The avalanche of high quality video, photos and e-mailed news material from citizens following the July 7 bombings in London marked a turning point for the BBC, the head of its global news division said. Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC World Service and Global News Division, told a conference the broadcaster's prominent use of video and other material contributed by ordinary citizens signaled that the BBC was evolving from being a broadcaster to a facilitator of news.
"We don't own the news any more," Sambrook said. "This is a fundamental realignment of the relationship between large media companies and the public." Sambrook likened the increasing use of user-generated news material to a sports game in which the crowd was not only invading the field but also seeking to participate in the game, fundamentally changing the sport. Sambrook was speaking on a panel with other media professionals at a conference on "citizen journalism" organized by The Media Center, a media think tank based in Reston, Va., and hosted by The Associated Press at its headquarters building in New York.