For me a core part of the future of the BBC will revolve around encouraging others to find their voice and shape news. In some ways it is an extension of the American concept of Open Newsroom where the public is invited to join in editorial decision making.At one time I was a print journalist, and still sometimes find it difficult to substitute values of collaboration and co-creation for those of conflict, criticism and celebrity highlighted by Nick. It's fun to stir things up. Other journalists pick up the story, so you get quick positive feedback. Political bloggers like Guido Fawkes continue the tradition - which is fine, provided it isn't the only culture around. Interesting to see Guido giving a general welcome to webcameron where the Tory leader is running an open blog if not an open newsroom. Interesting stuff usually happens when new tradition/culture meets old, so Manchester is one to watch.
From my experience of BBC editorial meetings this would require a culture shift. The discussion has traditionally been rather cynical – based on traditional journalistic instinct about what makes a good story. This will often require conflict, criticism and celebrity (or prominence) as a core part of the story. News is made or broken by whether those things exist or can be readily conjured up. (If you look at my post on David Cameron and Netiquette you’ll see how I still find myself exercising these muscles.)
With an open newsroom the public is potentially there to re-educate the reporter and editor about what is really interesting, rather than what hacks think the public wants.
This culture shift will also need to come as part of the BBC experiment. If the local bloggers are throwing up innovative fare while the BBC journalists who decide which story to follow and which to kill harbour traditional values, it will fail.
Of course a good story is always a good story and experienced journalists have considerable expertise in spotting and telling stories. But in essence the BBC needs to find a way to short circuit in-house editorial values whilst preserving the best of in-house editorial ethics. Perhaps they need a combination of the open newsroom, local bloggers and the way in which Digg equips real people to decide what is and isn’t interesting.