“The BBC stands up for quality,” British Broadcasting Company social media director Matthew Eltringham said. “We would rather be second than wrong.” Today, the BSP Journalism class made their way to White City to visit the biggest, oldest and most revered public broadcasting company in the world: the BBC. During our visit, we had to opportunity to chat with Mr. Eltringham who has worked at the BBC for 15 to 16 years and is very knowledgeable about writing effective “BBC journalism.” Providing us with insightful information about user generated content – or social media – Mr. Eltringham taught the class how to be good journalists and use social media efficiently. According to Eltringham, not only do journalists must have multimedia skills, they must be able to create a narrative, analyze material and provide content. With these abilities, journalists can communicate stories that their audience will appreciate. As director of social media for the BBC, Eltringham and his colleagues also use a great number of user-generated content (UGC) to get a firsthand on stories, as well as enhancing their material. Most of the UGC can come from social media sources such as Citizenside, Google, Linkedin and Storyful, but the BBC heavily rely on Facebook and Twitter because they are considered breaking news. Before acquiring permission to use the content and placing it on BBC website, journalists do a thorough check or screening of the information. Specifically, the journalists will get in touch with the creator of the contact and interrogate his or her knowledge of the material, as well as doing a forensic analysis of the content itself. Accuracy is a must and key to good journalism according to Eltringham. “Count to 10 before you tweet,” he said jokingly, referring to people’s quickness to communicate information rather than using judgement and brain. “The most important thing is journalists have to stand up for their stuff,” he said.
Our last trip for the day led us to The Daily Telegraph, a daily newspaper operation – international and national – printing Monday through Saturday, which also includes a Sunday edition – The Sunday Telegraph. Here we met with witty tour guide George Newkey-Burden who showed us the massive newsroom that makes up the Telegraph. Interestingly, the newspaper is divided into three groups: features, news and advertisement. From there, the newsroom is designed like a bicycle wheel so that employees can communicate and share information with one another, thereby making it an integrated newsroom. In this wheel, the editors sit facing their department – or spokes – while their backs face the Hub: a conference room used by the editors. According to Mr. Burden, the Telegraph prints over 800,000 copies a day. Having two printing times – 9:30 a.m. and one at night – the paper has what they call “news tasters”: journalists who pick the best news to be printed for the morning paper. “It’s like going to a market,” Burden said. Also, its circulation includes over 100 countries. One thing Mr. Burden had to make clear before I departure was that the Telegraph is based on integrity and trust. “It’s a newspaper you can trust,” he said. “It’s about all things journalism has to stand for.”