Tag Archives: BBC

Are national broadcasters simply endorsing social media platforms ‘like Facebook and Twitter’ ?

“We’ve received this tweet from ….”

It’s the latest trend in news and everyone’s following suit. It seems like there isn’t a news programme that goes by these days without some kind of reference to UGC platforms Twitter and Facebook. For some this represents an essential new connection to the audience, while others feel this is a perfect example of broadcast networks endorsing social networking brands.

There were plenty of examples people who were unhappy with BBC constantly referencing the websites (I shall try not to name them again, as the fear grows that I myself am endorsing them…) on the most recent episode of BBC’s Newswatch which can be watched here.

When talking to Former ITN Chief Executive and Ofcom Partner Stewart Puvis about the future of UGC he told me he thought that broadcasters could be in danger of unfairly promoting Twitter and Facebook. You can hear is comments below:

But what can we do about this  when there only really is one place you CAN ‘Tweet’… should we be saying ‘we have received a social media commentary from one of our viewers’ ?? Or is that just taking political correctness to an unnecessary extreme?

When talking to BBC Breakfast Producer James Laidler I took the opprtunity to ask him what he thought of the idea that BBC, a public service broadcaster, might be endorsing online brands. He pointed out that the main platforms being used at the moment simply are Twitter and Facebook. He justified the BBC’s use of these services by saying that as a ‘public service broadcaster’ the Beeb has to take into account how its audience is digesting news and keep up to date with it.

Many people nowadays go straight to social networking sites to find out what’s going on. It’s therefore essential for networks to present news across these platforms in order to not fall behind. he also emphasised that the BBC Breakfast audience enjoy the interaction and direct connection that Twitter and Facebook create. He said “….”

You can see the interview with James here:

So what do you think?

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm

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How the BBC uses UGC: part Two. An interview with Matthew Eltringham

Matthew Eltringham is assistant Editor of Interactivity and Social Media Development at the BBC. I did an article about how he developed the UGC hub at the BBC and how the line of verification is a way of understanding which information the BBC will and will not use and how it is verified.

Matthew describes the different ways of incorporating UGC into newsgathering and more importantly, how we as fellow journalists can learn from the BBC how to verify that UGC is correct.

I asked Matthew if he could explain to me and GeneratedByUsers‘ fellow journalists exactly what the line of verification is in his own words.


I then asked him: If something comes up from the dark side, the dark side of the line of verification, how do you go about checking that it is okay to use it  and what influences you to use it?


And finally, I asked him what are the consequences of using wrong information from the dark side and is it worth using?


Although Matthew and his team experienced some skepticism from the BBC when the UGC hub was created, he claims it is merely another form of journalism and must be used alongside conventional journalism in the 21st century to keep up with breaking news.
By Linzi Kinghorn

Channel 4 News launches cuts map in time for Budget – UGC to the max

The developer behind the #uksnow map Ben Marsh has launched a crowdsourced cuts map for Channel 4 to monitor spending cuts across the UK in time for George Osborne’s Budget.

Twitter can be used to report government cuts taking place via this map. On Twitter, the hashtag #c4cuts, a place name/postcode and a link to an article will appear on the map on Channel 4’s website.

So we see a big broadcaster using UGC in a fantastic way, reaching more communities than they might do otherwise. Channel 4 News say they want to “harness the power of social media and the wisdom of the crowd” to find stories they may have missed.

Channel 4 News’s Head Of Online Ed Fraser told Generated By Users: “…if you ask a Channel 4 News presenter like John Snow or Krishnan Guru-Murthy a question or one of our correspondents or producers then you will usually get a reply/answer.

“We are now looking to evolve the next stage of our social media strategy and reach out to the audience to help us develop our journalism both online and then to translate that onto television.  There have been a lot of collaborative style projects online but few that make the translation onto television.

“We hope our Cutsmap will enable the audience to join with us in pinpointing cuts around the country at a local level and it can be a resource for both them and for us to develop stories from.”

Channel 4 isn’t the only broadcaster using innovative Budget-inspired UGC. Sky News will have a Budget calculator available shortly after the announcement so people can fill in their details and see how much better or worse they will be as a result of the Budget. The BBC also has a Budget calculator. And ITV News had a live web chat featuring a panel of experts whom users could post questions to and interact with online.

If you’re in Budget mode, here it is at a glance. And below is some reaction from Twitter:

@drummermik: Wow. A whole penny off fuel per litre. I can now get a couple penny sweets every time I fill up. #Budget

@lightboxstudios: So far it seems the budget is pretty good, especially for small businesses. Nice one George, looking forward to my reduced business rates!

@mancman: @10anta i suggest you watch the BBC, this shocking budget is not going down well with the public, Roll on May 5th when you get massacred

Lots of different opinions then – what are your thoughts on the cuts map/Budget? Feel free to add some UGC to this post with a comment or two!

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

Why UGC is not a cheap alternative to real journalism – an in depth interview with Trushar Barot

Trushar Barot is a senior Broadcast Journalist from the User Generated Content hub at the BBC. I managed to catch up with him to find out what he does on a daily basis, which social media site the BBC benefits from using the most and whether he thinks UGC is a cheap alternative to real journalism.

