralisation of editorial decicisions are alreay norm in a lot of news organisations--including British newspapers. In a way, I am a little surprised that the BBC is doing this NOW and its staff members seem to be feeling unsure.

In fact, I did not realize that the editorial policies at BBC news have not been centralised.

On the contrary to what you say about whether or not the centralisation is good, I believe it has been already happenning at the BBC. I have been witnessing the consitency at BBC news all the time and I am an avid follower of news.

So...the first step for BBC staff is to "forget that the multimedia platform and centralisation are abnormal and something which was imposed onto them due to efficiency."

  • 27.
  • At 12:51 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Matthew Pettitt wrote:

Depth in internet news, breadth in TV/Radio news. Make it simple to find more details about the stories mentioned in the radio/TV bulletins on the website: how about a page on the website pointing at the stories covered in the latest bulletin from each channel/station - all in one department now, so no excuses not to!

  • 28.
  • At 12:56 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Joe wrote:

First, I am a big fan of BBC News, and having lived in various locations around the world I think it is one of the most unbiased and most diverse sources of news on the planet. For those who criticise how much it is biased in one direction or another, try the media in most other countries around the world and you'll see how much worse it can be. That being said...

When the news 'reorganisation' was first announced I was very surprised to hear quite how disparate the BBC news departments were. Someone earlier comments that the medium of broadcast is irrelevant. The re-organisation shows that that has not been the way things have worked in the past. If ever there was an example of wasteful duplication this certainly seems to have been one for quite some time now.

Where you say 'less distinctive coverage' in the mediums, I hear you saying 'we don't want to change, let us stay the way we have been with 30 different editors trying to steer the ship'. The whole point of this reorganisation should be making things have a more centrally decided high level editorial policy that is more consistent across mediums. To do anything else voids the biggest potential benefits in the reorganisation - less duplication, more scope for width *and* depth.

Where previously there were 3 journalist covering one story, you can now have one laid off journalist and 2 journalists covering 2 different stories (presuming you were cutting a third of all journalists). The toughest part for you would seem more to be about moving journalists away from areas of coverage that they have become entrenched in over the years.

It may be a sad day for the journalists/editors who get laid off, or those who have to move into new areas, but it should be good news for every news consumer out there - unless you make a cack-handed job of re-assigning overlapping journalists.

On the minor side issue of where the news should appear, it is perfectly possible for the web now to contain 100% of the output of every person in the news department. There is no excuse for that not to be the case. Which subsets go on which particular radio/tv shows is then of course very debateable at the lower levels, but the central editorial policy should be the one assigning journalistic efforts for maximum efficiency.

  • 29.
  • At 01:03 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Jim Pharo wrote:

I'm a little confused by the post. What exactly are you asking of us web people? Do we want more stories in less depth vs. fewer stories in more depth? (I think that's pretty close, but can't be sure...)

In any case, I am beyond skeptical that our "answers" will have any effect other than as a bullet point in a powerpoint presentation in "support" of some action a BBC executive has already determined to take.

So here's my vote: more stores, less depth. Less synchronization between the platforms. More diversity.

Oh, and while you're listening, the online video needs a huge technological upgrade. And here's one for the photo editor: see if you can get your pictures displayed on-line in a substantially larger format. An opportunity to communicate visually is being lost because of too-small photo images.

The web site should have more in depth than the tv. I am heartilly sick of hearing " well we dont have nay more time ", that is usually followed by 5 minutes of waffle.

It would also be nice to see the BBC return to the days when politicians were not allowed to spout party politics rather than answer a question.

BBC 24 now seems to be a sports station, with news slotted in now and then.

  • 31.
  • At 01:17 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Ben Murray wrote:

I think level of news available on the BBC news website is about right - from earlier comments it would seem that people would all like different things so how about a 'personalise your news' page where you can read stories based on your own settings and location - further to that you could incorporate relevant video streaming news footage based on ones own settings. The option to listen, watch and read all of the available BBC news in one place would also be useful, perhaps a 'google the BBC' area which brought up all relevant stories whatever the media could be used.

  • 32.
  • At 01:20 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Chenyu wrote:

Hello Peter,

I browse the BBC news website at least three times a day.
I think it does very well as a complimentary of the BBC WS and the BBC World.
However I personally hope the website can provide more detailed stories, which are longer and clearer than the news bulletins.
Thank you for all that you guys have done.

