Digital newsrooms: thematic visist
Visit to BBC News & BBC Training
London, United Kingdom, 6 – 7 June 2005
The actual visit of BBC News delivered much more than its initial promise. Over two days, participants were
provided with insights into BBC News' overall vision for the future and into the technical tools which have been
designed to serve its strategic needs. Even more important, the role of training as crucial mediator to make
changes actually happen was clearly emphasized.
The report covers the followings 7 points in 2 interacting domains i.e. BBC News & BBC Training:
- BBC News - overall presentation
- Jupiter - BBC integrated news production system
- Elections 2005 - technical innovations
- Personal Digital Production
- Local TV and User-Generated Content
- Blended journalism training
Part I – BBC News
1. BBC News General presentation
1.1 BBC News Overview
BBC News is “a huge daily news machine” providing information to:
• 7 of the 9 BBC Television (8 channels): BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News 24 (up-to-
the-minute news around the clock), CBBC, Cbeebies + BBC World. 84% of the UK households see at least
15 minutes of BBC TV per week; 63% see at least 3 hours.
• 8 BBC Radio national networks: BBC Radio 1 (News programmes), BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC
Radio 4, BBC Five Live, … combined weekly reach of 32 million in the UK ;
• BBC World Service (radio service): 70 years old, in 43 languages, 150 million listeners.
• BBC Online: bbc.co.uk http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (from the red button on the digital TV) and BBC News Web
site “updated every minute of every day” http://news.bbc.co.uk
o bbc.co.uk offers 2 million pages, plus 200,000 audio and video clips.
o Traffic continues to double every year.
o 1,200 million hits a day. 2,400 million page impressions per month, worldwide.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 19
• BBC News is producing 5 hours worth of news output for every hour there is in a day, from the BBC
Television Centre (White City) and from Bush House (World Service).
1.2 Challenges for BBC News
• Audiences must be able to access what they want, when they want it:
o The people want to be able by clicking on a mouse, by pressing a (red!) button to get to the stories
they are interested in, in the way they want them, with the links and the variety of treatment they
want. The people want to start in a programme when they want and to get the stories they are
more interested in.
o This has got profound implications in the way news are produced: how to break down contents,
how to organise it, to manipulate it, to re-version it, in order to meet the different ways of
1.2.2 A two-way process
• “Broadcasters” are interested in what people have to tell them, as well as in what they have to tell people.
Either as real info, or real video, or points of view adding to the discussion.
• People want to feel they are consuming something which is giving them a view of the world, they are part
of a genuine debate, there are a lot of different perspectives and that they are able to experience each of
them. The BBC News Web site is an ideal vehicle for that.
• There is also a lot of potential with the Local TV initiatives (see Part II - point 2. Local TV & User Generated
Content) and the Radio (through telephone calls, SMS, e-mails; for example drive-time programme).
1.2.3 Making the difference
• Make the best of a unique position: BBC is in an unique position, funded by licence fee (paid by every TV
owning household). Where is the BBC really making the difference, in terms of quality, of range of news, of
what is actually made available to people compared to other broadcasters and to newspapers ?
• Make sense of the world: besides being able to react to and cover “phenomenally” well major news events,
one has to think about big themes, big issues. BBC News has to be able to give a sense of how the world
around is being shaped by events. For example, regarding the Future of Europe: Where is Europe actually
heading now? What is Europe for? What is the actual range of options? What are views in the different
countries of Europe and in the UK? BBC News has just appointed an Europe Editor to meet that new need.
• Make sure that people come to the BBC: In order to make this journalistic difference, one has to make sure
that people come to the BBC - of course because they trust what the BBC has to say, they feel BBC News
are accurate and fair - but also because they sense ‘if I really want to understand what is going on in the
world we live, BBC can give me information that makes sense of things, in order to make my own
1.3 Technology context
• The merging of the IT devices and the broadcast production devices, as well as the television and radio in
the home actually means a divergence of the services that broadcasters have to produce for these devices
(see Figure 1 – Annexe). The challenge is not creating a new newsroom every time is created another one
of these devices you have to serve.
