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BBC News is a division of the BBC, or British Broadcasting Corp., the world’s largest media organization and oldest national public broadcaster. The BBC is funded largely by revenue from British television licenses.
BBC News has one of the most widespread newsgathering operations in the world and has been called one of its best, as well. (It is sometimes known by the affectionate nickname “The Beeb.”) It has developed a reputation particularly for its foreign reporting.
Traditionally, the BBC has distributed news primarily over radio and television, though its website, launched in 1997, is the largest news site in the United Kingdom. The BBC also launched a U.S. news site in 2010.
The BBC has been a pioneer among mainstream media outlets in several digital-news concepts, including citizen journalism and user-generated content, on-demand video players, topic pages, open copyright licensing, and open-source software integration.
The BBC has been criticized for being reluctant to link to other sites, but it has since made aggregating and linking a priority. The broadcaster issued new linking guidelines in September 2010, aiming to double its number of outbound links by 2013. The BBC has also been cautious about using social media, though BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks urged the organization’s journalists to embrace social media in early 2010. In 2012, it issued social media guidelines urging its journalists to file breaking news to its internal system at the same time as or before they posted it in Twitter.
In late 2011, the BBC announced that it would redesign its website to make it more easily navigable for touch-screen browsers.
The BBC has responded to those concerns by periodically cutting back on its media offerings. In 2004, the BBC shut down some of its Internet operations (a move that was criticized by one of its rivals, The Guardian). In 2008, the BBC canceled plans to develop a network of local news sites out of concern for private local news organizations.
In 2010, the BBC revealed plans to cut its online budget by a quarter and web pages by half as part of an upcoming overhaul of its website. In January 2011, the BBC cut 360 staff members as part of that reduction.
The BBC announced in February 2010 that it would begin developing apps for the iPhone and other mobile devices, though U.K. newspaper publishers protested that the expansion hindered their ability to compete in mobile markets. The apps were approved and released in July 2010. By June 2011, the BBC reported that 10 million of its apps had been downloaded worldwide.
In late 2012, two parallel sexual abuse scandals led to the resignation of the BBC’s director general, George Entwistle, and leaves of absences by its top two news executives. In the first, an investigation by the BBC News program Newsnight into the BBC’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against former BBC host Jimmy Savile was dropped. In the second, about a month after the Savile scandal erupted, Newsnight falsely accused a former British politician of sexual abuse.
The BBC reached a settlement with the politician, and it also faced numerous lawsuits in the Savile case. The British communication regulator Ofcom also opened an investigation into Newsnight in the wake of the scandals.
Twitter is a social network and microblogging platform. The service is built on 140-character messages called tweets, which live on the web and can be read by anyone, although some users opt to make their accounts private. Twitter also allows users to “follow,” or subscribe to, other users’ tweets and — through replies to and…