Best Regards.
Chenyu
Singapore

  • 33.
  • At 01:24 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • James wrote:

I'd like this to be an opportunity for you to drive out the endemic liberal/ soft left bias within BBC News and Current Affairs Output. You have the control now to do this and therefore no more excuses.

There are many of us, who are not at the political extremes by the way, who think the BBC is behaving with extreme folly in denying its bias so strenuously when it is so obvious to outsiders.

Admit it, eradicate it and move on to be better and better. That would be my advice.

Any structural reform that doesn't address this vital issue is doomed to ultimate failure.

The website news service is generally excellent - mostly providing good coverage in a wide range of areas (world news, science, education, etc), combined with more depth in a few areas. I would hate to see this lost in a bid to make the website consistent with the more populist approach on TV.

A particular strength of the website is the ability to link back to source material - for example the recent coverage of the interim report of the Primary Review had links to let us see what the report actually says.

  • 35.
  • At 01:33 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Mohan wrote:

Perhaps the best feedback I can give you is simply outline how I use the BBC's news services.

I look at the BBC News website on a mobile phone - to get the news when I want it. This may be several times a day and could be in any setting - during the boring bit of a meeting, on the train, at home, in the park with the kids. I never look at video/audio as this takes too long to download. It is my main source of news.

I like the main TV bulletins for a summary of the news in pictures and audio, and for the commentary / explanation provided by correspondents.

News 24 is good for watching breaking news / big events, but can get a bit irritating if it simply repeats itself in a Groundhog Day sort of way.

Finally radio - I listen to Today or London Radio, depending on the time of day. Today seems to be more about its presenters these days than actual news. It's become a showcase duelling ground between the presenter and the interviewee - cockfighting BBC R4 style. Maybe the audience should start awarding points after each interview... the winner gets a free pen....

  • 36.
  • At 01:44 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

I'm not all that bothered about how the news is organised, I'm far more concerned about quality. I realise you must be under a lot of pressure to dumb down the news these days, but please make sure that quality programmes like Today and Newsnight don't lose the quality that the few of us who appreciate serious news have come to expect. If we can't get quality news from the BBC, then we're not going to get it from anywhere.

  • 37.
  • At 01:46 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • steveh wrote:

Firstly, who decides which stories are relevant or not? Newscasts with few (or even just one) items (eg on TV)are useless. I want to know when there's a story to be heard - ie, more items in less detail but with the options to follow up the items that interest us.
Secondly, the BBC should get rid of the crap (Eastenders, etc) and concentrate on its role as a public service broadcaster.
Having said that, I use the website several times a day (in preference to any other news service) but I have ditched the TV entirely.

  • 38.
  • At 01:48 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Andrew Livingston wrote:

Could we just have the Newsnight vodcast back please? Pleeeeeeeeeease?

  • 39.
  • At 02:22 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Zaheer Chughtai wrote:

I am a BBC addict and whatever you guys were doing in the past was great and there is no doubt in my mind that whatever you will do in future will be great.
Your multimedia team is really creative as i love the BBC screen. The colours used, the scheme used, the graphics used, the background music used all are simply superb.
I have not seen any other channel's screen so attractive whether its News channel or movies etc.

  • 40.
  • At 02:48 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Satish Jung Shahi wrote:

I fear if the BBC's new work division would now mean lesser coverage from odd places around the world. Earlier, for example, BBC was for me like a United Nations of a media house sort of a place that covered unbiased news most often ignored by big international media barons. I still believe BBC's main strength was also its diversified editorial policy that provided space for all sorts of voices from across the world. I definately would like to see all that still happening despite the new "positive" changes within the BBC.
On the other hand, I am starting to turn into a regular of your Newspod. But I would like you to keep in mind that in places such as Nepal (from where I am writing this from), we still don't have extremely good internet broadband connection. I hope you'll keep all that in mind and will not leave us off shore despite all your technological development you have been promising. Cheers!!!

  • 41.
  • At 03:28 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Robert Stern wrote:

If BBC news has slipped a bit, then most news broadcast by U.S. stations in the U.S. has plummeted into an abyss of irrelevancy. Go, BBC. Puhlease, don't try to emulate the U.S. format. I couldn't care less about interactivity. Just strive for the truth in background, foreground, whatever. I depend on World News every day; don't dilute it.