• This new kind of devices enables the audiences to do their own things with distributed contents. But it also
enables them to upload and share contents without the involvement of the people who produced it, who
own it, who negotiated rights. For example, the exchange of video news on the peer-to-peer site UK Nova 1
with the Bit Torrent technology2 (see Figure 2a - Annexe). But these people are not just putting this content,
they are writing metadata about it, commenting it, describing the video codec they used and where to get it
(see Figure 2b – Annexe).
• Personal Digital Recorders, PDRs (or Personal Video Recorder, PVR), such as TiVo or Sky Plus, are also
breaking the traditional linear “broadcast” model. The PDR records content based on topics the user has
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 20
said to be interested in (‘I like garden programmes’, ‘I like current affairs’). Whether or not your content
reaches those people will depend on the quality how you have tagged your programmes, how accurately
you have labelled them, how well you have recognised that somebody who is interested in farming will
want the BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or mad cow disease) story or the genetically modified
o The standard “TV-Anytime 3” now allows tagging at the level of items (crime story, politics, Europe,
US …) within the programme (News). But it’s a chicken-and-egg situation: the set-top box
manufacturers will decode these metadata … if the broadcasters (BBC, Sky) have a voluntarist
policy of generating and inserting them.
o This brings cross-trailing opportunities across platforms and programmes. For example, you can
insert something to say: ‘if you are interested in this subject we have got an interview tomorrow on
the radio’. If you press the button, and if the metadata has been inserted in the interview as well,
the PDR will record that programme the next day.
o That implies common taxonomies for metadata. For example BBC and PDR users will expect the
same kind of labelling as the one proposed on the BBC News site on the left hand side (Europe,
UK … Business, Entertainment, Health, Science/Nature, Technology…).
o This has consequences on the working practices: Who is going to tag the content and where along
the chain? Once labelled, can the equipment carry that through all the way along the chain - Is
there any gap on the chain?
1.4 New services
Many possibilities are being worked on:
1.4.1 More personalisation
“My News Now” (Mark Thompson, Director General): Having short radio and video clips available anywhere.
1.4.2 “Creative Archive”
• It will allow users to download from BBC website to their PCs, free of charge, clips from BBC television and
radio programmes and a limited number of programmes for non-commercial use.
• The service will work on both narrowband and broadband Internet connections and users can keep the
extracts, manipulate them and share them with others.
• Access to the Creative Archive will be UK only : the UK public effectively owns the archive having paid for it
through public funding.
• A lot of associated rights issues need to be worked through. All content on the site is licensed under the
Creative Archive licence (BBC, British Film Institute, Channel Four, Open University).
1.4.3 Local TV
Very “local” TV news (see Part II - point 2. Local TV & User Generated Content) .
1.4.4 Recent Radio and TV content on-demand
See Figure 3 - Annexe
** BBC Interactive Media Player: iMP has been designed to offer viewers a catch-up service that will
enable viewers to download a radio or TV programme for up to seven days (Creative Archive is designed
to offer content to download that has passed the seven day window and the window for commercial
exploitation). A 3-month content trial will begin in September 2005. The BBC will open up more of its radio
and TV schedule - around 190 hours of TV programmes and 310 hours of radio programmes, as well as
local programming and rights-cleared feature films.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 21
* PODcasting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/downloadtrial )
At the moment on the BBC Web site one can get 7 days of Radio content available.
1.5 Production challenges and changes
All these expectations for this new content are facing the following production challenges:
• Economies of production - doing more for the same budget, or a lower budget.
• Create once, publish anywhere – implies understanding what this world really looks like, what happens to
consumers’ devices, what people are doing with our content.
• Current workflows and systems will not support the new world – broadcasters have to change the way in
which they think about their production process, almost to think about it being an industrial manufacturing
process, which does not sit very comfortably with creativity - They have to produce things in separate
layers in the way which enables us to be combined in different platforms (see below).
• Fully integrated and cross platform editorial propositions will be key.
• People issues: new ways of working with new editorial models.
1.5.1 Multiple layers and platforms
• Broadcasters cannot have a new production team every time a new consumer device is brought out. They
have to keep every single element as separate as possible all along the production process, so that when
the stream gets to a device just the bits that are needed for that device get used. See the News 24 picture
(see Figure 4a – Annexe) with some of the individual bits which are pulled together and stuffed through the
gallery to make up the final picture.
