Working with the Toronto arts organization Indian Electronica, we mobilized quickly to build a campaign strategy and platform online to channel momentum in response to announcements by the BBC to close its Asian Network.
On February 26, 2010 The Times published a piece titled 'BBC signals an end to era of expansion.' In it, they made public for the first time plans by the British Broadcasting Corporation to scale back its online presence and make cuts to subsidiary digital stations - including the Asian Network and 6Music. At this time the BBC Asian Network had already begun scheduling cut-backs - including cancelling both its Electro East and Pathaan's Musical Rickshaw shows in time for April.
Just days after the story broke BBC Director General Mark Thompson went live on BBC News television and then Channel 4 television to substantiate the Times' reporting - announcing that the conclusions of his summer 2009 BBC Strategy Review would indeed entail the closure of the BBC Asian Network, amongst other cut-backs across the Corporation. Reactions to this news from within the BBC Asian Network proved that Thompson's plan was unexpected and sudden - staff distress resulted in Union uproar at the prospective loss of hundreds of its members' jobs.
Pending closure of the BBC Asian Network resulted in widespread public outcry. People around the world immediately began using online social media to express their takes on this situation and this website was established to provide a platform for collating that activity.
Produced for Toronto-based arts organisation Indian Electronica, our aim in creating savetheasiannetwork.com was to provide a single source for information as it unfolds relating to the BBC Asian Network.
We needed to make this site as automatic as possible - pulling in data as its published from all over the web. We also wanted the interface to be engaging - relating to viewers that every moment there are new people around the world tweeting about the topic and that conventional media outlets are publishing articles detailing the situation's development.
Using Drupal, we were able to automatically pull in news post headlines which update every few minutes plus feature a twitter feed which updates in real time; bringing together more than 5 search criteria about the Asian Network. As well, we developed a community section that lets the public register on the site, have their say about the campaign and plot themselves on a map of supporters - which displays all registered members of the site. Supporter opinions are also pulled out of the database in real-time and displayed in a rotating slideshow throughout the site.