Bad news day at bbc.co.uk

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 3 September 2004

Some stories are so big and so horrifying as they unfold that we go into "breaking news" mode on the bbc.co.uk homepage

Screenshot of the bbc.co.uk homepage on September 3rd 2004

Normally the image and the "promotion" slot are dedicated to marketing television and radio shows, content across bbc.co.uk, and to reflect events in the national calendar, like St. Georges Day or Christmas. However on days like today the promo space becomes the exclusive domain of the news agenda.

Screenshot of the bbc.co.uk homepage on September 3rd 2004

It is always quite difficult for us, because our entire homepage production and publishing process is geared around the gentle pre-populated trickle to the live servers of promotional material that has been scheduled well in advance, not the kind of rush to get the latest pictures and facts to the audience that the team at BBC News achieve on a daily basis.

Screenshot of the bbc.co.uk homepage on September 3rd 2004

This was the first time a big enough breaking news story had happened since I got involved with the technical delivery of the homepage - and I was very impressed with how the team around me coped. I have to say though that I find it very hard myself to actually concentrate on doing my job whilst surrounded by a constant stream of news coverage across several channels of this kind of story - I just do not know how journalists have the necessary detachment to file reports from scenes like this unrehearsed and straight to either camera or phone line.

2 Comments

it was a miserable day for news

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