The BBC has long been seen as one of the most trusted, unbiased news sources in the world by general consensus.

New opinions vocalized by Home Secretary Theresa May last Sunday (10th November) suggest that the BBC’s ever increasing dominance in the field of online journalism is reducing the significance of competing online news sources in this competitive field. As far as online reputation management is concerned this highlights the increasing risk the BBC poses in the field of online reputation.

Home Secretary Theresa May asserted this argument whilst addressing the Society of Editor’s annual conference in London last Sunday. May made a compelling argument in defense of her claim, suggesting that the “might of the BBC” could and is having a detrimental impact on what she labels as “the local democracy.” She correlated this point by juxtaposing it with the struggles currently faced by many local newspapers in maintaining enough interest to keep themselves afloat, noting that the local newspaper industry is having “a particularly hard time” at the moment. This naturally leads to the suggestion that this hard time has been exacerbated by the growth of online BBC News services.

May then explained this position in greater depth to the audience of the conference, saying that this has “been the result of the BBC’s dominant position on the internet and its ability to subsidise the provision of internet news using the licence fee.” She made a further argument, saying that “this makes it enormously difficult for local newspapers to compete. If the BBC can, as they do, provide all the locally significant news, what is left to motivate the local media to buy a paper?” This essentially means that when it comes to the reporting of local news, the BBC is the provider that online consumers are looking to, not their online platforms of their local newspapers.

This has a significant relevance to the field of online reputation management. This is because if the BBC is coming to dominate the local news market, then any reports that surface online that could damage an individual or local company’s online reputation will come from them. This means that they will be more readily available to an international audience giving them greater exposure and making them harder to relegate down the Google Rankings. In other words the BBC is a more widely read and trusted news source; the stories they report have a longer shelf life on Google Rankings.

This means that professional online reputation management firms are becoming vital to the containing of the risk posed by online reputation to both the individual and the corporation. With the negative content coming from a source like the BBC, it is much harder to deal with; quite frankly it requires a professional who knows how to maintain online reputation.