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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Diversity on TV: a discussion with Lenny Henry

Following the BBC's commitment to new diversity targets, we publish the footage of a discussion about diversity on TV with Lenny Henry, Pat Younge, Dawn Foster and Bev Skeggs. 

Tomorrow’s BBC will be fitted to your personality

The BBC is doing cutting-edge research into Visual Perceptive Media, virtual reality and facial coding technologies. But do we want our shows to be tailored to our age, gender, and tastes? And what happens to all that data?

Channel 4: the case for privatisation

Privatisation may be the best way to strengthen Channel 4's public service remit.

Under construction: the BBC’s relationship with freelancers

In order to innovate in the new media environment the BBC must build a new system for working with freelancers.  

The BBC in the brave new China

After the box office success of BBC drama Sherlock, a look at who is accessing the BBC in China, and why.

5 ideas for hacking television

The creator of the Capital City Project lays out five principles that can be used to radically democratise television.

The growing gap between private and public in European broadcasting

We’re told the BBC is ‘too big’. Yet Britain is part of a Europe-wide trend where funding for public service is shrinking, while commercial revenue grows.


An imaginary radio play about a sentient BBC tells us a lot about our fears.

The BBC as market shaper and creator

Accusations that the BBC is ‘crowding out’ the broadcasting market are flawed. We need a new framework to assess its contribution to industry and society within the UK and abroad.

It's more complicated than you think

The digital world is more complicated than is understood by those holding our public institutions to account. In the somewhat arcane context of the Information and Record Management Society 2013 conference, Tony Ageh gave a sense of what is really at stake in the BBC's (and our) digital future.

The licence fee is a fetter on the BBC

The creative and journalistic ambitions of the BBC are held back by its dogmatic commitment to an ineffective and unethical funding mechanism. A subscription service would release creative energy and allow the BBC to fulfil its commitment to public service broadcasting all the better.

A tale of two charters: the BBC and the commons

The BBC’s long history of innovation and influence position it as a prime conduit through which to forward the idea of a ‘digital commons’ within the British media: a site in which the contradictions, relations and values of public life may be freely discussed

From live output to living output - Entwistle points to a new digital revolution

New BBC Director-General George Entwistle's first speech echoes one of the missions set out for him on ourBeeb earlier this summer: to "create genuinely digital content for the first time"

What can the impassioned US political drama 'The Newsroom' tell us about the BBC's exaggerated commitment to impartiality in broadcasting?

US drama ‘The Newsroom’ demonstrates a bold attempt to meld romantic idealism with a cogent critique of the American far-right. If George Entwistle is to fulfill his aspirations and bolster BBC programming, the remit of ‘impartiality’ must be reformulated to allow the expression of positive liberty.

'Fight, Fight, Fight': the BBC needs to stand up to its critics in the media and in government

At its best, television is "an intimate connection" between programme-makers and viewers, argues Armando Iannucci in the annual BAFTA Television Lecture, and to get back to its best, the BBC must be brave, aggressive, and dare to fail

ourBeeb podcast 3: Richard Eyre on "the most important cultural institution in Britain"

Richard Eyre joins ourBeeb for a fascinating discussion of the BBC's unique role in British culture.

Canon fodder: how the BBC can get beyond the Bard and define the future of fiction

When the BBC fixates on a narrow literary canon, and presents classic novels in straightforward adaptations, it wastes its own potential. Why not follow up Radio 4's extraordinary and unusual 'Bloomsday' celebration to use fiction as a creative springboard to a radical new kind of broadcasting?

The BBC and the North

With the movement of key resources to MediaCityUK in Salford, the BBC looks to be expanding its frontiers of national representation. But as programming oscillates between depoliticised nostalgia and an admiring celebration of ‘northern’ authenticity, this shift has done little to combat the institution’s continued southern bias.

