Tuesday, October 5, 2004

BBC News Online Embraces Links to Outside News Sources

Rattled and scarred from a series of crediblity scandals the BBC has decided to take a new tack in trying to position its online news portal as an objective source of news and information worldwide. As noted in Revolution Magazine, the Beeb's Newstracker technology will use search technology similar in concept to that used by major news gathering services at search engine portalts to correlate BBC coverage with other news sources and provide correlary links to related coverage from their own stories. Sometimes it takes a crisis to take a new approach that can challenge long-standing assumptions about the "right" way to approach a problem; this may be just such an opportunity for the BBC. With search engine-based services such as Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves and HighBeam offering a wide and objective view of global publications, it's necessary for news organizations to rethink how they are positioning their services as news gatherers. Having world-class editorial staff is no longer sufficient for a news organization to distinguish themselves in the eyes of content consumers who have the power to find world-class news from any number of sources with great convenience in easy-to-use "virtual papers" such as search engines and desktop aggregation tools provide. Strong editorial capabilities will remain important, but the news business as a whole needs to acknowledge the extent to which the playing field has been leveled and provide their clients and advertisers with the most powerful editorial contexts possible - regardless of where the sources may come from. Kudos to the BBC for taking bold steps in a time of challenge.
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