  • 42.
  • At 03:48 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

For daily news and analysis I use the BBC website frequently throughout the day, as well as The Times and The Guardian. I try to catch News 24 on the hour during the evening for a summary of the headlines if possible.

I think what your proposals above are interesting and generally agree with the comments posted here about using the brevity of tv news to tell as much news as possible in summary form, with the occasional in-depth coverage, whilst using the website to provide additional background, analysis, and links to related subject matter.

One thing I HATE which your competitors do so gleefully and has recently started appearing on the lunchtime news on News 24 is the printing or reading of people's emails. On the website the difference between the article (researched and reported) v the comments (random opinions such as this one) is clear. However on tv this is appalling, subjective and it cheapens the work of your reporters who we trust are sufficiently qualified to be informing us on the facts of the matter, as well as incorporating the 'reaction on the street' where relevant. PLEASE don't allow the reporting of serious, sometimes complex and far-reaching stories, such as the current events in Pakistan, to be reduced to the equivalent of a drive-time phone-in. There is a time and a place for that, and it's not why people watch the news. The BBC still holds an incredible global authority for a vast number of people, and that's why people get on-line, on tv, on the radio, to find out about something as it happens. If I want to know what someone else thinks about an issue I would ask them, go down the pub, or tune in to Radio FiveLive.

  • 43.
  • At 03:50 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Chad Henshaw wrote:

I was actualy shocked to hear that you had seperate newsrooms for each type of media. About time such rampant wastage was refocused into more production, and less duplication.

  • 44.
  • At 03:51 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Personally I want some decent analysis. Reporting the 'main' news as it happens is often done better by others sadly, but even then so what? I'm not interested in knowing about everything the second it happens, however what I do what when something interests me I would like details and decent analysis (not the surface skim that currently passes for it). The latter can be in any medium, the former is suited to the internet. And it can't be that hard. Slapping at the end of a story the authors sources and suitable links for learning more, even perhaps allowing knowledgeable readers to add such things, would be little extra effort but result in a lot more depth.

Now I skim the news site as the stories rarely have enough depth, turning to other sources for the actual details. The one thing I do love is the blogs. Here we have analysis, explanations of bias and views, as well as key links.

I don't read any of the blogs found on the net generally, but the BBC ones are the exception and have a 'guaranty' of quality and professionalism that others lack.

  • 45.
  • At 05:17 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Steffan Davies wrote:

That'd be 5 Live, then (not Five Live) unless they've rebranded. Attention to detail being a hallmark of the Beeb and all that.

  • 46.
  • At 05:18 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • S J Kilpatrick wrote:

As a former UK citizen now resident in the US I watch BBC News for coverage orthogonal to the New York Times web site. This is both more dispersed and more local, covering both world events and covering local news from my region of the UK.
I also enjoy the rarity of ads on your website compared to other news sources.

  • 47.
  • At 05:27 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

As long as your newly united department can distinguish between news and PR-inspired filler, best of luck with the reorganisation.

Too much of what you broadcast, on the main bulletins as well as News 24, can best be described as newsak - stuff that looks and sounds like news but does nothing to further the progress of human knowledge and well-being. So let's see an end to wall-to-wall coverage of the McCanns, the Beckhams, Westminster village gossip and all the rest of it.

And why is a non-suspicious fire on a derelict site in which no-one was injured considered a big news story?

If that means there's not enough "content" to fill a 24-hour channel, just give us rolling headlines of actual "news" instead.

  • 48.
  • At 05:30 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • wilco de wit wrote:

dear peter- i am from the netherlands (and a intensive listener to the world service particularly, and since 1972!). i seem to have a similar attention profile as ed moore of greece (comment 5). i do subscribe to his statements and recommendations. especially, keep your focus on own contributions and do not spend too much time on those from outside callers around the world. your journalists deliver mostly superior quality and let them make the choices as to who they want to interview, etc. and yes, i think that your listeners would be quite happy to contribute via yearly surveys.

i do have a problem however to readily find back your past radio-program's content on the web i.e. of those items i listened to and where i missed or lost some of it. perhaps you can introduce a page for "programme missed" where you have either a video/audio or printed copy of all such in depth items... thank you very much for your great work in bush house! regards, wilco

I hope that bring all news departments together will raise the standard of the tv and radio news to that of the world service and the web which are far more international in content and do not ask the uninformed man-in-the-street what he thinks about events. The risk is that, as the high profile department, the tv news drags the rest down to its low level.