Radio 3 - why it matters, and why it shouldn't dumb down classical music

The BBC is happy to present classical music as light-weight reality TV - it's vital that the unique mission and role of Radio 3 shouldn't slip down the same route.

Regenerating Britain's local media: can public service broadcasting come to the rescue?

With local news services of all kinds in steady decline, and democracy under threat as a result, can the BBC step in to the breach?

Women scientists are from Venus; the BBC is from Mars

Women are majorly underrepresented on BBC science programming - except on the recent Venus transit documentary. 

The Olympics, the BBC, and the national question

The BBC Olympic coverage was frequently less than impartial in its attitude towards Team GB. But what does it mean to be British in the context of the Games?

After the Olympic feast: can BBC Sport really return to a diet of football, football and more football?

For two weeks, the BBC has served up a glorious all-you-can-eat buffet of sports. Yet despite a wave of enthusiasm, the Beeb have admitted that there is no plan to increase minority sports coverage. So is that the last we will see of canoeists, gymnasts and cyclists for the next four years?

ourBeeb podcast 1: Claire Enders, Britain's leading media analyst

The first audio highlights of an ourBeeb discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the BBC, featuring the CEO of Enders Analysis.

Gastropub Britain: the neoliberal agenda of BBC food programming

Culinary coverage on the BBC encourages us all to consume 'Great British' food and take part in the 'GastrOlympics'. But how do these seemingly innocuous programmes reflect the BBC's wider relationship to the forces of state and capital? 

BBC Olympics coverage: what are your thoughts?

The BBC's coverage of the Olympic Games has been met with mixed reviews, from effusive praise of Clare Balding to accusations of a sense of forced jingoism. How do you feel about it? 

The BBC and the future of broadcasting: special report from Enders Analysis

The first report from a scintillating ourBeeb discussion with Claire Enders, Britain's leading media analyst, finds the BBC at a digital crossroads, but holding up remarkably well.

Why are there so few women on BBC panel shows?

Programmes like Mock the Week are a great platform for stand-up comedians, and yet fewer than one in ten of the guests are female. Why do the likes of Caitlin Moran and Grace Dent feel compelled to turn down BBC panel shows?

How much did the BBC spend on the Hackney Weekend - and why won’t they tell us?

Should the BBC's mission to inform, educate and entertain incorporate hosting free music festivals for 100,000 people? Last month's Hackney Weekend was generally deemed a big success, but why aren't we allowed to know how much it cost, when we paid for it?

Cricket, Empire and the BBC

Despite the sale of televised England home-matches from the BBC to commercial broadcasting, cricket remains central to collective imaginings of 'Englishness'. Recent attempts to situate the sport within the history of empire reveal much about the BBC's continuing ties to the ideology of state-led imperialism.  

BBC Access: a 'true creative dialogue'?

The BBC openly calls for 'user-generated content' - but is this a genuine request for participation from people outside the institution? Tony Dowmunt suggests a revival of the concept of access.

Alone, but not alone: how Twitter, Dimble-dancing and the second screen revolution have transformed TV viewing

The digital revolution threatened to make TV viewing an isolated and solitary experience, but now thanks to Twitter and events like the BBC Question Time Watchalong, it's becoming a social activity again, in an entirely new way

Breaking the chains of linear programming: an open letter to the future DG

In order to satisfy its commitment to technological innovation, the BBC needs to place greater emphasis on experiments with interactive programming. Recognising this is not a case of smoke and mirrors but imperative to representing the public interest. 

It's not just cricket...

The advent of digital technology and the increasing dominance of commercial channels has stripped the BBC of its monopoly on sports coverage. With a summer of high-profile competitions upon us, the BBC have to up their game or risk losing out. 

From 'special interest' to public interest: minority programming and the BBC’s democratic mandate

One of the BBC's most lauded strengths is its ability to tailor programming for its audiences' special interests. The future DG should attempt to harness the ethos of this diverse and high quality output with a view to rebuilding the institution's democratic vision. 

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