10 December 2004
Tackling the BBC

I think the BBC is the worst organisation on the planet.  Trashy, trivial, dull, pompous, ignorant, smug, expensive and, oh yeah, lest we forget, biased.  All of which would be just fine if wasn’t for the fact that it also reaches into millions of people’s living rooms each day.

So, with the net we finally have the chance to have a go at it.  It is not as if we haven’t tried.  Along with a few others I set up Biased BBC.  Now, with over 1,000 hits a day it would be difficult to describe B-BBC as a failure but I feel it is.  It concentrates too much on web-based rather than broadcast content and too much on certain, specific topics ie Iraq and Israel and when it does cover broadcast content it rarely covers anything I have actually watched.

There are two problems.  The first is that with broadcast content there is nothing to link to.  There’s no transcript, or if there is, it’s hard to find or comes out far too late.  The second is that the BBC’s output is vast.  To comprehensively criticise its coverage would probably take an army of 100s, all regularly writing.  In other words far more than a group blog could comfortably manage.

Here’s a possible solution:

  1. New blog
  2. New entry for every BBC programme
  3. New entry for every item on a BBC news programme
  4. Invite readers to comment/send trackbacks

First problem: every programme?  Even Changing Rooms?  Could clog the blog and there’s also the question of keeping it going.  Somehow it has to be cut down.  Just news and current affairs?  What about documentaries?  What about Top Gear?

Every news item?  Even sport?  Well, you just never know where and when the trashiness is going to raise its ugly head.  And here there are even greater problems in keeping it up to date.  It probably requires a team.  For a one man operation it would really restrict you to those programmes you know in advance you are going to watch live.  And then there is the question of keeping readers informed as to what programmes you are going to cover.  But I think I have the answer to that.  EE has the facility to make posts sticky ie they stay at the top of the page.  That could be a good way of advertising things.

It occurs to me that it doesn’t have to be covered live or, rather, in real time.  But if the head blogger is going to write up a list of items then he has to tell people when he’s going to do it.  Obviously, real time is best.

And will people comment and trackback?  Now, there’s a question.  It is essential that they do.  Monitoring even one BBC programme is, I believe, beyond the capabilities of one person.  And there’s no way you can assemble the team in advance - you don’t know what is going to come up.  But getting people to give feedback depends on things like critical mass and persistence.  But nothing ventured nothing gained, as they say.

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