So my old boss, bluntly, often talks quite a lot of balls. Having got that out of the way, I should also add that on occasion he does come up with some pretty bloody interesting (if almost certainly soon to be cease-and-desisted) ideas. Case in point: BBC News Online Wikiproxy – a service that takes any article page on BBC News and (1) turns key terms in the article into links through to wikipedia and (2) adds a section to the right-hand navigation that references weblogs that are linking to the story. You can see an example of it in action on this story: Sir Elton attacks ‘mime’ Madonna.
Before I go any further, I think – since I work for the BBC – that I probably need to make it clear that I’m not condoning or sanctioning this service and that the tiny amount of commentary that follows does not in any way represent the BBC’s opinions etc. etc. Individually I think I can say that there’s a lot in Stef’s assessment of BBC News Online that I don’t agree with. Nonetheless, this is a pretty bloody neat illustration of one possible future direction that news sites could move in – a site that’s much more part of the web than just on the web. There are other directions of course, and no end of complexities, legal and editorial issues that might arise if the BBC just went ahead and did this stuff, but if you view it purely as a thought experiment then I think there’s a lot of intellectual value to be had from it.