15 April 2015 Last updated at 13:13

New design for Newsbeat responsive site

Newsbeat site

Today we have launched the new Newsbeat responsive site - a brand new site that cleverly adapts to the screens and devices you're using. It's the first step in our drive to make Newsbeat far more social and mobile focused.

We know you are viewing a great chunk of news online, and over the last year we've made huge strides in improving our digital offering. Ten million people listen to us each week on Radio 1/1Xtra and we now reach around nine million people a week online. We hope the launch of our new-look site will see more of you come to Newsbeat wherever you are, whenever you want to.

Social media will be the main route to stories, with prominent share tools, headlines "written to share" and a great "click-out" of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp experience. It's also the first BBC news site to embed topical images, videos and tweets from across the internet - something we're really excited about.

So what's new?

Newsbeat is aimed at 16-24 year olds and our online offering will focus on three main areas

  • deliver the best of our original journalism
  • entertainment news
  • stories we think you really care about

Our relationship with you is key - you tell us what stories you want us to cover, and we listen to you. Understandably the site will reflect a lot of General Election coverage over the next few weeks - and the issues we will look at are the ones you've told us you care about the most. Our team of politics reporters will be using the site to explain complex election stories clearly and comprehensively.

We're also launching Newsbeat on Snapchat to give followers the inside track on what happens when Radio 1 listeners, politicians and celebrities have a go at BallotBots - so keep an eye out for our leader board, we think it could get quite competitive.

Loving the video

We won't just be writing text articles. Video is key. We know you are increasingly watching videos on your mobiles and tablets and longer films at home later in the day. We are beginning to make some fantastic films and short-form documentaries and I hope you check them out on our new site as well as our YouTube channel. From the troll being confronted by a trolling victim, to "one night in Magaluf" and some really creative election explainers, there really is something for everyone.

Mobile first

The site is designed for use on your mobile - as we know this is the device you use most to watch, listen and read news - however being responsive, it also works well on computers and laptops. In the coming months we'll also be launching our first-ever mobile app..

We've tested it extensively on a wide variety of the most popular smartphones sold in the UK over the past five years. We have also tested the site extensively to ensure that it is compatible with the most popular versions of the Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari web browsers currently used in the UK. Unfortunately, due to the substantial decrease in use over the past two years, we have taken the difficult decision to drop support for old versions of Internet Explorer - so please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari to enjoy the best experience of the Newsbeat website.

Just the beginning

The launch of the new Newsbeat responsive site is just the start of our plans to bring you the news that matters to you whenever you want it - on the devices you're using. We're looking forward to hearing what you think - and will be blogging about changes and improvements to the site, as well as the launch of new apps in the coming months. It's set to be an exciting time in Newsbeat.


Latest update to social media guidance for BBC News Group staff

WhatsApp and Facebook app icons

Today, updated guidance to help us get the most out of social media is being distributed to staff in BBC News, and published online. A near-identical version of the same guidance is being distributed for staff in BBC Radio.

We last published this guidance back in 2011, since when a lot has changed. There has been a proliferation of new social media platforms - for example, Twitter's six-second video-sharing platform Vine, and chat apps like WhatsApp. There has been an ever-increasing use in BBC News output of content originally shared on social media by unofficial sources (also known as eyewitness media, or user-generated content).

Meanwhile, BBC News reaches an estimated 30 million people every week on Facebook alone, we're the most shared news provider on Twitter, and we've been trying out new services in places like Instagram.

However, much has stayed the same since 2011 - not least the BBC's values of accuracy, trust and fairness.

Which is why the fundamentals of our social media guidance remain unchanged. As our guidance puts it: "A useful summary has always been and remains: 'Don't do anything stupid'".

Start Quote

The guidance is a reflection of the fact social media is now just part of what we do”

End Quote

Other fundamentals remain as before, including not saying anything that may compromise our impartiality, not sounding off about things "in an openly partisan way", and not revealing confidential BBC information.

So what's new?

The guidance now has a specific section on user-generated content, covering - for example - how we should treat those sharing content with us. The guidance also includes a section about breaking news, previously published separately in 2012.

Other additions include reminders about the safety implications of sharing location data, about the impression given by those we follow or befriend on social networks, and about the impact of spreading unconfirmed rumours, especially in breaking news situations.

