BBC ‘and finally’ section divides readers

BBCThe BBC News website has drawn a mixed response to the launch of a new section for news trivia.

Debuted last week, the Also In The News section is an index aggregating some of the lighter stories from around the website, including ‘Killer banana rumour grips China‘ and ‘Cheese-rolling race-winners’ joy‘.

Announcing the new creation, website editor Steve Hermann said: “We’ve had an Also In The News slot for individual stories on the front pages for a long time.

“It’s a useful place to put stories which are interesting, unusual, surprising or just plain off but which are not, frankly, major news. On any given day there are always a few stories like this and they usually get well read. As a news site, I think it’s our task to report on the most significant AND the most interesting.”

But the launch has drawn criticisms from several readers around the world, complaining the fluffy new section is evidence the BBC is “dumbing down”.

“Fark has an entire page dedicated to this type of stuff. It’s called ‘Not News’ – and for very good reason,” wrote one reader.

“The web is awash with silly stories about nothing – I keep the BBC on my favourites because you actually report news about the world, not just garbage,” wrote another.

But some readers argued the development would create a repository for lighter stories that could leave the front page free for meatier subjects.

Hermann also defended the plan.

“This isn’t a ‘slippery slope’,” he said. “We’re not going to do fewer serious news stories as a result – because we’re not actually going to do more non-serious stories than before, what we ARE doing is making them easier to find.

“We’ve always had a mixture of stories and we can see from the traffic to the site that people also read a mixture of stories – serious as well as less serious.”