An idea was posted on the BBC Backstage Idea Store asking whether it was possible to search for stories that happened around the posters house – basically to get as local as possible.
Sometimes I would like to find news that is happening in a certain area. This area might be quite small and I might be less interested in how recent the news is.
I may for example want to find all news that happened near my house in the last year.
The original author suggested a few solutions to the problem – these including providing a location based search, making sure location data is available within the news feeds and metadata and creating an algorithm to search through the content on pages to look for place names and adding location data where necessary.
But there may be a solution in the offering from the BBC in the not to distant future – and it will come in the form of an enhance (albeit original video free) BBC Local.
As BBC Local moves into the News & Sport CPS and towards the new look service I think you’ll be able to do something along these lines from within your BBC Local site.
Mapping will probably play a fairly big part of these sites as they develop (without original video) over the next year or two.
Expect to see an interactive map of the region the site covers (so for example Bristol) with wide reaching stories created by the Bristol team (as well as TV/radio teams for the area).
Then as you zoom further in you’ll be able to see more locally relevant stories – eventually down as far as your own street – although I doubt they’ll be many at that level from the BBC.
Obviously I don’t know for certain this is what will happen – it is what I’d like to see happen but I’m also not convinced BBC Local content gets local enough to make it worthwhile.
Ideally local would go down to the street level – in fact it would go down to house level – but life isn’t ideal and the BBC Local content is a long way from being THAT local.
You might get the odd story you can tie to the odd street – but if you looked at a full detailed map of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire – the number of pins would still be pretty sparse – even after nearly a decade of being am active site.
Maybe if a partnership agreement could be struck between the BBC and local newspapers you’d get the level of localness you’re looking for.
The BBC has the big regional stuff, local newspapers cover a town and then if you pulled in parish newsletters (giving them a blog or a way of publishing online and encouraged residents associations to blog as well – you could create a fully detailed map with a mass of truly local content.
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