February 2015 Newsletter

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 3rd February 2015

Sophie Powell, Chief of UK Advocacy and Campaigns



Welcome to IBT’s February newsletter with a brief update on our work and relevant news from the media industry.     (Print this Newsletter)


Social media – making your voice heard

Today we publish our new report looking at how NGOs can be more effective in their online campaigning. Social media is becoming increasingly important as a way of engaging the UK public with global issues; but it’s also an increasingly challenging area in which to operate. Social media – making your voice heard explores the changing social media landscape, looks at what works and what doesn’t, and makes a number of recommendations for how NGOs can be more effective. The full report can be downloaded from the home page of this website.


Last month’s briefing with Vice News and the Huffington Post

We had a fascinating briefing last month with Yonni Usiskin (Vice News) and Charlie Lindlar (Huffington Post). It’s clear that both these organisations are growing in size and influence and both offer great opportunities for NGOs to get their messages across. It was particularly refreshing to hear Yonni says that there is a big appetite amongst audiences for serious content that explores the complexity of global issues and stories. Both speakers said that there was a real opportunity now for NGOs to engage audiences – if they can find the right tone and content. It was also interesting to hear that much of their content is discovered through recommendations on social media. A detailed note on what was said at the briefing is available in the members’ area of the IBT website.


This month’s briefing with BBC News online

Despite the growth of new media organisations like Vice and HuffPo, the biggest news website in the UK (and globally) is BBC News. We’re very lucky this month to be hearing from Steve Herrmann, the editor of BBC News Online, and Jon Zilkha recently appointed to the senior management team at BBC News where he is responsible for 24/7 and Digital News. This session is a great opportunity to hear about the changing strategy at BBC News and also to get lots of tips on how to pitch stories to the website team. It will take place from 10-11.30am on Thursday February 26th at the IBT offices in Southwark. Invitations will go out in the next few days but places can be booked now via the members’ area of our website. If you’d like to follow our briefings on Twitter, we’ll be introducing a new hashtag for these events #ibtbriefing

The Future of News

The BBC’s Director of News and former Times editor, James Harding, has launched a new report called The Future of News, which looks at the way in which news consumption is changing. This is the first step in the BBC rethinking its role as a news provider. The report is a useful reminder that tv news is still the main source of news for most people in the UK – but its reach is significantly higher amongst older people than younger audiences (92% v 52%). Harding’s conclusion is that there is a growing information gap between older, richer, well informed audiences and poorer, younger, ethnic minority, less well informed audiences. The internet, Harding argues, is not keeping everyone informed – it is magnifying problems of information inequality, misinformation, polarization and disengagement. The report also notes that BBC News needs to ‘broaden the tone of what we do.’ This follows criticism – from IBT and others – that the range of stories and voices is narrowing.



The provision and consumption of online news

As part of the news review, the BBC asked independent consultants Mediatique, to analyse where a range of audiences go for their news consumption. If you want to understand the changing news landscape this is a useful report, rich in detail. It’s great that the BBC is making this publicly available. The report looks at where online audiences go to find their news and BBC News comes out top (47%), followed by Mail Online (14%); Sky News (12%); Guardian (9%); HuffPo (9%) and Daily Telegraph (6%). Smaller news sites like Vice and Buzzfeed are growing rapidly. BBC News is the most trusted news source with ITV News coming second. The report also reveals the growing  role played by Google, Twitter and Facebook as news gatekeepers. Asked how they discover news online, 45% said they go to known brands; 29% said they use search engines; 17% said they follow links posted on social media.



The future of the World Service

As part of its news review, the BBC is rethinking the role of the World Service. There’s growing concern that it is being outspent by CCTV and RT (Russia Today). In The Future of News, Harding says the role of the World Service is critical and ‘the BBC needs to decide whether there should be a strategy for growth or a managed marginalization.’ Harding is clear that he wants to see more resources spent on the World Service if it is to maintain its influence and global reach.


Embedding with aid agencies – editorial integrity and security risks

Later this month, the Frontline club is hosting a discussion which examines the dangers of journalists and aid agencies working too closely. Speakers include Siobhan Sinnerton from Channel 4 and Polly Markandya from MSF. One of the examples under discussion will be the recent Panorama Ebola Frontline which saw the BBC working very closely with MSF to gain access to an Ebola clinic. The event is at 7pm on Tuesday February 10th.



IBT annual dinner for CEOs

Given the success of last year’s annual dinner for CEOs, we are now making plans for this year’s. We’re delighted that Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director General, has accepted our invitation to speak at the dinner, which will take place in the Autumn. This is perfect timing for us, as the next BBC Charter will be under discussion by then, and we are keen to see the BBC’s commitment to ‘bringing the world to the UK’ (in the words of the present Charter) maintained and strengthened. IBT was instrumental in the inclusion of this as one of the BBC’s key purposes last time round.

Best wishes



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