Not in sync

Chris Riley builds a neat little page that compares, side-by-side, what the BBC thinks we should care about vs. what we actually care about — that is, the BBC’s home-page placement against the most popular stories and subjects. Now I know that some will warn that we shouldn’t make news just a matter of ratings. I hear that all the time: Then the news would be overrun by tawdry celebrity gossip. Well, it is already. And note that the stop story over the last two weeks on both sides of the equation is Iraq, not Tomkat. That’s No. 2.

  • We need to be careful that the measure we use for readers’ top stories is valid. I am not sure “most clicked” is that measure. Does anyone know whether people actually read the story they click on in any robust way? My sense of it is that bored readers/users are clicking all over sites but perhaps grazing rather than reading. Clicking on a story does not necessarily mean you think it is you’re top choice. I’m all for giving readers/users what they want and what they need. However, we need to make sure we interpret their “wants” and measure their interest in stories in an honest way. We have experimented with this in Madison and we still are not sure we have it right. Ellen

  • Aaron

    Chris’s page, while an interesting concept, is fundamentally flawed because it relies on the RSS feeds, which aren’t organised in the same way as the main index.

    For example – right now this story – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6181688.stm – is claimed to be something we’re reading even though the BBC doesn’t want us to. When in truth, it just doesn’t appear in the RSS feed, because it’s only promoted in the context of the top story, not as a new story in its own right.

  • It’s pretty easy to show disharmony when you’re so careless about how you categorize stories. ‘Spy’ and ‘Russian spy’ are classed as different subjects, and since they appear in ‘what we actually read’ the BBC must be doubly bad in missing it. Same with ‘radiation’, ‘radiation tests’ and ‘radioactive matter’. Same with ‘cruise holmes’ and ‘tom and katie’.

    This is more made-up fake news. Can we stop with this now please.

  • “The new ‘Most Popular Now’ features reveal which stories people are reading and e-mailing to their friends, …”

    Further note, any sort of most-emailed is not a good measure, because people won’t necessarily email their friends the big news story which has been covered to death, but rather the small quirk they think the friends may not have seen.

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  • Does this really do what it says on the packet? The BBC has two prime news front pages, UK and international, so even if “what the BBC wants you to read” is a valid concept the methodology is flawed.

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  • It is interesting finding BBC Touch popping up in all manner of blogs and websites! It was a pretty quick idea in terms of coming up with it and executing it. I didn’t put a great deal of thought into it, and was just hoping to see if the touch value was of any real value or not. The response and discussion generated has been far more than I would have anticipated. Many people make very good points about the source RSS data I use, and that fact people are just clicking on stories, not reading them etc. But then others (within the BBC) have supported it, and said whilst not a perfect execution it is certainly an idea to be pursued with more meaningful source data.

    So what am I saying? Thanks for highlighting it, and discussing it – its great to see my quick idea being discussed in this way!