Phillippa Guillou, Broadcast Journalist at BBC Minute tells us about the programme and gives a few tips for anyone wanting to try this model of doing news.

BBC Minute was launched globally on 1 April 2015 and the idea was to try and reach a new kind of audience. The 1-minute news bulletin is aimed at digitally connected audiences. It is updated every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and summarises the latest international news headlines and trending topics.

“The world is changing, we are not living in the same world that older generations did anymore and people do not consume news in the same way they did back then, with the rise of the internet, social media. With things like Twitter, news is accessible whenever you want it. News is more easily and widely accessible and its a lot more fast-paced. So BBC Minute was invented to try and fit in that change,”explains Guillou.

Picture: BBCMinute Facebook Page

“The bulletin is about what do you need to know in a minute regarding what’s happening around the world. If we had to tell you five things that are happening in the world right now what would they be? The goal is to reach people on the minute.”

The broadcast journalists further added that, “We are not saying to our audience you only need these stories in your life and you will know about everything, what we are saying is we can tell you the headlines of today. So we are giving them a nugget of information and influencing them to research for themselves.”

The leading story on the bulletin is often a story that is trending on social media, even if its not a hard news story. She says it is difficult sometimes because in some cases you have got many news items trending on social media around the world. To pick stories to put on the bulletin BBC Minute uses some tools and software programmes that basically help them look at what is trending, for example, they can use the tools to click on South Africa and find out what people in South Africa are talking about.

“We look at all types of news — hard news, sport, tech, sport, lifestyle etc. We try to have fun as well, quirky funny stories that will make people smile.”

The bulletin goes out in a lot of stations in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. “We really are starting to see that while we started with an African focus we have realised that the other parts of the world are interested in joining BBC Minute,” she says.

Commenting on their audience reach, Guillou says it is difficult to collect data on the bulletin’s reach as it is beamed on different commercial radio stations around the world and also on Alexa, Spotify. However, she mentions that they do have some statistics that show that from four of their partner stations there are about 5 million people listening to the podcast.

To ensure that news in every part of the world is covered BBC Minute has journalists in some of the countries where the bulletin is broadcasted.


Global news in 60 seconds! Here’s how BBC Minute does it. Five tips to reach a young audience from BBC Minute

  • Solutions: The world is changing and newsrooms should keep up with the way people consume news.
  • Keep it short, sharp and personal: This is about being punchy, quick, and being fun, and sounding like you are having a good conversation rather than you just “printing” the news, have a chat with your audience even if its one way. This is the most important one of these points because it makes BBC Minute so distinct.
  • Inspire and interact: Inspire your audience to go and find out more information about the news and interact with the audience, ask them questions about the news, include them in your news.
  • Be like your audience: This is about the team responsible for the news, make sure it reflects the audience. BBC Minute has a young team of journalists, people from all over the world
  • Attitude and tone: Watch your presenting style because if you want to get young audience your tone and attitude must be relaxed also consider including sound effects in your bulletin.

Guillou says newsrooms across the world could learn from BBC Minute and they should think about how they write and read the news as times have changed. “Think about is it being accessible to young people, the language you are using — Is it language and words you can use in a conversation? We have to change the language we use and stop using stereotypical journalistic words that won’t mean anything to our audience,” she said.

BBC Minute is available for download on iTunes and will also be distributed via partnerships with radio music stations around the world, particularly those aimed at younger listeners.



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