If at first you don't succeed…

By on 24/05/2011 in Blog, Meetings/Minutes

Press officer Geoff Coleman reflects on a testing first attempt at streaming Birmingham City Council meetings.

When I was struggling to sleep last night as I worried about live streaming a Birmingham City Council meeting for the first time, the last thing I envisaged was that the video feed would fail to work.

But these things are sent to try us and that was exactly the problem that faced us as we tested the system for the final time this morning.

Engineers and electricians tried everything within their power to rectify the problem but eventually our suppliers said the faulty equipment needed replacing - not something that could happen before today's meeting.

This malfunction was completely beyond our control and as a consequence we had two options

  1. Cancel the streaming and wait for next month
  2. Proceed with an audio only stream

We opted for the latter and, despite a few early problems, I'm glad we did.

You might justifiably say the only way is up for this new service after a testing start and I'm inclined to agree. But the streaming can and will get better.

I'm confident we'll have a video feed restored in time for next month's full council meeting and that will represent another big step in the right direction.

There were issues today but we still took half a step forward as an online audience was able to hear a Birmingham City Council meeting for the first time. That has to be a positive.

Just as we hope this online newsroom has opened up city council news to a wider audience, we understand that offering online access to full council meetings is a democratic service to the people of Birmingham.

Sure it didn't run as smoothly as we had hoped today but that will not put us off making another attempt next month. And we'll persevere in our efforts to deliver a valuable new service.

Sorry for the problems and thanks for your patience.

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