Hat tip to Robin Hamman for highlighting some particularly pertinent parts of Robert Peston’s Edinburgh TV Festival speech that had passed this (un)observer by.
Perhaps it was the BBC’s business man’s bust up with Murdoch junior that was the distraction but Peston’s speech is well worth another read, especially for his take on blogging, and being in competition with the press over here and with the plethora of outlets overseas.
Peston’s point that his blog enables the BBC to “own a story” is particularly interesting and it is the one big lesson all media, but especially broadcasters, need to heed.
The newsroom notion still persists that you should save your best lines until transmission.
In truth, by getting the story out early it not only becomes your story but readers, viewers and users help knock it into shape, help spread the word, and are a more-than-committed audience come TX. As usual, new media doesn’t cannibalise your market, it enhances it.
And, no, I never knew that Peston’s blog started life as an internal email for editors and staff.
Anyway, here are some key extracts from the speech:
Blogging for the BBC
For me, the blog is at the core of everything I do, it is the bedrock of my output. The discipline of doing it shapes my thoughts. It disseminates to a wider world the stories and themes that I think matter. But it also spreads the word within the BBC – which is no coincidence, because it started life as an internal email for editors and staff. It gives me unlimited space to publish the kind of detail on an important story that I can’t get into a three minute two-way on Today or a two-minutes-forty-seconds package on the Ten O’Clock News.
On ‘owning’ the story
Most important of all, the blog allows me and the BBC to own a big story and create a community of interested people around it. Sharing information – some of it hugely important, some of it less so – with a big and interested audience delivers that ownership and creates that committed community.
On the competition
Now because of my own indifference to how I communicate a story, whether by video, audio or in writing, I regard the competition as the Telegraph, the Times, the FT, and so on, just as much Sky and ITN. And what’s more for much of my output the competition is not just from UK-based organisations with UK audiences. The Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post are very much direct rivals.
Also, it is increasingly clear that much of the audience doesn’t care whether they receive their information via the blog, some other internet channel, the TV, newspapers or radio.