The BBC News website was silly enough to ask my opinion of their site earlier today. I couldn’t let that opportunity go, so filled in the survey, including the following two questions:
A. It is relatively unbiased and it is ad-free. I trust its intentions if not its facts.
The RSS feeds. I find a local one useful.
A. – It’s trying to be a magazine as well as a news site. Like BBC Breakfast, it can’t effectively do both. As a non-profit site, it can be different and deliver quality and untainted news, if it wants.
– Much of the journalism seems lazy. I don’t believe facts are adequately checked; too much reliance is still placed on official hand-outs or from other news agencies: I believe the BBC has loads of local and international correspondents, but I don’t believe these are used efficiently; obvious questions are often neglected in stories.
– Much of the editing is similarly lazy, with obvious typos and grammar errors incredibly common. Although I appreciate the BBC wants to get news out fast, few of its articles are so long that they couldn’t be read at least once over, perhaps by an editor.
– The new layout is awful. I could always see the headlines on one page with no scrolling before. Now I am bombarded by the big story and have to scroll down all the time. I’m happy with a list of top stories without you having to pick the top one for me to the exclusion of the others. The top now has so many menus and buttons that it is effectively noise and the design of the masthead just looks like it hasn’t rendered properly. More concretely, the most watched/listened bit doesn’t fit on my Firefox and cover up the most shared item, which looks somewhat naff.
– I don’t generally want to watch video, so the media players starting all the time slow down page loads and lead me to content I can’t (at work) or don’t want to access.
For the first time in about ten years, I am looking round for another news site.
It’s probably rushed, ill thought out and not all based on facts, but I’m sure they’re used to that. I’ll admit that I corrected one major typo above which didn’t make sense.