All news is local…..
In 2004, on the heels of 5 years with the BBC, we started on a second project.
The test base was Birmingham, England, and we built 5 ‘hyperlocal news pods” in 5 Birmingham regions.
Each was staffed with 6 videojournalists. The idea was that they would produce extremely local stories, of extremely local interest. A bit like BBC’s very successful local radio. Interestingly, 25% of the content was garnered from local ‘Citizen journalists” with video cameras.
The pilot project ran for two years.
Here in the US, we migrated the model to Verizon, where we are now in our second year in the pilot project in Washington DC. So far, so good.
In Britain, they are now ready to move to roll out a national model: 65 Hyperlocal pods with 65 separate websites. And why not? The Pods are inexpensive to build and run and websites cost next to nothing. It’s a good idea.
It’s so good an idea that local newspapers are feeling the heat and bringing pressure on Ofcom – the UK’s equivalent of the FCC, to kill the project before it can get started.
BBC Trust Chairman Michael Lyons said:
Lyons said the “rising noise and anxiety” from the BBC’s commercial rivals about the corporation’s video plans was understandable given the economic pressures they faced, but warned that calls to “bring the BBC down to size” risked causing “fundamental damage”.
“There’s nobody who can be satisfied with the quality of local news in most parts of the United Kingdom,” Lyons told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London this afternoon.
“The local press has nothing like the strength that it once had. It’s not the same proposition that it was 15 years ago. Will the BBC make it better or worse? That’s exactly the issue to be explored.”
It’s a good idea. It’s extremely cost effective. We found that the Birmingham model can produce high quality local video news at about $2000 per half hour. And this is not public access. This is BBC standards of quality and excellence, both journalistically and technically.
This is TV news done at the price point of a newspaper. So it is no wonder that newspapers are worried. And they should be – or they should embrace the same technology to go head to head with the beeb.
A decision will be announced November 27th.
Here’s the whole story
And a tip o’ the hat to reader Alan Morrison in NZ, to clued me into the story. Thanks Alan.