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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: BBC News Online

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BBC News website in March 2008.

BBC News website in March 2008.

The BBC News Player contains extensive amounts of videos, both of individual news reports, entire news bulletins and current affairs programmes.

The BBC News Player contains extensive amounts of videos, both of individual news reports, entire news bulletins and current affairs programmes.

BBC News Online (more recently referred to as simply the BBC News website) [1] is the website of BBC News, the division of the BBC responsible for newsgathering and production. Forming a major part of bbc.co.uk, the website is the most popular news website in the United Kingdom (between 60% and 70% of visitors are from the UK), as well as one of the most popular worldwide, averaging around 15 million visitors per month.

The website contains international news coverage, as well as British, entertainment, science, and political news. Many reports are accompanied by audio and video from the BBC’s television and radio news services, while the latest TV and radio bulletins are also available to view or listen to on the site together with other current affairs programmes.

Contents

History

The site launched in November 1997, headed by founding editor Mike Smartt. Designed originally by Matt Jones, the look of the website has since been redesigned several times including a major overhaul in 2003, primarily by Paul Sissons and Maire Flynn, to coincide with a relaunch of the BBC News Channel. The website went under yet another reluanch again on March 31st 2008 which included wider page designs, clearer links, more video/audio content and a new BBC masthead.

Smartt was later succeeded by Pete Clifton who was subsequently promoted to Head of BBC News Interactive.

The editorial and management departments of the website are based in BBC Television Centre, while the development and site design teams are based in BBC White City – both in the White City area.

The site was named best news website at the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards every year from 1998 to 2001 when the award category was withdrawn.

The design of the site saw a major change in March 2008 when more spacing was added. This was made possible by an increase in the page resolution as more viewers have screen resolutions set to 1024 pixels, and even 1280 pixels on popular widescreen laptops.

The new design for BBC News, and also BBC Homepage and BBC Sport are in working progress[1] with planned changes in days, weeks and even later in the year after the new site was launched, one change to BBC News and Sport sites after the design was introduced was the “Explore the BBC” button[2], to keep in tact the function ability of the old bbc.co.uk header.

Features

UK/World editions

There are two different editions of the site: a UK edition, which gives prominence to UK stories, and a world edition, which prioritises international news. All articles are archived indefinitely and can be retrieved via searching or by browsing the extensive Special Reports section, which contains collections of articles relating to major news stories. The previous seven days’ top stories were formerly available through the Week at a Glance section of the website.

As well as pure news articles, the site also contains material to support BBC news, current affairs and factual programmes. The Magazine section contains features prompted by current news stories, as wells as a number of regular items within the weekly Magazine Monitor weekly column with various light-hearted sub-sections including ‘Caption Competition’, reader’s letters, ‘Punorama’, quizzes and various other humorous items.

By a large contrast to the Magazine section, Have Your Say, linked with the radio and television programmes of the same name allows readers to debate issues in the news

A more detailed section of the web site is ‘Special Reports, formerly In Depth. This brings together news articles of the same topic or incident and also includes many explanatory articles or diagrams.

Since the beginning of May 2007, BBC News has been streamed live on the UK version of the website.[3]

Columnists

BBC News Online has a small number of topic-specific columns written by BBC journalists. Examples include education correspondent Mike Baker’s Mike Baker Weekly column and technology commentator Bill Thompson’s bill board (formerly bill blog). BBC News Online Science Writer Ivan Noble, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in August 2002, shared his experiences of cancer in Tumour Diary until his death on 31 January 2005.

The use of blogs has also grown with correspondents including Nick Robinson, Robert Peston , Mark Mardell and Evan Davis, amongst others, making use of them to provide updates on the latest news events. The Editors’ blog has also seen BBC News editors giving their reasons for editorial decisions, as well as defending criticisms of the BBC.

Real-time information

The site launched a set of semi-official RSS 0.91 syndication feeds in June 2003 and upgraded them to RSS 2.0 in March 2000[citation needed]. Every news index has its own RSS feed, including the in-depth sections.

Since June 2006 the site has been providing real-time user information on its most popular news stories.

Forum

The site has a forum called ‘Have Your Say’.

Under then Editor Pete Clifton, the system behind the forum was upgraded in 2005 to allow for comments to be added faster and appear in real-time, subject to varying levels of moderation.

The impartiality of the forums has been criticised by organisations such as News Sniffer: moderators are accused of sometimes appearing to promote their own agenda.

Criticism

The site is primarily funded by the television licence, paid by all UK households owning a television set, and used to carry no advertising. The World edition has received some subsidy from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office through its grant-in-aid to the BBC World Service. This has led to complaints of unfair competition from commercial rivals. Others note that large numbers of international visitors enjoy the site at the expense of the UK public, leading to suggestions that foreign users be shown advertising or charged subscription fees when accessing the site. Proposals to include advertising on the international version of the website were discussed by the BBC Trust in February 2007, but were opposed by BBC journalists, who feared it would weaken public trust in the impartiality of the BBC. In November 2007, the site did start to carry advertising [4]. The advertising consists of large animated banners, which has led to complaints that these make the site’s content harder to read. [5]

This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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