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New frontiers in journalism

By Ben Hammersley
In Istanbul

Ben Hammersley
The layout of Ben's page
News is entering a new phase. TV, radio and the web no longer stand alone as separate channels, but are converging in a complex interplay of social media. Over the coming days, the BBC is offering a glimpse of how it could be delivered in the future.

You have to admit, much of what we do looks like magic.

From broadcasting live from an Afghan hillside, and delivering news almost as it breaks, to getting reporters and crew to the most remote, most dangerous, most important areas on the planet, all in time to send news home in time for tea.

It's not just magical. It's plentiful as well: there's never been so much reporting available. There has never been a time where so much information is available to those who want it.

Whether online, on television, or on the radio, news comes to you faster, deeper, and in more flavours than ever before.

Ben Hammersley
Ben's TV reports are carried on YouTube and on this website

But while there's more news available to you, you're much less likely to know how it was made. The days of newspapermen meeting someone in the pub, scribbling some notes on the back of a beer mat, then rolling into the office to type it up are long gone.

The modern journalist is a multi-media creature, feeding the beasts of television, radio and the web.

The demands on our time are much greater, the prospect of going down the pub in the middle of the day much less and the number of educated eyes looking at our work far beyond anything any media professional has ever had to deal with.

And as any conjuror will tell you, producing magic under so many eyes is incredibly hard if you want to keep your methods secret.

Behind the scenes

Many do want to preserve the mystique, but frankly, I think it's easier, and more productive in the end, to do what my maths teacher was always forlornly begging me to do, and show my working.

Richard Sambrook

It will be interesting and will break open the conventional mould of foreign correspondent
Richard Sambrook
BBC's Head of Global News

All of this is why I'm embarking on a reporting tour of Turkey, in advance of July's general elections, during which I'll be reporting not only on the usual BBC outlets - television, radio, and the ordinary news stories found here online - but also on YouTube, Flickr, Del.icio.us and Twitter.

I will be reporting the story, yes, as it's a complicated, richly nuanced and important one, but I'll also be reporting how we work: filing videos, pictures, and words, every night that look behind the scenes of the journey.

As Richard Sambrook, the BBC's Head of Global News, says: "We hope it will open a window on how international reporting is carried out. It won't be perfect, but it will be interesting and will break open the conventional mould of foreign correspondent."


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