I have to hand it to Sky News – suddenly, out of the blue, they’re making some interesting – albeit still a bit rough – moves to improve their much neglected website. Perhaps most interesting of all is their Green Britain initiative:
Starting on Monday, January 8, Sky News will spend a week creating a snapshot of climate change in the UK. We’ll have a series of special reports, exclusive interviews, and lots of practical advice on how you can make a difference. And you can help us! We want your videos and photos to add to the big picture!
OK… so far so good. So what can we expect? Well, judging by the fact that there’s an internal-only link (to ‘http://cma/’) on the project’s only page, not a huge amount. (Frankly that’s unforgivable on a page receiving regular on-air promotion, and a spot in the primary navigation. Robert Nisbet’s clip is actually here – and I don’t think the camera crews need fear for their jobs just yet.)
But there is the promise of a ‘special climate change map’, which – one suspects – will follow the (rather clunky) example set in their Ipswich murder coverage. Users willing and able to generate content are invited to submit their masterpieces by email – oops, not very sysadmin-friendly.
Clearly this isn’t to be the first example of BSkyB’s cosy new relationship with Google, which promises:
a multi-platform User Generated Video (UGV) portal powered by the first global deployment of Google’s syndicated video content tools. The site will allow users to edit, upload and share their own video content, including the facility to upload and download from a mobile phone.
Actually, as mentioned here previously, I reckon Sky could be extremely well-placed to surf the wave of user-generated material, arguably better than the Beeb. At the very least, this Green Britain project should be a useful learning experience along that road. But I’m intrigued to see just how much decent material they actually receive. It’s no effort to knock a blog together… but editing rough video footage into something watchable is another story.