Future of News - timeline of innovation, by News Labs


BBC News and Current Affairs director James Harding lifted the veil yesterday on a large-scale project: Future of News.

The Future of News project

Last year, the BBC set out to consider the Future of News over the decade to come. The aim was to do three things:

  • Ensure we remain alive to fresh ideas in news;
  • Articulate the strategic choices we face in the longer-term;
  • And to provide context for the BBC as we prepare our case for the renewal of the Royal Charter.

The full report is available on PDF, and also as a brilliant web version pointing to many parallel pieces of content.

Timeline of a connected generation

As part of the Future of News project, News Labs was invited to work on a 24-year long timeline listing the biggest innovation of the last 12 years - as well as the ones we predict for the 12 years to come.

timeline of innovation view full article

Predicting the future is a challenge at the best of times. During the current period of rapid technological change, it is particularly tricky. Undaunted, the innovation team at BBC News Labs have tried their hand here at charting a timeline of key future developments for technology and news, as well as some recent milestones.

And so, we set off looking at ranking and filtering all our ideas in terms of importance. For example, we had to talk about social networks, but where to start? It seemed logical to mention Facebook in 2004 as the first social network, but we then decided that this honour was Friendster’s, in 2003, as a precursor. Twitter is even mentioned twice, but we really couldn’t pass on such an important change for news.

Some of the choices we made for the past are pretty much bets: plotting the leak of the New York Times Innovation Report in 2014 was rather unexpected - and adding the first Oculus VR kit to the list is still a risk, even though the tech looks extremely promising.

Anyway, check out what we think the future will be made out for us!