• BBC News starts thinking about the gallery not as a final master mixing point but as a preview point. What
leaves the gallery is clean audio/video and data, and for each service one graphics box glues the relevant
bits together and does a specific rendering (see Figure 4b - Annee). And the gallery gets a feedback as a
preview what the outputs look like, but the keying is not actually done in the gallery any more.
1.5.2 What journalists will do ?
• Have to be alerted of events, wires, process flows etc.
• Search (copying wires, media, information from all sources - professionals or individuals)
• Browse media assets (key frames) and information.
• Pull-push between real and virtual locations: there will not be the Big Media Bucket, but aggregations,
• Create Assets (text, headlines,…) for publication across any platform.
• Create Associations within and between platforms.
• Drag to templates for publication or broadcast, templates which may be time-dependant.
• Publish automatically across multiple platforms in multiple “qualities”.
1.5.3 The new production principles
• Flexibility of production tools, techniques and processes: people have to move around and change a bit
more the way they work.
• Desktop search and browse of everything: bring everything to one machine.
• Desktop manipulation with high value specialist craft, depending on the type of programme and on which
platform the each element is going.
• Virtual operational organisations for Desk, Planning, Mediaport, SCAR (Central Apparatus Room): people
cannot any longer seat all together, next to each other, and functions have to be distributed.
• Common taxonomies for metadata for availability to all production platforms (see also 1.3 on PDRs.
• Automatic temporal metadata and tagging, unless it’s really worth to fill in.
• Define re-usability of assets (What is an asset? Who is going to re-use it – who is going to see it? Where is
it going to go? – on which device?) and level of automatic publishing.
• Separate out approvals( technical, editorial) of an item, according to the context.
• Only render at point of publication (see 0).
• Only “live” presentation when appropriate.
1.5.4 Future outputs and reality
The pool of staff is to be doing three kinds of products:
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 22
• Lives: good, fast, efficient, cheap;
• Lumps: Items, pushed or pulled;
• Linked: Items linked together (Web pages,…).
But this has to face reality:
• A file can be just as inaccessible as a lost tape.
• File transfer can be slower than real time.
• Standards (audio/video codecs, different versions, …) and Rights!
• We will be interfacing legacy systems for years.
• What is an asset and what is it called?
• How do we associate items and what are tag schema?
• Traditional organisation by media.
1.6 BBC vision and technology principles:
• Production on the enterprise carried out on commodity technology using the general business networks
• All content digitised and ingested before production/post-production starts.
• Converged networks offering connectivity for all traffic, i.e. content over IP (Internet Protocol) and as data
• Single security model allowing authorised users to access content from anywhere.
• Optimum use of wireless, mobile technologies.
Welcome speech by Adrian Van Klaveren, Deputy Head of BBC News and Controller of Production.
Tiffany Hall, Head of Technolgy, News.
Chrichton Limbert, Head of Production Modernisation, News.
Jupiter is an integrated digital newsroom system implemented at the BBC Television Center (TVC). Until that point,
each newsroom in TVC had its own separate infrastructure across national television news programming, BBC
News 24 and BBC World.
2.1 What Jupiter should achieve
• To deal with the increased volume of news material, in terms of hours of input/output and format:
o 300 hours of new video and 200 hours of new audio material arrive in the BBC News Centre in
every 24 hours
o 500 new video asset are created in BBC News 24 and BBC World every day
o 300 new text assets, 90 new video assets and 60 new audio assets are created in BBC News
Online every day
• To deal with the need to re-version and re-purpose content across multiple sites.
2.2 Implementation steps
• 2000: Experimental pilot project, with journalists from News and Sport across the BBC. A study was
conducted to find out what journalists and newsroom users really wanted: primarily the ability to view
media at their desktops; have access to and share material quickly across production teams while being
able to view metadata about the media (information on rights, usage, embargoes, locations, etc); search
and select from current and archive material; and see the media life cycle through editing, transmission
• 2001: Invitation to Tender for storage and editing.
• BBC Technology Ltd (BBCT, now Siemens Business Services Media with its Colledia product ) takes on
the supply of the media asset management system and the role of lead integrator.
• September 2002: Quantel wins the contract for storage and editing.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 23
• Both Quantel and former BBCT had significant development work to do to deliver their solutions.
Integration between the two solutions was also not straightforward.
