Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bruce Parry blogging from the Amazon

Very excited about Amazon. No, not the online retailer (like they need the Googlejuice), but Bruce Parry's latest adventure and one of the BBC's first blogs to launch in support of a TV series. For the uninitiated, Bruce Parry is a former British Royal Marine instructor who now makes his living presenting anthropological documentaries such as the acclaimed Tribe (known as Going Tribal in the States) and the children's 'Serious...' strand (e.g. Serious Desert, Serious Arctic, Serious Andes).

Building on the success of Long Way Down (which had a pseudo-blog built using one of the BBC's content management systems), the Amazon production team have been blogging using Moveable Type since mid-October, when their epic journey began (in Miami airport). In addition to text entries, the team are also posting photos and embedded video clips (see below), which really enhance the offer. There's also an Interactive Map, overlaying the team's blog entries onto a Google Map so you can chart the narrative geographically.

What's exciting to me is the way in which the team are using the web to extend the life of the broadcast way beyond a single moment of transmission, to cover the whole production process (see Dan Hill's seminal piece on The Social Life of a Broadcast) and the blogging platform in particular, to provide an authored and serialised version of that narrative which users can engage with at any point.

It's not all been plain sailing of course - laptop problems forced the team to dictate some entries to the team back at base in Cardiff via satellite phone and they've had to implement a frustrating, but necessary, 3-5 week delay in actually putting the posts live to protect the security of the crew (watch the below video from coca country to understand why).

Huge props to Andrew Dudfield, Jo Pearce and the rest of the multiplatform team in BBC Wales for getting the blog up and running and looking so slick on the BBC's current installation of Moveable Type (no mean feat!) and David Felce for shoring up the platform (see Robin Hamman on 18 Months of Blogs on the BBC Internet Blog).

Amazon with Bruce Parry will air on BBC TWO in 2008.

Disclaimer: I work for the BBC. The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views of my employer.

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