Finally, we've tweaked the guidance aimed at those we designate as using social media "officially" to make clear they don't have to only talk about their work (in fact we encourage the opposite).

Overall, the guidance is a reflection of the fact social media is now just part of what we do, albeit a critical part, allowing us to talk to people, involve them in our output, and distribute or bring them to our content.

But it's a space that moves at an incredible rate, and we want to make sure the guidance we have continues to allow us to get the most out of it.


BBC News website changes for Africa coverage

screen grab of page

Starting today, we're expanding our coverage of Africa on the BBC News website.

The most immediate change you will see is a new Africa Live Page which will help showcase the wealth of content that the BBC already produces from and about Africa.

You can find the page, which will run during the day from Monday to Friday, at bbcafrica.com

If you are in Africa, you will also see a link on the BBC's homepage at bbc.com

We're launching the live page because we think it's the best way to give readers immediate and easy access to the BBC's unrivalled coverage of Africa, country by country and issue by issue.

The BBC has more than 150 staff in Africa and London reporting on African news. We are present in more than 40 countries and, via the BBC World Service, we broadcast and report in eight languages across Africa. BBC programmes like Focus on Africa and Newsday are listened to and watched by millions of people.

The new live page will bring together the best of all this content into a constantly-updating stream of the very latest news from across Africa.

We hope it will also highlight the huge range of our coverage. So we will not just be bringing you stories about politics and business and sport, but also technology, health, education, entertainment - daily snapshots of life which give readers real insights into the huge changes sweeping across Africa.

In the coming months, we'll be introducing more new ideas to add to our coverage.

We look forward to hearing what you think of the changes.


Social media push for Six O'Clock News

Six O'Clock News website

The Six O' Clock News on Radio 4 has been on air for almost as long as the BBC itself.

It was first broadcast on the National Programme on August 31st, 1931, and has been a mainstay of the schedule ever since. You can hear our coverage of some of the biggest events in those years - from Germany's invasion of Poland to Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space.

We like to think that the programme is (to borrow a phrase from the New York Times) all the news you need to hear - a half hour distillation of day's most important stories from the UK and around the world - and the context which explains why they matter. While more than three million Radio 4 listeners agree, we're conscious that we could do more to promote our material.

Admittedly we may be a bit late to this party, but we are determined to find new audiences for our news on social media. So, 84 years on from the first bulletin, we are launching a campaign to promote the Six O' Clock News.

As well launching a podcast of the programme we'll be circulating our audio using the hashtag #Radio4Six and we'll be putting some of our most compelling material on our website.

In the meantime you can see what some of our leading contributors think about the programme here.

Thanks for listening.


What's changing on the BBC News website?

BBC News website health page

As you may have spotted if you are reading this on a desktop computer, BBC News Online is looking a bit different.

Our new "responsive" design, which we've just launched for desktop computer, aims to make sure the site looks great whichever device or screen size you are on - mobile, tablet or desktop.

Developed by the BBC Future Media News Product team, the new version is based on user testing and lots of feedback, and builds on the site already in use for mobile and tablet.

It's designed as an evolution of what's gone before, rather than a radical rethink, and it will make it easier for us to add further improvements and features in future.

Niko Vijayaratnam, our Senior Product Manager leading the work, explains more here and outlines the main changes you'll see.

We hope you'll enjoy using the new site - let us know what you think, by leaving comments and questions on his blog post, or in the survey here.


BBC News website goes responsive

Grab of BBC News Online front page

BBC News Online will look a bit different from next week.

The new "responsive" version (which we previewed and wrote about here and then here ) will be what you see when you come to the desktop website, from Monday onwards.

It brings the responsive design we've had for a while on mobile and tablet to the desktop site, and it's designed to look great whichever device you are using. It's intended to be an evolution of what's gone before, rather than a radical rethink, and it will make it easier for us to add further improvements and features in future.

Developed by the BBC Future Media News Product team, the new version is based on user testing and lots of feedback. Niko Vijayaratnam, our Senior Product Manager leading the work, explains more here and outlines the main changes you'll see.

We hope you'll enjoy using the new site - let us know what you think, by leaving comments and questions on his blog post, or in the survey here.


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