Week 4- ‘The Future of Local News’ and BBC Coverage

LECTURE:

‘Local websites of all shapes and sizes are providing community news and information to hundreds of thousands of people. Most of these sites are volunteer run, using free publishing platforms like www.wordpress.com with no hard costs. They show that grass roots media can provide an accurate, reliable popular source  of news and information without regulation or subsidy. Their news values and thresholds are new, reflecting grass roots interests and priorities.’ (Digital Britain:150)

This quote is significant as it reflects a positive side about blogging in comparison to the negative quotes from news organisations that I listed in one of my first posts.

Triangle of News:

1. National/International – not many news organisations are included in this sector- Sky and BBC

2. Regional/Local – BBC Radio and TV, shrinking regional press but more organisations involved. I.e ITV

3. Local/Ultra Local/ Community- 135 Community Radio Stations – 1000s of internet based comunity Media Outlets.

‘What’s clear is that the old-school of journalism can no longer continue as before. There is a future – and a potentially prosperous one – where amateurs and professionals work together to tread the difficult line between quality and extensiveness.’ (Making Good Society, 2010:108)

WORK SHOP:

I have searched ‘news’ on three different search engines (Ask, Yahoo, Google and Bing) to see any significant differences or similarities that arise.

My first initial thought is that unsurprisingly the BBC online news website comes up first in Ask and Bing and comes second in Yahoo. This connotes the prestigious status that the BBC owns over other online news organisations. However, Yahoo had it’s own news group at top of the list. This may not mean that it ranks itself as more important or ‘better’ than the BBC but it does represent the loyalties Yahoo has to it’s organisation. The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Daily Mail shortly follows after BBC news on the different search engines. As I flick from page to page, the BBC remains on each page.

Political economy of search engines. Google ranks the words you use and uses the location metrics- because the word news is in the web address it comes higher than something that hasn’t got news in it. BBC comes up a lot is because people are putting links on social media sites so when Google looks at it they will say ‘ah there are so many links to the BBC’ so it goes up in the rankings.

Searching ‘War in Afghanistan’ is interesting. Particularly on Ask as by the time you get to page 45, the same page is repeated over and over again. This is intriguing. Is Ask trying to look ‘good’ or ‘better’ against its competitors? Do they not expect people to look further than page 45?

This is a commonality with the search engines I investigated apart from Google.

BBC COVERAGE

The BBC publishes news from all over the world. These are the countries the BBC specifically covers online: UK, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American, Middle East, US and Canada.

It is interesting that certain areas are not included in the coverage i.e South America. However, Lee Salter taught us that news organisations are unable to afford to cover some places because of budgets. In the lecture we went through how much some channels charge to just have a programme broadcasted and it is astonishing.

Where certain places are unable to be covered by journalists, this can affect the type of news we receive from these places. News organisations cut costs by using journalists from the local areas to get their stories. This can mean that the information we receive about this country could be biased or misleading, giving our country false representations and ideas about situations occurring.

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