Latest developments on the BBC’s hyperlocal plans

By Emma Meese | 15th Jan 2016

It was good to be at the BBC in Birmingham yesterday, where I had the opportunity to discuss the hyperlocal news sector with other interested parties at the BBC’s Local Working Journalism Group.

The BBC formed the group around 18 months ago, which includes other supporting organisations in the sector, representatives from regional newspaper groups and local TV amongst others.

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We heard how Local Live, a project that’s being rolled out by the BBC to link from BBC News online to external local news sites, is already active in three quarters of English regions. Participating news media use a Twitter hashtag to draw BBC attention to a given story. The BBC then decides which stories to include, based on editorial considerations such as:

  • The audience gets added value on a story already being covered eg picture galleries or further relevant information or other key source material
  • It provides useful practical information
  • It provides entertainment or enjoyment
  • The story is not being covered by the BBC
  • It gives further informed comment

There is no guarantee that a story recommended in this way will be used. The project is open to online providers of local news stories – not campaigning or single issue sites. The BBC needs to have a named contact at the relevant publication and to have established a relationship with them before recommendations from that publication . are considered. Generally the BBC looks to refer to sites which contain regularly updated content. By the end of Summer all English regions will have a live feed and hashtag.

If you want your articles to be considered but you don’t know who to contact get in touch with me at meesee@cardiff.ac.uk and we’ll help you make the link. We are having continued discussions with BBC Wales News regarding the options for community journalists in Wales.

It was demonstrated at yesterday’s meeting how the BBC has a desktop tool for searching its own archive news media. Serious consideration is being given to whether a product like this can be shared with the local and hyperlocal news sector. This is a potentially exciting development as it would provide access to news, current affairs and political content for research and reporting purposes for local and community journalists across the UK.

Homepage image accompanying this article is copyright Peter Daniel.

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