I think that, if I had to choose between one extreme or the other, your internet site should concentrate on a wide range of topics.

Producing content for TV and even for radio, I presume, is much more expensive that writing a report for the internet. If you were to invest greater sums of money, which you would have to to put a report on TV, then creating a report for a niche market just doesn't make sense.

However, employing someone to write an article for the internet costs, in comparison, nothing. On top of which, there is only a certain amount of time on TV/Radio as the user doesn't choose what news is displayed. On the internet,however, this problem does not exist, so once again it makes sense to use the time to cater to the mass market. So if you are going to serve a niche market, the internet is the place to do it.

I believe that niche markets do need to be served because, as the cost is minimal, they deserve the news too.

  • 51.
  • At 06:16 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Christy Conroy wrote:

I do hope that these changes you have described will bring the BBC back to the pinnacle of journalism.
At the moment watching the Six O Clock news is rather like reading The Sun, when it should be at the other end of the spectrum i.e The Times and the Telegraph.
I feel that over the last few years the BBC has lost it's way and has been trying to be all things to all men.
There are plenty of outlets for publicising Panorama and other BBC programmes, leave them out and use the time to inform people as to what is happening in this crazy world of ours.
And just a little moan, please stop telling us what is coming up later on in the bulletin. Let it be a surprise.

  • 52.
  • At 06:21 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Caroline wrote:

news.bbc.co.uk is the only place I look for news. Health, Business, UK, Science and Technology mainly. I'd like to think that the website will be utilised to give more a in-depth analysis than is possible on TV. I'm really uninterested in video content, or having news piped to my mobile. I know there's pressure to keep reinventing the service, make it hip, engage the youth, explore brave new technologies - you don't need to for me. Tell me what's happening, how it really is, give me the background, keep opinions out of it, let the facts speak for themselves, let me draw my own conclusions, and don't patronise me. Finally - report the news, don't run "stories" in the hope of creating news.

  • 53.
  • At 06:48 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Laurie Larson wrote:

I'm American (sorry about that), and I see the BBC America TV newscasts, read the web pages, listen to the World Service as it is rebroadcast via NPR overnight, and use the podcast service. Americans need more such news from outside the bubble. Though not perfect, BBC international news is much more professional and less commercial-driven than the US "mainstream media." I do feel the World Service radio programming is less diverse and less fascinating than it was a few years ago but I still appreciate the quality and depth of the coverage, both of breaking news and of people and places I'd otherwise never know about. It is breathtaking to hear BBC interviewers ask hard questions of leaders and diplomats, instead of the softball interviews which Americans conduct. You know how to do the job properly, if only allowed to resist the demands of the bean-counters. So I hope your reorganization will not harm the BBC which is - whether you mean to be or not - a cultural and intellectual ambassador for the best the English-speaking world has to offer.

  • 54.
  • At 09:38 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • robert ronson wrote:

To me the news is what happens in the world. I generally expect that a journalist will investigate an issue and someone will relay the news to me by means of tv, radio or via the internet.

The problem is that there is so much news I don't know where to start.

If I was being honest I'd have to say that I don't have enough time for all this news as I have other things to do. Most people have other interests on the internet and it's hard for the news to compete with the likes of myspace and youtube.

If I was running the BBC I would set up a site and call it myNews. Subscribers could write their own articles which would reflect the news they consider relevant to them from their local area. Subscribers would have their own blogs on the BBC..I'd call that myBlog. You could even have a section devoted to photos of the news I'd call it myPhotos.

Quite soon after implementation their would be no need for multimedia journalists as the license payers would be reporting the national news. This would free up the journalists to concentrate on proper news involving important people and exotic locations.

Quite frankly if I had trained as a journalist and ended up working on a website I'd seriously consider getting another job.

The BBC should concentrate on quality journalism. It's what they used to be good at. If I want to know what David Beckham is up to I'll buy a copy of Hello! If I want to know about cowboy plumbers I'll watch ITV.

The BBC should focus on people like Jeremy Paxman who is a shining example of what a journalist should be. I think he should have his own news site and blog.

  • 55.
  • At 10:36 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Just reading your story today about the new Penryn processor (quest to build smaller, faster microchips) - I noticed the 6-step device you've included half way down the page describing how a processor works. Really quite detailed - this is the sort of thing that the web does best. After all, anyone who doesn't understand it can quite easily ignore it and carry on reading the rest of the news item. With TV, I guess you wouldn't be able to take that risk of alienating viewers for more than a few seconds by offering something potentially too complicated.