• End 2004 - 1st semester 2005: Acceptance testing conducted as a series of releases from both suppliers,
into a “live piloting” environment. Content is going to air, end-to-end, in News 24, but alongside the old
operation on Omnibus automation system and tape editing.
• Summer 2005: Seeking to truly “go live”, though with lots still to deliver in later phases.
2.3 From ingest to transmission & the “digital bucket”
The total storage system is composed of 13 Quantel sQServers, providing a total of more than 1300 hours of
30Mbit/s (MPEG-2) and 1300 hours of desktop browse quality 1.5Mbit/s (MPEG-1) storage (Figure 5 - Annexe).
2.3.1 Ingest & Recording
• Twenty-four input ports are dedicated to media ingest. The ingest/recording process is supported by six
Quantel sQServers configured with a total of 500 hours of 30Mbit/s storage and 500 hours of browse
• The Mediaport is the central point for recording and logging. An arrivals board, displays the booking
notification and the local ingest positions (Figure 6 - Annexe).
• Scheduling and monitoring software notifies each journalist of media availability, even when the media is
expected to arrive, so they can begin planning their story. Once feeds arrive, the system automatically
triggers a record session, notifies the users of its availability and starts streaming the desired media to their
desktop as soon as the first few frames of video hit the server.
Complementing ingest is a near-online storage system, comprising two sQServers with a total of 800 hours each of
broadcast and browse storage.
2.3.3 Finding & Viewing
The staff working at their desktop can not only access the ENPS newsroom computer system, but also gain access
to media booking, searching, logging and viewing systems to allow the to research News stories (Figure 7 –
• The system supports 20 craft edit stations, each based on the Quantel QEdit Pro platform. Broadcast-
quality video is transferred directly to the workstations, which provide a nonlinear editing environment
integrated with paint, color correction and graphics tools.
• An additional 142 journalist desktop editors using Cut software are shared between up to 600 journalists’
2.3.5 Production & Transmission
• Finished items are transferred to the production area, supported by five sQServers: three 8-port, each with
24 hours’ storage (MPEG-25), one 4-port and one 8-port, each with 20 hours’ storage.
• Finally, the produced cuts are forwarded to the various BBC News clients for transmission/distribution
under automation control to the various channels, including National Bulletins, BBC News 24, BBC Online
and BBC regions, as well as to the BBC’s archive system.
2.3.6 Management and control
• All of the stored media (browse and broadcast quality) on the sQServers are united under a single internal
Quantel Integrated Server Automation database. This is synchronised with the BBC T database (and
applications) running on Oracle 9i on Sun clustered servers. The database includes all the metadata
relating to each piece of media held - vital for tracking rights, etc. The BBC Technology-designed
automation system accesses this database via its own Gateway for media management, archiving and
metadata. It manages bi-directional transfers between the online, nearline and playout servers.
• All media components of the system are networked using the Quantel Clipnet Gigabit Ethernet - although
operationally it is treated as two areas - Ingest/Editing and Presentation. However, desktop edit facilities
are delivered on standard business/office networks ( 100Base T) and low specification client machines.
2.3.7 Open-architecture using industry-standard formats
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 24
• The open-architecture design allows the use of industry-standard formats such as: MPEG; media
exchange tools, including AAF (Advanced Authoring Format) and, in the near future, MXF (Material
eXchange Format); data standards such as SMEF (Standard Media Exchange Framework); automation
standards such as MOS (Media Object Server); and control standards, including SNMP (Simple Network
• It also allows the use of industry-standard, high-speed IT networks and Oracle’s 9i database and
Mark Jones, Project Director
Simon Andrewes - Manager, Television Projects
Craig Dwyer, in Broadcast Engineering, January & June 2003
3 Elections 2005
Britain’s May General Election was for BBC News an opportunity to experiment on the Big Night several technical
• “Brainstorm Multimedia, the Spanish 3D graphics software developer was appointed to supply software
and services for the BBC General Election Programme. The programme used a number of Brainstorm’s
eStudio licenses and off-the-shelf PC hardware to create the virtual set and the realtime 3-D graphics on
the night. Alongside that, the cameras were controlled by the BBC Research & Development Free-D
• Information from the BBC results database was fed from a central computer to a PC linked to each of the
five camera chains. Each of these cameras incorporated a ‘spotter-cam’ that looked at targets located in
the ceiling of the studio. These targets included a barcode that enabled the camera to ‘know’ where it was
in the studio space. This, in turn, enabled the graphics to change perspectives as the cameras moved.
