The new team will be expected to experiment and 'develop new formats'

Credit: By Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The BBC is to build a NewsLabs team in order to pursue a "more innovative and more experimental" approach to journalism.

In an announcement to staff today, newly appointed managing editor James Harding explained that the project would amalgamate BBC News's existing work in this area, with a particular focus on data and visual journalism.

"We need to be more innovative and more experimental in how and where we look for stories and, equally, in how and where we display them," he said.

"It will be the place where we look to develop new formats, whether they are in radio, television or online."

Harding added that BBC Trending – a selection of stories trending on social media around the world – was a great example of how the BBC was innovating the story-making process.

Trushar Barot, assistant editor of the BBC UGC and social media hub was live-tweeting Harding's speech, as well as a the subsequent Q&A with the managing editor, during which time Harding was said to have explained that the NewsLabs team announced today "will be more editorially-driven", compared to an existing News Lab created in 2012.

Harding was also quoted by Barot as saying that the new venture will incorporate staff from "Future Media, Visual Journalism and Newsroom" teams.

During his speech, Harding praised the online team, with specific reference to the @BBCbreaking account, which recently passed 8 million followers.

But he also highlighted a need for the news outlet to do more in terms of pointing out the work of others to its readers.

"We need to have a far more open culture, where we surface much more third party and social content alongside our own journalism," he said. A nice example of this can be found on a handful of BBC local news sites, where a project called Local Live is being run, in the form of a liveblog of real-time content, including that published by external sources, including hyperlocals.

"When we talk about ‘our stories’, I hope that will mean not just the work of the 8,000 people who work for the BBC, but the information and ideas of the 300 million people who use it," Harding added.

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