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Technology stories at the BBC with Zoe Kleinman

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In the hot seat:

Zoe Kleinman: Technology Journalist at the BBC



The BBC Online Tech Team:

  • Their focus is consumer mainstream; stories that have a broad appeal; a human angle; how technology is making our lives better and what can we learn from technology; societal impact on technology; “We are here to inform the public”
  • The team work from 8 – 6pm (not in shifts like the business team)
  • The aim is the file 4-5 stories a day.
  • 8.45am is the online team meeting where reps from each section discuss their stories
    • By 9.30/10am they have a strong idea of the stories they are going to write
  • No group email address.
  • Their coverage is on the companies that we interact with: Apple, Google, Facebook, Spotify & Instagram etc
  • And on the issues that impact us and society: Face recognition, games industry, smart phones, broadband, 5G, cyber, tech regulation, data protection etc.


Zoe’s Top Tips:

  • Ideally tries to spend a day week out of the office / planning / researching
    • Day visits need to be a ‘full day’ with multiple meetings / story ideas
    • Very interested in regional stories etc
  • Invitation to events; open to ideas but has to be engaging and valuable. Ie not keen on sitting at a conference hearing speakers. Has to be seriously worthwhile..
  • Gets hundreds of emails. Can’t read them all. Not keen on PRs following up..
  • Pitch before 8.45am or the day before for stories of the day
  • Otherwise pitch lunchtime / early afternoon
  • If pitching for TV, radio or something outside London – suggest 2 weeks in advance
  • Surveys are of little interest
  • Keen for spokespeople and short comments on breaking stories and themes
    • Always interested in more female ‘voices’


Shows:

  • Technology of Business – Ben Morris
    • Two features a week are written online for the Technology of Business section – appearing on a Tuesday and Friday.
  • TechTent: BBC World Service on Friday’s. Focus: The world of technology
    • Editor: Jat Gill and hosted by one of the team – often Rory Cellan-Jones, Jane Wakefield, Zoe Kleinman and Chris Foxx
    • 26 mins show. Always interested in spokespeople (pre-recorded interviews)
    • Tue/Wed planning starts.
  • BBC Click: is the BBC’s flagship TV technology programme on BBC News channel.
    • Different team and as TV think about strong pictures; also like a longer lead time.
    • They also like gadgets – hands-on access etc


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