17 October 2008

BBC Appoints Readers’ Reporter

The BBC has created a new post for a journalist to work solely with story leads submitted by the audience via emails, texts and pictures.

Siobhan Courtney is the corporation’s first Interactive Reporter and it’s her brief to cover tip-offs from users regarding stories that “aren’t part of the conventional news processes”.

Matthew Eltringham says that although the BBC has been creating articles from user-generated content (UGC) for some time, there are many more falling by the wayside as journalists are unable to explore them further.

Writing on The Editors blog, the assistant editor of interactivity notes: “They’re stories that matter to people … and weren’t getting the attention they deserved so we’ve decided to try out a reporter whose beat is simply all the content you’ve been sending in to us”.

And he points to two stories broken by Courtney since the start of the pilot project two weeks ago – including a multimedia report into initiation activities at universities which has led to a police investigation.

The BBC has been developing stories from users’ emails and texts since the creation of its UGC Hub following the Asian tsunami in December 2004.

Journalists working on the Hub process the thousands of emails and pictures submitted each day and then distribute them to the relevant BBC news programmes.

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