The BBC’s two-year-old visual journalism unit services its online and TV output with graphics and data visualizations for its TV and digital news channels. The unit comprises of 10 online journalists, 10 online designers, 10 developers and around 50 TV designers; a setup that epitomizes the need for inter-disciplinary skill sets for TV and Web output.
Last year, Belgium-based public service broadcaster VRT set up an internal ‘Start-up’, a team tasked with engaging the “YouTube generation” – with a focus on roughly 16 to 24 year-olds – and experimenting with new platforms and different ways to tell stories. Many news outlets have established internal incubators or news labs to help drive innovative thinking, and the hope is that VRT’s version will help the broadcaster re-engage with this audience in particular.
“We didn’t reach young people any more with our classic radio and TV,” member of Start-up Lesley Demuynck told Journalism.co.uk. “In the digital world, people could go onto YouTube and Facebook and the big players in the world, and we as a regional media outlet were losing grip on that generation.”
Their work has been guided directly by the target audience via ‘Insight Sessions’ held fortnightly across the country, as well as feedback gathered via their own digital channels. The Insight Sessions, which bring together individuals from the target age-group, have served to highlight not only the prevalence of networks such as Facebook and Snapchat in that generation’s media diet, but also the specific ways in which they are being used.
Three key projects have been pursued by the team in beta following its launch, two of which are editorially-focused, and driven by social media: a mobile video project called Ninjanieuws, which exists on Instagram and Snapchat, and a Facebook-supported news platform called Sambal. The third project, called OpenVRT, is a collaboration project to bring together young people with key digital skills such as in blogging, video and photography, with VRT.
one Greek media outlet has been providing continuous coverage of the ERT crisis that stands out with its intelligence, clarity and attention to detail. Radio Bubble, an Athens-based citizen journalism community, has been publishing ‘round-the-clock live updates, in-depth analysis, aggregated links to foreign media coverage and radio podcasts on its multi-lingual website. RB’s volunteers discovered and published, for example, a document showing that the order to close ERT came from Greece’s creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and IMF — which stipulated that at least 2,000 public sector employees would have to be fired in June to fulfill cost-cutting requirements. Radio Bubble published the scanned document on its website, even as the European Commission denied any involvement in the decision to shut down ERT. The New York Times confirmed the story several days later. The in-depth reports on Radio Bubble’s website are supplemented with frequent updates on Twitter, via their dedicated account @radiobubblenews or, more frequently, via various contributors who use the tag #rbnews. Volunteers monitor the hashtag and verify reports, particularly if they come from outsiders. According to contributor Theodora Oikonomides (@IrateGreek), it is the now the second-most popular hashtag in Greece.