BBC News & Sport Festival 2006

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So today is the last day of the BBC News and Sport Festival.

Yesterday I attended ‘Are we all reporters now?’ which looked at the role of citizen journalism and user generated content. The only real outcome was that journalists thought citizens couldn’t be journalists, and that now one really liked the phrase User Generated Content. Parts of the BBC, mainly Newsnight, and the interactive team, really get UCG, other parts of the organisation arn’t as up to speed on how and indeed why to use it.

The second thing I went to yesteday was JOhn Simpson interviewing Jack Straw. Here’s what Ariel (the BBC’s internal newspaper) had to say on the exchange

Jack Straw said that he hoped the ‘fractured relationship’ between the BBC and the government was improving, although he admitted there were still ‘high levels of suspicion on both sides’. John Simpson introduced the Foreign Secretary at the News Festival yesterday as someone who ‘has been a good friend to the BBC over the years’ but quipped that the minister was ‘among friends, but not entirely’.

Straw also suggested that the biggest mistake the BBC ever made was deciding to move political news from BH to TVC – a ‘monumental error’ which had led to politicians becoming more detached from broadcasters. ‘I used to go to Broadcasting House for Today – I can count on the fingers on one hand the number of times I’ve been here. ‘It’s dead easy to get here and impossible to get back’, he said.

And that’s with the luxury of a state owned jag! He should try it on the Central line.

This morning kicked off with News Interactive Editor and all round nice guy Pete Clifton giving his thoughts on blogs/wiki’s/podcasts/wotsit’s. He talked us through some of the new features and services news are planning to offer in the coming months, as well as explaining to some of the less tech savvy folk in the room what things like RSS are.

The second panel talk I went to this after lunch was ‘Gloating American Haters?’ which saw Matt Frei (who reminded my a lot of Orson Wells), Beth Poisson (newly appointed to US Embassy here in the UK, not quite CJ Craig) and Charles Glass all giving their thinking on does the BBC have an anti-American, or more specifically, anti-Bush stance? Topics we touched upon were Hurricane Katrina coverage, religion, the Iraq war, race, and how the US media reports the UK (very badly it seems).

Finally I’ve just finished watching Sven Goran Eriksson in conversation with John Motson, very interesting, but we’re not allowed to comment on what he said.

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