BBC Internship: What makes a successful piece of BBC News content?


The Data Science Institute is pleased to announce that BBC News has two internship positions available for UoM PhD candidates. Please see below the Project Brief for one of the internships:

Research to be undertaken

-          to investigate the relationship between a number of variables and the effect it has on news article page views

-          to carry out the necessary data gathering, data manipulation/aggregation and joining data from different sources i.e. MongoDB, AWS Redshift, Hive, etc

-          to employ a number of different Data Science techniques to answer the question above and compare model accuracy.

Key objectives, research questions/challenges:

-          what are the key semantic factors in determining the relative success or other wise of a piece of BBC News content (topics covered, presentation of topics, straight reporting vs analysis, impact of multimedia, etc)?

-          what are the key logistical factors in determining the relative success or other wise of a piece of BBC News content (publishing time, promotion on and off site, word count, navigation and links, etc)?

-          given successful identification of the above, can these factors be modelled to predict (1) what sort of content will perform well, and (2) what sort of content we should do less of?

Critical success factor: Crucially BBC News are looking for a more refined model than a Daily Mail approach of “do more entertainment-orientated clickbait” .

They want to learn how to cover news stories in the best way for the audience to engage with them.

For context: Fit with BBC objectives

-          BBC News objective – grow BBC News’s global reach to 500m weekly browsers

-          BBC News objective – increase engagement to 3 visits per week/3 pages per visit

-          Personal objective – Inform editorial development and commissioning through audience analytics and data

Key deliverables:

-          Predictive models for BBC News digital content audience engagement

Potential uses of outcomes from internship (to give intern a feel for onward journey of results):

-          BBC News editorial commissioning

Measures of success:

-          Progress towards stated objectives above