BBC Reporter Supports Social Media

    June 21, 2007

Some people see a distinct gap between bloggers and “real” journalists, but Ben Hammersley, who works for the BBC, may change their minds over the next two weeks; Hammersley intends to do his job using social media tools and sites.

“In what is a first for the BBC, Hammersley will file to his personal blog, he will upload photos to Flickr, video to YouTube, post snippets of text to the microblogging site Twitter, bookmark research on the social bookmarking site and network with people through Facebook,” reports Graham Holliday of the Press Gazette.

What’s more, Hammersley will juggle those tasks while visiting four different cities (his first stop is Istanbul).  Still, it sounds as if the reporter has plenty of experience – “Hammersley worked on setting up the Guardian blogs including the Comment is Free site before taking on the role of multimedia reporter for the paper,” reports Holliday, and “[h]e has previously reported from Afghanistan for The Guardian using text, photos and video . . .”

Yet there’s one possible problem here, and you may have already guessed it: Twitter, YouTube, and the rest aren’t always well-suited to transmitting a coherent flow of information.  They’ll keep you up to date, but after viewing all of Hammersley’s posts and contributions at each site, I’ve still found it best to quote from a traditional, newspaper-style article.

It’s not fair to make judgments just yet, however, as the BBC’s experiment hasn’t quite kicked off.  We wish Hammersley – and social media – all the best in his endeavors.