• But just how does the presenter judge when the graphics appear? The BBC used two stereoscopic
projectors to display the incoming data on to the floor and ‘wall’ of the studio. However, by projecting the
graphics only during the blanking period of each camera frame (a neat trick of synchronisation), the
presenter was able to see the picture and judge his walk accordingly. The viewers, of course, didn’t see
this ‘real’ image - just the clean source through the vision mixer.
• Another piece of electronic wizardry introduced by the BBC during General Election coverage is known as
Mix TV. This is a realtime system developed by BBC Research and Development and used by RT
Software (RTSW), that allows the merging of real and virtual elements, free movement and zooming of the
camera, plus interaction with the virtual elements”.
Mark Austin, Projects & Planning, News Production Facilities (see slides on ftp.ebu.ch)
Philip Stevens - Fighting the election. TVBEurope, June 2005
3.2 Voters’ panel using 3G
• One of the most popular and innovative elements of the BBC's election coverage was the BBC Voters'
Panel, a co-production between the BBC News Technology, BBC News website, BBC Breakfast, and BBC
News 24: "We spent more than two months in the run-up to the general election finding 20 members of the
public from different locations, backgrounds and political persuasions across the UK to provide us with
regular comment and reaction to events along the campaign trail. This was achieved using 3G phones and
mpeg4 video cameras and a new technique to allow the ‘ingest’ of the video content and its subsequent
publication and transmission."
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 25
• Over 5 weeks around 300 clips were transmitted across the 3 outlets and the project was deemed to have
been a great success and value for money.
• The feedback from panellists and various audiences across all of the outlets was very positive. It proved to
be a popular and innovative addition to the BBC’s election coverage. On the BBC News website users
were given the chance to engage with the panel by watching and reading their views and sending their own
comments in response. The quality of contribution was particularly candid and engaging. This would
appear to be the result of meeting people ‘on their own ground’: using their technologies in surroundings
with which they were comfortable. This gave reports a unique and personal perspective: "Due to the honest
nature of the views and opinions offered to us we were able hold up a mirror to the voting public."
• "The views of the panel were given extra authority when they were invited to attend the studio and
interview party leaders face-to-face. This was a measure of how well the project was regarded and the part
it was playing in portraying the view of the UK population to our viewers as the election campaign
• "It was technically challenging to turn the 3G video call into broadcast video. This is, as far as we know, a
world first for the application of video calling for broadcast in this manner".
• "An interesting element was to observe which way the panel would vote in the end. Our final panel
following the announcement of the election results was illuminating, as a number of the panel members
changed their voting intentions and opted for another party:
• Additionally, one panel member appeared live on News 24, this was a BBC first for a live 3G contribution
broadcast by a member of the public.
"With a budget of only £10000 we achieved more than we had originally hoped for. The 3G coverage was excellent
meaning that we were also able to meet our demographical aspirations. For each element of this project we
exceeded our original expectations.”
Justen Dyche, BBC News technologist
(the slides and the MPEG-4 video clip were not made available to write this report)
Part II – BBC Training
BBC is facing a challenge: will the BBC still be a relevant force in 2016, i.e. at the time of renewal for the upcoming
As it was highlighted by Nigel Paine, Head of BBC Training & Development “Quality, technical innovations and
research have always been and still are key to the survival of the BBC. Over its history, the BBC has proved to be
able to cope with innovations, including with the first one, i.e. television”
BBC Training budget: 30 millions £ out of the overall BBC budget of 3 billions £
1000-2000 £ on average per year and per person, which is considerably higher than the UK industry average,
which is 693 £.
1. Personal Digital Production
Personal Digital Production: The ability for a TV News journalist to report, shoot and edit his/her own news
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 26
• In July 2002, a multi-skilling agreement, enabling television news staff to report, shoot and edit their own
news material was signed by the BBC’s Nations and Regions division with the NUJ (National Union of
Journalists) and BECTU (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union).
• The agreement followed the successful experiment of training more than 50 volunteer staff from both news
and craft backgrounds in new digital production techniques (PDP).
