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November 16, 2006

*BBC embracing the world wide web

The BBC has been online for over nine years, but only now is it about to join the World Wide Web.

Pete Clifton, head of BBC News InteractiveYou might think I sound slightly mad, but this is basically the point that the head of BBC News Interactive Pete Clifton made today when he spoke to students in Cardiff.

You see, while the Beeb’s news website – imho the best website in existence – has very much been part of the internet, Mr Clifton and his team are hoping to reconnect the site with the ‘web’ through aggregation, wikis, APIs and better use of blogging, vodcasts ( such as the superb STORYFix ) and video.

What does this mean?

It means you’ll be able to use BBC content on your own blog or your website, whether that’s a text story, video (embedded onto your page like a YouTube video), graphic or interactive guide. It means you’ll find more BBC content on places like iTunes and the like. And it means on the BBC website you’ll find far more links to other websites, in recognition of the fact that other people can do many things better.

One example of this is the BBC’s Country Profiles – such as this one – which will continue to have some static information provided by the BBC, but will increasingly have content from further afield, such as a list of the latest stories from Argentina created by other news providers, as well as the latest news in video from the country. What’s most exciting is that this model is likely to be used elsewhere on, and we saw some very impressive examples.

Other interesting parts of the talk were about how far the Beeb’s blogging might go (not very, says Pete), and his views on the BBC iPlayer, due out next April (not very useful for BBC News).

But as an aspiring journalist, the best part of the talk was on how people should apply for a job. Pete Clifton’s mantra was:

If they can’t spell they can f**k off basically.

Good point, well made.

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