BBC News Online (more recently referred to as simply the BBC News website) is the BBC's news web site and part of bbc.co.uk. Launched in November 1997, it is one of the most popular news websites in the UK with around 15 million visitors every month. The website contains exhaustive international news coverage, as well as British, entertainment, science, and political news. Many reports are accompanied by audio and video from the BBC's television and radio news services. The latest TV and radio bulletins are also available on the site.
There are two different editions of the site: a UK edition, which gives prominence to UK stories, and a world edition, which prioritises international news. All articles are archived indefinitely and can be retrieved via searching or by browsing the extensive In Depth section, which contains collections of articles relating to major news stories.
As well as pure news articles, the site has material to support BBC news, current affairs and factual programmes. In addition, the Magazine section contains features prompted by current news stories and a number of regular items, such as the weekly caption competition. Readers can debate the news in the Have Your Say section.
BBC News Online has a small number of topic-specific columns written by journalists. These include education correspondent Mike Baker's Mike Baker Weekly column and technology commentator Bill Thompson's bill blog. BBC News Online Science Writer Ivan Noble, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in August 2002, shared his experiences of cancer in Tumour Diary. He died on January 31 2005.
The site is funded by the television licence, paid by all UK households owning a television set, and carries no advertising. This has lead to complaints of unfair competition from commercial rivals. Others note that large numbers of international visitors enjoy the site at the expense of the UK public, leading to suggestions that foreign users be shown advertising or charged subscription fees when accessing the site.
The founding editor of BBC News Online was Mike Smartt, the current editor is Pete Clifton. The site was originally designed by Matt Jones in early November 1997 and went through a series of version iterations before being completely re-designed in 2003, primarily by Paul Sissons , Maire Flynn and Ben Metcalfe. The editorial and management departments are based in BBC Television Centre, the development and site design teams are based in BBC White City - both in the White City area. The site scooped best news website at the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards every year from 1998 to 2001.
The site launched a set of semi-official RSS 0.91 syndication feeds in June 2003 and upgraded them to RSS 2.0 in March 2005. Every news index has its own RSS feed, including the in-depth sections.
Some early pages (look and feel may have been applied in 2001):