Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories

Future of News - timeline of innovation

timeline png

Last week, there were a lot of announcements made here, at the BBC.

I’ll pass on quickly on BBC Taster, our new public-facing prototype-testing platform - because, despite being extremely exciting for us and our audiences, there was another great thing to come our of Broadcasting House.

James Harding, BBC News and Current Affairs Director, released an important report: the Future of News report. This is a milestone in the negociations for Charter renewal.

In a few words, there are several priorities pursued by this report:

  • Ensure we remain alive to fresh ideas in news;
  • Articulate the strategic choices we face in the longer-term;
  • And to provide context for the BBC as we prepare our case for the renewal of the Royal Charter.

But anyway, you can read it on PDF as well as on this pretty nice web page.

I was asked to work on a 24-year timeline of defining innovations - from 2003 to 2027.

To be fair, it was funny to play the pundit and decide, among all the great stuff that happened and will probably happen, which ones I’ll pick.


I do have a few favourites.

###2005: Database journalism

After launching an ambitious mapping of crime in Chicago,, in 2005, Adrian Holovaty’s 2006 manifesto focuses on the shape of the information, and not only on the story. It develops a programmatic and re-usable approach to newsworthy material.

Well, of course, this is the foundation of what I’m doing at the moment. And that’s thanks to Adrian Holovaty and his Chicago Crime monitoring.

That was already 10 years ago.

###2008: The rise of the digital journalist

File-based audio recorder, FTP, and laptop editing take over newsrooms and lay out the basics for mobile and on-the-go from-the-field journalism. Podcasting and video-journalism are results of successful experiments from news organisations.

This one was given to me by a colleague and, if the 2008 date is a bit arbitrary, I love how this series of event laid out what is journalism right now: digital everywhere, mobile technologies allowing more and more decentralisation…

###2018: Standard BBC reporter equipment includes wearables

Optical head-mounted cameras’ rival broadcast cameras for quality and are used for first-person action views. Tim Pool is regarded as pioneer of the genre.

This. That’s going to fun.

###2025: The visible Operating System disappears, becomes ubiquitous

Screen and device agnosticity is now the rule, as we now interact constantly with an invisible OS, allowing us to deploy virtual screens everywhere.

That’s Her in a nutshell. Voice-recognition, voice-synthesis, and artificial-intelligence coming together with virtual-reality to allow us to constantly interact with an invisible, pervasive thing around us.


You can read it on BBC News.

Also, Twitter is quite a nice place to rant if you disagree with these “predictions”!