I desperately hope that the range and depth of the BBC News website never sinks to the level of your TV news output - or to the level of the Sky news website, which has just become a joke.

  • 56.
  • At 10:49 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • G Campbell wrote:

Just to illustrate where the BBC is "at", a police officer is shot in Dungannon (in Northern Ireland but still the UK), and you have to dig to find it. Yet stories about bird flu, Pakistan and Gordon Brown are considered more inportant. If it had happened to an officer from the met, the coverage would be very different.

  • 57.
  • At 11:43 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Alex Swanson wrote:

"I hope you agree, if you use our services on a number of platforms, that the BBC has a generally strong reputation in all media."

Strong reputation for plugging the world view of BBC staff, which doesn't necessarily correspond to the real world. In fact, I've just this morning logged (yet another) formal complaint about a website article which, not to put too fine a point on it, makes a left-wing claim which is demonstrably incorrect. If I'm lucky I will receive a patronising brush-off; most likely I will receive no reply at all.

I don't care what you report or how you report it, so long as you are fair-minded and tell the truth. It's a long time since that was the case, and you are not improving.

And one final point. Can you tell whoever runs News 24 that his audience isn't all soccer-mad. Even if the amount of time spent on sport as a subject was justified (which it isn't) there are other sports in the world, including some participated in by the minorities that the BBC is supposed to cater for.

  • 58.
  • At 08:23 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Bryan wrote:

That's all very exciting, Mr. Horrocks, now could you please translate it into plain English for us ordinary mortals outside the BBC.

For example, what on earth does this mean:

"The new organisation also allows for our journalism to be used more dynamically across our three main existing platforms – web, radio and TV."

You are silent on the role of editors here. Does this new setup mean that fewer editors will have more control over the stuff the BBC delivers to an unsuspecting public? Or will they have less control? And what impact, if any, will this have on the BBC's bias through distortion and omission of facts and the narrow left-wing agenda of the vast majority of BBC journalists?

These are the areas where the BBC should be involved in introspection and striving to improve.

I will give you one extreme example from the steady stream of bias that pours daily from the BBC. Saturday's From Our Own Correspondent had an article on an American destroyer off Mombasa that was aimed solely at discrediting and mocking America. Unless, of course, the writer intended to praise America when he wrote, "Wicked imperialists like to pick the best spots for themselves." Now people may ask why they don't see that particular bit of evidence of bias when they access the article on your website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7085188.stm

The reason is simple. It has been stealth-edited out. Fortunately, Google has a cache that still shows it, three lines down:

http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:xEH9h3FrvhsJ:www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1923979/posts+US+destroyer+Mombasa+harbour&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&ie=UTF-8

But that's not the only evidence of bias. It is rife throughout the article, kicking off with the link on the Africa page:

Kenyan embrace Why a US destroyer joined the dhows in Mombasa harbour ("embrace" indeed)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/default.stm

continuing with the title, dripping with sarcasm when juxtaposed against the text:

US Navy in Kenya goodwill mission

and ending with the extraordinary observation that an American naval officer had "helped suppress the Islamic Barbary corsairs of Algiers," as if ending the centuries-old unbridled and unprovoked savagery of the Barbary pirates and slave owners was a bad thing.

One wonders how the editor who deleted the bit about "wicked imperialists" could possibly have decided that the rest of this biased nonsense represented suitable output from an organization that apparently prides itself on its impartiality. Mr. Horrocks, I suggest that instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic you do something about the implacable bias of the BBC.

  • 59.
  • At 08:56 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Chris B wrote:

Diversified, please! Lots of range is good.

  • 60.
  • At 11:12 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • guy pannell wrote:

Sharing resources makes economic and practical sense but I'm concerned there's a great danger BBC news will become homogenised, with programmes and channels losing their distinctive voice.
I enjoy both PM and 5 Live's drive time programmes for example, but I want the freedom to choose between them because they have different agendas for different audiences.