• The promotion of PDP was prompted by the desire of the BBC to expand its journalism and reporting
capacity across Nations and Regions and “provide viewers in every part of the United Kingdom with
journalism of unmatched quality and range”, according to then BBC Director of Nations and Regions Pat
1.2 How did it translate in terms of training
• Over the past two years, close to 400 BBC staff from both journalism and craft and production
backgrounds in Nations & Regions were trained on PDP.
• Training on PDP skills represents an important investment both in time and money as people are trained
face-to-face for 3 weeks by groups of 25. It is considered by some as a luxury.
• The training process proves much more sophisticated than what was conceived when it started; it implies a
constant process of development.
o First, one needs to ask trainees how they work, what they want to achieve, what they find difficult
o Then people are trained so that they can eventually induce technology to do what they want to
o 4-6 weeks after they have gone back to their programme areas, it is important to go back to them
and ask them how they are getting on with it, look at the rushes and then define whether they need
additional support and training.
o For those who have been trained on PDP, going back to the newsroom after having been cared for
and nurtured for 3 weeks proved rather brutal. Managers were frightened, and did not know how to
use these new skills. Despite the multi-skilling agreement, unions were unhappy about the
1.3 Trainers ‘ conclusions
“The technology means nothing unless the staff has the expertise, the skills and the experience to use it effectively”.
• Areas where it works best
o Current Affairs: excellent when one wants to spend time with people, to have access to them, to let
them relax over long periods.
o News Programmes, e.g:”On the Day”: some journalists can shoot and edit the same day while
others find it really difficult. Better to shoot and edit over two days rather than one day.
o However, there are areas where the existing resources work very well and the advantages that
could be obtained from PDP are too limited to be attempted.
• The hazards of single person operation
o When in position to do everything, journalists may soon be in need for some basic training again:
they have too much to think about, have too many choices to make. Sometimes they think too
much about the shooting and forget about the storytelling.
o Journalists may need to re-visit the basic production skills and values.
• What is interesting
o PDP and multiskilling generate more flexibility. The increased flexibility of production teams is a
o PDP makes it easier to have access to the interviewees, they tend to forget very quickly that they
are being shot;
o The budget allotted to cameras is smaller, which means that one can have more cameras, film for
longer, go abroad. The budget can be used in different and more flexible ways.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 27
o Multicamera shooting is now possible.
o A technical transformation leads to a cultural transformation. The cultural transformation is more
important than the technical one: how to make people from different background work together;
accept each other; how to overcome the traditional barriers.
o PDP makes it easier for an individual to pursue his own vision.
1.4 Mixed legacy
PDP has suffered from a lack of standardized initiative and overall strategy. At the same time, the scale of change
that is considered may explain the difficulties encountered.
• Many of those who were trained have not touched a DV camera again. On the other hand, many
individuals continue to do it as it was planned and effectively use their PDP skills;
• PDP gave birth to some stunning stories but also to pieces which were broadcast and did not have the
quality standard required. Such broadcast affected the reputation of PDP pieces.
• As it was originally planned, PDP news material will help provide content for local TV whose needs are
• Training is still going on in Nations & Regions, but three-week training is considered as a luxury.
• A pilot in drama using several cameras is being considered.
1.5 What is ahead ?
New equipment is coming out or about to come out and it should considerably help the cultural transformation.
• New HDV cameras: The Sony camera (HVR-Z1E) which came out recently is the first one of a new breed
of cameras: JVC will be soon launching a new HDV camera with changeable lens (GY -HD1OU).
• These cameras are what the industry has been waiting for, i.e. a professional DV camera. The Sony HDV
camera compares very favourably with bigger and more traditional equipment both in term of picture quality
and sound quality.
• The cost: the Sony HDV camera costs less than 4000 € (about 10 times less than traditional broadcasting
• Staff appreciate the flexibility: they are changing as well and are asking for this new technology.
It is time for the BBC to define a clear strategy to make the best of the new technology: how do we use that
technology? when do we use it? how do we use it to get best results?
