BBC launches new political website,
Democracy LivePropelled by the success of political sites such as TheyWorkForYou the BBC is launching its own portal, Democracy Live
Monday 2 November 2009
Just when politicians thought that they might get some time away from the public gaze, as the electorate grows weary of MPs' expenses, a new watchdog has been born. The BBC today launches a new online service, Democracy Live, which will enable the public to follow political debates more closely than ever before in the months leading up to the general election.
The site is believed to have cost just over £1m to launch and has been funded from the BBC's existing online budget. Eleven permanent members of staff will run the service.
Drawing on the success of political sites such as TheyWorkForYou, Democracy Live will provide a one-stop shop of political videos, with eight video streams to watch – including proceedings from Westminster and Strasbourg, as well as debates taking place in Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont.
Using search technology, users will also be able to find clips from its archive to keep tabs on the specific issues that interest them along with tracking the activities of particular politicians.
Democracy Live will have a "historic moments" section with clips of around 100 memorable political events from the past two decades, including Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech in 1990 and Robin Cook's 13 years later.
The service will provide a guide to political institutions, detailing the make-up of the various assemblies and explaining how the UK's political system works.
The BBC's main political blogs, with contributions from its political editor, Nick Robinson, the Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, and home editor, Mark Easton, will be featured in a comment section. This will also offer a forum for public figures, starting with an article by the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, about how to rebuild trust in parliament.
Pete Clifton, the BBC's head of editorial development for multimedia journalism, says the site has been in development for the best part of two years.
"The underlying thinking was that it was something the BBC was uniquely positioned to do, that as a public service provider we would want to be doing more than anyone else. It's right at the heart of what we should be doing, in presenting as much as we can of our democratic institutions and explaining how they all work."