  • 61.
  • At 11:28 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • john weston wrote:

There is red ink is all over this. Anyone who works or has worked for a large organisation knows that 're-organisation means jobs are on the line. Centralisation means smaller workspaces, savings on lighting, heating, maintenance etc. All the items so loved by the accounts department.
'Editorial decisions taken separately' - means independant views. Great! But, These 'Proud Departments are no more'. How dismissive that sounds.
'If we drive our stories more across platforms (what the hell does that mean?) you will see greater consistency. I know what that means: 'Four legs good - two legs bad. 'I'm painting a somewhat polarised view of the strategic choices available.' If you put that on a job application Mr Horrocks I, for one, would nor hire you. Finally: When George and Tony invaded Iraq they forgot to mention that in addition to the WMP Saddam controlled all the news fom one place.

  • 62.
  • At 12:02 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Polly wrote:

I suggest that only one piece of integration remains incomplete; that of merging the BBC with the Guardian. It's nearly there, so it shouldn't take long.

  • 63.
  • At 12:15 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Let me say from the start that I am a huge fan of the BBC and their news.

"the editorial decisions have been taken separately in three different departments – Radio News, News Interactive and TV News"
I have always been sometimes amused and most of the time horrified if I wander from the kitchen (R4 today programme, R4 news) into our living room to see the news on BBC Breakfast - the difference between the two is quite marked, and it makes me just want to turn the tv off. BBC Breakfast news is totally sensationalist and verging on tabloid with lengthy sections given over to a single story and celebrity whereas R4 news has considered bulletins telling you want you need to know.

Most of my news comes from the on-line site throughout the day and then at other times from R4 either in the car or at home. In fact I think it is fair to say our house are R4 junkies. Now and then I'll watch the BBC TV news, but it isn't much cop and if I need serious news I tune over to C4.

"stop reporting 'local' stories in national bulletins" from an earlier comment above. Local news is totally shocking in the UK. In Reading we get 'local' news from out near Brighton through to the Isle of Wight - it is amazing and I'm left sat there thinking "what on earth has this got to do with me?"

Another comment above "We can't have in-depth *and* a wider selection of stories?" - I'm very much in agreement. The way your article is worded one would think the BBC doesn't run a 24 hour news channel! I'd have thought there would be almost an obligation to use this channel wisely and avoid the boring repetition I find on it. If there wasn't a 24 hour news channel I could understand the need to narrow the selection of stories, but that isn't the case.

I'm also a keen listener to evening R1, which has mercifully few evening news interventions. When listening at the weekend to R1 I am reminded just how appalling their news coverage is. I know the demographic for R1 is one of youth and I am well outside that margin (because I like good music - that's why I listen to Zane and co) - but for heaven's sake, the news on R1 is off the scale tabloid!

No, I do not want the website to mirror what the television news covers. Tv news has become boring. I stopped watching television news years ago. The decisions about what to cover are purely on whether you have footage of an event. What is wrong with a story just being read out if it is significant? It seems that if a freelance crew do no live in an area it does not get covered. The website need not be like that.

Have a look at the New York Times multimedia page and The Washington Post. They make the BBC look like beginers.

Ron Taylor (ex-BBC)

  • 65.
  • At 01:42 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Lisa wrote:

The features that I most appreciate on the BBC News website are:

(1) the Magazine (especially Paper Monitor) - perfect for lunchtime browsing over my sandwich at work;

(2) the background features and analysis, that attempt to answer some of the questions behind the stories.

I often find myself asking, "But why?" after listening to some news item on the radio or TV. Often statistics are not put in context (eg we're given a figure, but not told if that's a lot or a little, more or less than before, etc), and background is not explained. That's where I turn to the web.

I'd agree with some comments already made, ie:
- Please don't put all the emphasis on video/audio clips on the web - I don't want them!
- Links to other stories, past features, external websites etc is a real strength of the web, and very useful.
- And finally, I'm an intelligent, educated person - but I quite like the occasional light relief of the celebrity stories!

  • 66.
  • At 05:39 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • David Cooper wrote:

One thing I have been crying out for in the BBC's overall excellent news coverage is to offer ongoing coverage to stories that are no longer "sexy". For example, we have an ongoing situation in Darfur, about which precious little gets reported on TV, radio or the web unless something major happens.

Stories hit the headlines for a few days then disappear, fostering the idea among viewers/listeners/readers that it is therefore no longer important (or no longer an issue).

With two 24 hour news outlets (News24 and FiveLive - notwithstanding the latter's mind-numbing obsession with football) there is really no excuse for not doing this.