Fiona Macbeth, BBC Journalism Training & Development
BBC Press Office
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 28
2. Local TV and User Generated Content
2.1 User Generated Content: material generated by the public, from a simple
picture to a full story
"The role of the BBC is shifting from a broadcaster and mediator to a facilitator, enabler and teacher. The BBC is
keen to emerge as a leader in participatory media and citizen journalism" Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC
Global News Division,
Launched by the BBC in 2001, the Digital Storytelling is one the leading initiative to promote citizen journalism and
achieve greater participation from the public.
2.2 Digital Storytelling
“Everyone has a story to tell. Technology now allows anyone to tell it in their own way. Digital stories are short films
made by people like you using computers and personal photographs” http://www.bbc.co.uk/tellinglives/
• Digital media production tools are taken to communities across the UK so that people can tell their own
stories in their own way
• Local training workshops are organized to teach interested members of the public new skills such as
crafting scripts, recording voices, laying down music and editing stills and video,
• More than 500 people so far have become programme makers
• Digital storytelling also acts as a practical way of developing IT and media literacy skills
2.3 Specific initiatives
• Capture Wales- Digital storytelling
• Video Nation
o launched in 1993
o 10 000 tapes were sent to the BBC; 1300 were usable. Now the Video Nation website has 700
o 38 local BBC centers lend cameras to the public for a couple of days. Tapes are edited by the BBC
• One minute movie
o aimed at 16-19 years-old
Hypergene interview with Richard Sambrook
David Dawson Pick, BBC Journalism Training & Development
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 29
3. Blended Journalism training
Blended training programme: combination of face-to-face training and online support & training
3.1.1 The Dr Kelly controversy and the Hutton report
• On May 29 2003, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Andrew Gilligan, a senior BBC journalist, reported
allegations that a dossier published by the British Government had deliberately exaggerated the military
capabilities of Iraq in order to justify going to war with the country. Gilligan’s source was one of the world’s
foremost biological weapons experts, Dr David Kelly. Kelly committed suicide shortly after being identified
as the source for the story.
• An inquiry (the Hutton Inquiry) which was subsequently set up to investigate the circumstances leading up
to Kelly’s death. The inquiry ruled that Gilligan’s original accusation was claimed “unfounded” and the
BBC’s editorial and management processes were “defective”.
• The inquiry’s findings prompted the immediate resignation of the BBC’s chairman, Gavyn Davies, its
Director General (chief executive) Greg Dyke, and the journalist at the centre of the allegations, Andrew
Gilligan. At the time, even if it appears excessive now, the very survival of the BBC was questioned.
3.1.2 The Neil Report (June 2004)
In response to the conclusions of the Hutton report, the BBC management convened a panel chaired by Ronal Neil,
former Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, to look into editorial issues raised by the Hutton Inquiry. The Neil
report laid out recommendations and guidelines to strengthen BBC journalism in the future.
Among other elements, the report clearly stated:
• the core values of BBC journalism,
o Truth and Accuracy
o Serving the public interest
o Impartiality and diversity of opinion
o Accountability and engagement with audiences
o Independence from Government and commercial interests
• the importance of continuous training, and of learning from both existing best practice and from the specific
circumstances around the broadcast which led to the Hutton Inquiry last year.
• the recommendation for the BBC to establish a college of journalism
3.2 BBC Training & Development response: blended training
Blending face-to-face and online modules, BBC Training & Development’s response to the Hutton and Neil reports
aims at “changing the way people work”.
3.2.1 Online editorial policy course
• increase people’s knowledge of editorial policy
• Improve knowledge of BBC Producers’ Guidelines
• 15 000 – 17 000 programme makers (Anyone who is a programme maker - whatever type of programme -
has to do it)
• editorial policy guidelines
• The course had started being developed before the beginning of the Dr Kelly/ Hutton report’s controversy.
• It took 18 months to develop. The development could have achieved slightly faster but it was decided to
wait for the full conclusions of the controversy.
• For this particular course, as well as for the other courses proposed by BBC Training & development, the
content of the course was developed by a multidisciplinary team.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 30
• launched on October 2004
• The course was officially launched by an e-mail coming from the Director general of the BBC. The
message was clear: “Everyone has to do it”
Advantages of the online format
• accessible from every desk top
• BBC Training could track whether people had done the course or not. However individual performance was
not tracked as unions expressed their concerns and fear of disciplinary sanctions for staff who would not
have passed the course. The goal was to ensure that people would complete the course rather than pass
it or fail it.
