Proof Of Concept – The New Listener


[U]sing only a simple website and Twitter feed, this site appears to have clearly shown that valid projects can be conducted using broadcast interviews, and that there is a significant audience for the text output. Audio and video output is becoming increasingly prevalent, but its current disadvantage is that the information cannot easily be fully indexed by search engines. In this respect, text is paramount. Google loves text.

This particular project set out to examine broadcast output from BBC local radio, with a view to quantifying the weight that BBC local radio has within the local media theatre. In retrospect, it appears to have been channelled to an inquiry into Peterborough’s green ambitions, since from the beginning they featured largely in the local content. At the beginning of the project, BBC local radio broadcasts were confined to the North of the area. These were later combined into a single Cambridgeshire-wide station. One abiding conclusion drawn from the transcripts, together with some 1,200 engagements on Twitter and numerous comments, appears to argue that these green ambitions are in a state of decay and possible collapse, and may prove to be effectively an illusion, based on a fiction, supported by the valiant efforts of those involved. This will be unwelcome news to those who owe their living to one or other aspect of those green ambitions, but ultimately the truth is there, and it’s usually better to deal with the truth rather than flights of fancy. This conclusion may be proved wrong at a later date, and if so that news will be published right here.

The final pieces in the jigsaw appear below the line.





The agency in question has not replied to those comments. It was never the intention of the project to expose the flaws in Peterborough’s eco-model. There were initial efforts to engage with the various agencies to expand on some of the themes that the transcripts raised, but those approaches were effectively rebuffed. It may be that the format of New Listener was outside the range of media models with which agencies were comfortable, but that is speculation. That’s simply how it turned out.

Arguably the site in its present format also demonstrates that this model, this concept of taking broadcast material and transcribing it into published form, may be used to explore, promote, and discuss any theme in public life, provided the subject is featured regularly in BBC News, either local or national, on radio or television. It does not have to be an especially critical examination. The direction is entirely up to the driver.

If you are interested in running such a site for yourself, then do by all means get in touch for technical help and advice. It is not difficult, but it is time consuming and requires some thought.

If any further developments occur of interest to the project, they will be added to this post, and notified on the Twitter feed. For that reason alone it might be worth continuing to follow. Tweets and email messages to the site will be replied to as long as it is actively maintained in its present form.

The Editor.