The future of journalism is going to be much more about journalists who work with social media becoming trusted editors of UGC, according to Trushar.

The department at the BBC finds Twitter “essential” in newsgathering and are confident in using it to source stories. He says there has been a huge shift in the way people use sources such as Facebook, Youtube and Flickr.

It is particularly helpful when sourcing information in the Middle East fot the recent crisis. He says there has been an intense pressure for the BBC to keep up with the most current information and pictures.

He says he trys to maintain a good relationship with users who contribute information and makes sure they know they own the copyright of their information. The BBC also has a policy of never paying for information they obtain.


By Linzi Kinghorn

How the BBC uses UGC to its full advantage: Part One

Fellow journalists. To what extent is is okay to use information provided from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites? Your editor asks you to find some information on a specific topic and you find yourself flicking through thousands of tweets by the normal people instead of a verified source. Should you use citizen created journalism that you cannot 100% verfiy?

We are in an age of ‘internet’ where lots of information is sourced from the web and normal people like to contribute to the ongoing news and travel in particular via tweets and phone calls to radio stations.


Also, in bigger situations like Tunisia and Libya, citizens are sending in videos and photographs. But how do we trust this information and can we use it?

Matthew Eltringham, the Assistant Editor of Interactivity for BBC News, has tried for years to combine the BBC’s impartiality with the flood of user-generated content and social media communication whilst newsgathering for a particular story. Because the BBC wants to use all the information it can get from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, emails, texts etc, Matthew has been working to combine UGC with other information.

So, comes the classification of the Light Side and the Dark Side. The ‘Light Side’ of the Line of Verification is something the BBC regards as ‘true.’ The ‘Dark side’ is not considered true. In the past, the BBC just wouldn’t have broadcast it if it hadn’t been verified by two sources, but times are changing. The rest of society, the public, already know what’s going on on the dark side because we live it; we see and hear it from first hand sources on Facebook and the like and experience it daily before big news organisations have time to verify it (mumsnet is a good recent example).

Using these dark sources is invaluable because not only is it coming from an online source, but it’s the best way to find and connect with your news! It’s more than just rumours, it is an informal narrative of the story you are trying to write. But just make sure you present it in that way and be clear to express it as a non-validated source. Of course, there are fuzzy or wobbly lines of verification, because information you find will have elements of truth in it. As Matthew says,
“We need to change our reporting activity to engage with ‘stuff’ on the dark side of the line 
as part and parcel of our daily journalism. Social media unleashes the capacity of people to publish and share rumour, lies, facts and factoids. We – as a trusted broadcaster (along with other journalists of course) – become increasingly significant as a reference or clearing house, filtering fact from fiction.”

We need it in this modern age and there is nothing wrong with using it. This distinction between what is produced by journalists and the public shows that even big corporations like the BBC are striving to incorporate UGC into their reporting so there’s nothing wrong with us doing it. On work experience at the BBC over the Christmas holidays, I was using Twitter and Hootsuite in the search of new and original stories. Perhaps this will be of help to you.

What is User Generated Content?

User Generated Content (UGC) is changing the way we access our media and how traditional mass media procures its content and connects with its audiences. Although it has a rather clunky and troublesome name (more on that later) it has been around as long as media itself. It is a continuation of the letters page of the paper or the call in to the local radio station.

So what is user generated content?

On its most basic level – content generated by anyone. Content is easier to create now with affordable and accessible technology such as smart phones, flip cameras, blogging tools online etc. However, UGC has developed and evolved over its relatively short life. Now we should think about big and small publishers and then users.

Big publishers -the media giants we all know and love the broadcasters, print titles and online giants such as AOL, Yahoo and MSN. Small publishers -the widest of all categories and includes bloggers, individual websites. Users that’s you! This is why user generated content is such a troublesome term as the meaning has changed since it first came into use around 2005, though we are stuck with it for better or worse.

How do we contribute?

Flickr, Twitter, Digg, Guardian CiF, WordPress, Facebook, Blogspot, Tumblr the list is endless and depends on what you want to do. We’ll be reviewing some of the best technologies for getting your content online soon!

How are the ‘traditional’ Media harnessing UGC?

This is a big theme and one that we are really interested in. So we’ll be exploring it in a lot more detail. All of the broadcasters and papers are starting to get really innovate. Real time updates on twitter  are used as newsgathering sources in emergencies such as the Mumbai bombings. Channel 4 created a ‘snow map’ last year to create an accurate picture of how the country was affected. The new ‘i’ paper has a great section on your views and the blogosphere all collected via UGC. These are just a few of the many ways the ‘big boys’ are getting in on the act

What’s next for UGC?

Although we don’t have a digital crystal ball (it’s on our Xmas list), we’ll be exploring all the latest developments and bringing you updates from some big names in the industry so keep checking the blog.

Lastly, we love comments so get in touch in the comments section or any other way you want email/twitter/facebook.