BBC World Service updates from Steve Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor

Dear colleagues:

I hope this message finds you all well, and things are as well as can be at home and in the office. And if home has become the office, good luck with that too!

It’s an understatement to say that the last several months have been a challenge. Like everyone else, news operations across the world have had to overhaul how they operate—recording in living rooms and garages instead of studios, devising new ways of having material gathered in the field and new ways of interviewing. Facing new challenges and new opportunities.

The pandemic has brought innumerable tragedies around the world, affecting entire societies and individual families. It has forced changes in the way we work. I think it is also causing us to think about what our work is for.

Something is changing in the world, in the same way something is changing in America. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis convulsed America. It also appalled the rest of the world. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has both shown the links we share for good and bad in this interconnected world, and how a nation can determine the fate of its citizens.

This time has made us at the BBC rethink both what we do and how we do it. At the BBC World Service, we aim to do more with more of our partners: fly less, partner more; share more and support more news journalists around the world. We have heard from station partners that you want greater amounts of BBC reporting and analysis on how the world is reacting to global events and finding solutions to the problems they face.

I hope that you will be interested in what our plans are for the months ahead. Some of our upcoming plans include:

U.S. Elections: We’ll be covering the U.S. elections by teaming up with stations as we have done in the past. This year, Newshour will be linking up with four stations during the month of October for special programming. We will be working with stations to highlight the importance of this election (infused with your expertise) to our international audience. We’re also bringing you Global View on 2020, a week-in-review :59 or 3:59 module that provides an international perspective on the 2020 elections.

BBC OS is featuring weekly interviews with Nate Hegyi from the Mountain West News Bureau and his 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the Continental Divide, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. Nate’s journey is supported by America Amplified, a community engagement journalism project based at KCUR.

There will be special reports and debates over the coming week to tell the world what is dividing America, and to share with you what the world is saying about America. We will also be asking just what America’s commitment to the world is at this time, and what the world actually wants from America.

Climate: A new weekly program from the BBC World Service launches the week after the election is over, and for many that’s not a day too soon. To many the climate remains the most important political, economic and environmental issue the world is singularly failing to reach agreement over. The Climate Question asks: Why do we find it so hard to save a planet?
We will of course be keeping the global pandemic to the fore of our news reporting and our science and health analysis. You might be interested to know that in addition to our global 1-minute and 5-minute roundups each day, we do separate regional roundups for Latin America, India and Africa.

We will continue to bring you the global perspective on important topics with special coverage on health, politics, culture and education. We are particularly interested in the effect of COVID-19 on a new generation emerging into a world of drastically changing fortunes, and we’ll continue to monitor the political and social situation in countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil.

Find the latest docs and specials curated for Content Depot here.

I will really miss connecting with many of you in person at this year’s PRPD, as I know you will miss being amused to see the jetlagged Brits slumped over their Starbucks Grande still convinced a pledge drive is something to do with the temperance movement. I will of course join virtually.

Here’s to better times ahead and working closer than ever.


Steve Titherington
Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service