Since the emergence of social media in the journalistic landscape, the BBC has sought to produce reporting more connected to its audience while retaining its authority as a public broadcaster in crisis reporting. Using empirical analysis of crisis news production at the BBC, this book shows that the emergence of social media at the BBC and the need to manage this kind of material led to a new media logic in which tech-savvy journalists take on a new centrality in the newsroom. In this changed context, the politico-economic and socio-cultural logic have led to a more connected newsroom involving this new breed of journalists and BBC audience. This examination of news production events shows that in the midst of transformations in journalistic practices and norms, including newsgathering, sourcing, distribution and impartiality, the BBC has reasserted its authority as a public broadcaster.


“This book offers an important analysis of the practical and ethical issues for a global broadcaster embracing social media. It brings to life the opportunities and dilemmas for a traditional news organisation adapting to the open, collaborative digital age.”

Richard Sambrook, Director, Centre for Journalism, Deputy Head of School, Cardiff School of Journalism, and Former Director, BBC Global News

“Valerie Belair-Gagnon’s work on the BBC offers the defining work on the world’s premiere public broadcast institution as it attempts to reckon with the rise of user generated content. The text offers a fascinating detailing of the tensions between the institution’s standards for accuracy and the new demands and perhaps uncertainty of verification for social media. Through intensive fieldwork, scholars and journalists alike should find an essential tale full of lessons from a formidable institution adapting to the social media age.” 

Nikki Usher Layser, George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, USA and author of Making News at The New York Times

“Valerie Belair-Gagnon has provided a ground-breaking analysis of the impact of social media on the practice of journalism. Her book’s examination of the BBC offers a compelling look at how a global leader in journalism is adapting to the age of connected citizens.”

John Pavlik, Professor, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University, USA



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