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January 17, 2008

BBC planning local web sites based on geotagging

By Martin Stabe wirepost

The BBC’s controversial local television service could involve a network of 60 web sites that use geotagging technology to localise news and other content.

According to a report by Cardiff University’s Andrew Williams on the Online Journalism Blog, BBC Yorkshire’s Catherine Hearne showed journalists and academics at Leeds University’s Broadcast News and the Active Citizen Conference how the planned sites, which still require approval from the BBC Trust, could offer customisable ways of accessing local news, sport, travel, and weather coverage.

Update: More details of the BBC’s ultralocal online news plans have emerged today in a speech by BBC Controller of English Regions Andy Griffee.

The plans Griffee outlined sound a lot like the MyNewsNow sites originally suggested by Helen Boaden last summer.

According to Griffee, the new sites will promote “eDemocracy” and will allow users to research politicians and political parties via more interactive and informative means. This seems to support recent comments by BBC director general Mark Thompson, who recently praised sites that provide “direct access to information about your MP or representative: how they vote, what they stand for, how you can contact them”.

As Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust points out, this sounds a lot like the sites that have already been built by MySociety. Thompson appeared to suggest that the BBC would be looking to partner with organisations like MySociety who have done pioneering working in civic hacking.

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