• By the end of May 2005, 15 822 people had used the course online and 2000 more had used the CD.
82% have completed both modules. Probably about 12 000 have completed the course.
What needs to be highlighted
• This training course implied a change of culture: “traditionally the BBC is an organization where people
don’t like being told to do things”. People who are not doing the course are not disciplined but self-
discipline has worked as staff know that they will be in trouble if they run into editorial problems in the
course of their work.
• The quality of the modules: it had to be very good to work, especially with the young employees who are
very savvy with computers.
• The management’s attitude was uncompromising: “everyone has to do it”.
• Communication is key and feedback has been given regularly to unit managers, asking them to push their
staff to do the course when needed
• The course is here to stay; Producers’ guideline, Editorial guideline is actually part of BBC people’s life. It
will be constantly updated and people will be asked to train and re-train.
• 2nd module was too long (2.5hr); a legal version -shorter- was made (45’)
3.2.2 Face-to-face course on “Sources, Scoops, stories and covers”
• Give tools to staff to put the 5 core values highlighted by the Neil report into practice
• Initial target: 7 900 BBC journalists
• note taking
• single sources & anonymity (how do you control live allegations)
• referring upwards (when to talk to an editor or a Department head)
• live 2-ways serious allegations (3 continuous news networks, how do you control serious allegations live on
• fair, impartial and accurate
• A ½ day face-to-face course based on a hospital scenario where all the key points of the Neil report were
• The course started at the beginning of November 2004. It started slowly and then picked up until the end of
March where 8 000 people had gotten trained. By the end of April 2005, 8 600 people had been trained.
• The actual number of people trained is quite higher than the initial target. Why? Mainly because the good
reputation of the course spread, programme makers from Nations & Regions were sent on the course.
• The final target was 9 122, and so far the success rate is 94.8% of that initial target.
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 31
What needs to be highlighted
• The course needed a pan-BBC approach and needed to be free of charge. It was financed centrally;
contrary to what is the ordinary rule which is units pay for their own training courses
• The course was even run overseas: Nairobi, Moscow, NYc, Washington, Paris, and even Taschkent and
Bakou, Zagreb and in Arabic in Cairo)
• An ethics course is being devised for editors.
• Online training modules on the European Union and on the Middle East are being developed
• the BBC College of Journalism should be set up before the end of 2005
Nigel Paine, Head of BBC Training & Development
Alex Gerlis, BBC Journalism & Training
BBC Press Office
The Hutton enquiry website
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 32
Figure 1: The changing consumer space
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 33
Figure 2: Peer-to-peer uploads and metadata
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 34
Figure 3: Different types of broadcast or on-demand news services
(1) Broadcast BBC News 24 Five Live DVB-H
continuously Ceefax Digital text
Continuous news Interactive TV loops DAB text
(2) Served on
demand: BBC News website HomeChoice
BBC News player
Access and pull, when
BBC Radio player
you like, from a
Other IP TV News to
permanently available mobiles
server source. (Variable
frequency of updates.)
b) triggered Pushed
BBC News daily emails News Flash
services, opt-in, then
triggered by event or BBC News Email Alerts News SMS
BBC News Desktop Alerts alerts
(3) Locally stored
Personal video/ audio recordings
BBC iMP **
of broadcast content
Saved on local PODcasting *
storage, for use at their
Green = operational service Amber = pilot service Red = no BBC News service Tiffany Hall v0.3 June 2005
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 35
Figure 4: Multiple layers and serving different platforms
PICTURES LIVE TICKER TEXT
PRESENTER BREAKING NEWS STRAP
TICKER STRAP GRAPHIC BOX
BREAKING NEWS TEXT
TIME DATA AUDIO TRACK LOGO
TIME BACKING LOCATION
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 36
Figure 5: BBC digital newsroom diagram
Agencies, BBC Text and script production processes
IN Web Viewing Content Web
quality for productio
TA To web,
Simple webTV etc
quality Transmiss Transmiss
video ion ion
Craft To air
Media Asset Management Transmission
Clip life-cycle details
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 37
Figure 6: Arrivals board
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 38
Figure 7: Jupiter interface
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 39
EBU International Training / Hélène RAUBY-MATTA & Jean-Noël GOUYET / Thematic Visit to BBC News / 7-8 June 2005 40