Surely there are enough people out here interested in what is really going on in the world at large (rather than just the headline grabbing stuff) to make this a worthwhile addition to your coverage.

Accuracy and quality should be first and foremost, then a UK-wide ethos.

After that, work to the different media - TV is the most narrow, radio generally in the middle and the web is the widest.

I look to the television news for headlines, listen to the radio for genuinely informed discussion that gives the broad perspective and read the news website mainly for diversity and width.

Having said that, being able to dip into more detail on the web is great - if I want it.

The most irritating thing about television and radio is that it is overwhelmingly driven, directed and distorted by the south-east of England. In fact, often it's actually M25 centric.

While understandable to a degree - the bulk of the most influential part of the population lives in the south-east - it is jars it being the "British" Broadcasting Corporation.

And yes, I happen to live in a very rural part of North-East Scotland.

  • 68.
  • At 07:34 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Wayne Hamilton wrote:

It sounds strongly as if we are going to get ONE news output - pictures-with-sound on television, sound-only on radio and a written transcript online. I presume that it is intended that these three roles be undertaken by a single individual, since (by denying the differing audiences a 'broadcast' suited to the profile of the audience) there will no longer be any need for personality-led expertise within each medium.

There are legion examples showing the determination of news editors to SET the news agenda (rather than following unfolding events), and presenting a move to dictatorial overlordship as integrated production suggests that Peter Horrocks expects to wield power in a manner never before envisioned.

Instead of "News from the BBC," we are now to be spoon-fed "THE news from the BBC" - a return to Auntie Beeb TELLING us what the news is, and presumably what to think about it.

For many years, I have consulted ALL of the BBC news outlets on a frequent basis.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY THAT THIS WILL BE THE CASE.

I no longer trust BBC News, and I certainly do not trust Peter Horrocks!!!!!

  • 69.
  • At 08:28 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Bob Oliver wrote:

I use the blogs to get a deeper perspective - so I would like the website to mirror the broadcast news - I listen to Radio 4 in the car morning and evening and so like to follow up on the web items of interest

  • 70.
  • At 11:17 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Dominic wrote:

Several people have already mentioned that some BBC news output has become excessively sensationalist and/or "tabloidy" in nature. This trend has worried me also. I gave up watching TV news several years ago, and the shallowness of the snippets that I've seen since have not impressed me much.

When I'm at work I read this website because it is by far the best source of news on the web, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. I'd like to see more in-depth comment and analysis, akin to Nick Robinson's excellent blog and the discussion with is frequently broadcast on Radio 4, which as you may guess is my medium of preference... An example of this website at its best would be your coverage of the Sputnik: . An interesting story for those who want it, going into more detail than you could afford to give airtime to on TV or radio.

Above all, remember that your TV, radio and web news have different audiences, and don't bring your radio/web down to the dire level of your television output! Alternatively, perhaps you could think about changing your course of aiming TV news at the lowest common denominator in society, no longer striving for ratings, but instead doing what the BBC *should* use its license fee for... to better us all...

  • 71.
  • At 11:40 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Phil Ainsworth wrote:

I would suggest to try to avoid a seamless presentation across all media - that would reduce the interest of and therefore number of viewers. I might hear the headlines on Radio 4 in the morning, browse the online news during the day and catch the evening or 10 o'clock news on TV. I would not be encouraged to do so if the reports and presentation were similar throughout the day. In the meantime, keep up the good work.

  • 72.
  • At 12:06 AM on 14 Nov 2007,
  • Steven Martin wrote:

"with similar editorial judgments being made across different services."

Such as the word "Mercenary" being consistently avoided by every single BBC journalist?

  • 73.
  • At 01:51 AM on 14 Nov 2007,
  • Kevin Jones wrote:

Please don't forget WHY the BBC has so many different platforms for news delivery - its because they all have a different style about them which appeal to different viewers. The fact that the new structure may lead to the BBC having "less coverage that is distinctive and tailored for each medium" is very worrying to me. I enjoy a quick overview from News 24 but then turn to the web or a programme like Newsnight for a more detailed analysis from individual correspondents who ive come to respect (Evan Davies, Nick Robinson take a bow!). I also enjoy the freedom that radio programmes like 5 Live's 'Up all Night' have to bring the smaller yet nevertheless fascinating stories from around the world. Please please recognise that however efficient a centralised news gathering service is, its the very diversity of styles and editorial decisions that gives richness to what the BBC does.

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