More evidence of the success of the BBC’s news web site comes in an American report which found “the classroom use of of non-US websites, such as the BBC’s, even exceeds the use of local TV or newspaper sites.”
The report from the Harvard-based Carnegie-Knight Task Force on the Future of Journalism Education, finds use of the Internet is threatening the economic viability of local media and the contribution they make to local democracy.
From outside the US, my spin on this research is rather different: there are welcome signs that young people in the world’s only super-power are starting to lift their eyes to look at the world as well as their own back yards.
The task force which includes the deans of the leading US journalism schools, finds a decline in the use of local media in social studies, civics and government classes.
National news organisations such as CNN and the New York Times were cited by 66% of teachers as being frequently used. Non-US organisations such as the BBC were frequently used by 21% of teachers while only 15% said the same of local newspapers and 6% of local TV.
The report says the use of the internet in classrooms is certain to widen, and teachers have switched from hundreds of local news outlets to a smaller number of national ones.
The challenge for local media, says the report, is: “As students learn in the classroom to rely on websites such as cnn.com and bbc.com.uk, they will become accustomed to using these sites outside the classroom, thereby contributing to a permanent movement of audience away from local news outlets.”
While I believe strongly in the importance of local media, this underlines the value of the BBC to the UK. One its tasks, enshrined in its charter, is: “Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK.”