Interview with Harriet Noble -> BBC World Hacks Producer

Richard Lucas

February 2018

I spoke to Harriet  Noble for the Project Kazimierz podcast. I wanted her on the show because I was interested in the cross over between what she does as a job – finding new solutions to the world’s problems,  and what TEDx License Holders do in terms of finding great ideas to put on the TEDx Stage.

Harriet Noble is a radio journalist working for the BBC in London. She started her career on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, where over the course of 7 years she graduated from work experience girl to Duty Editor. At the beginning of 2017 she moved to World Hacks on the BBC World Service, where she presents, reports and produces. She is also developing other radio projects for the BBC.

Harriet Noble


World Hacks is a weekly radio programme, podcast and digital video platform, leading the BBC’s solutions-focused journalism coverage. Harriet’s work has received positive reviews from The Observer, the Radio Times and others, and been chosen for BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Wick. She is particularly interested in stories about mental health, families and women’s rights.

World Hacks on the BBC World Service


My main goal in posting is to draw attention to the podcast and share the lessons learned. I asked about the methodology for  finding topics and she told me they have to tick a number of boxes.  These include

1. Being a solution to a problem
2. being innovative /surprising
3. Something new/not something that has had  extensive coverage in the media already.
4.  There should be reliable evidence that the project works and is effective
5. and they like the back story of the person or people behind the project.
The domain areas she is particularly interested in are cities, women’s issues, and mental health and famly,
They often get ideas for their programme from other people’s conferences.
The traffic data is impressive.  Their videos  get about  30 million views, and the podcast gets around  100,000 downloads on iTunes.  (The BBC is a huge web site with, according to Similarweb, about 689 million visits per month).

BBC web traffic

It’s a great programme, and as an experiment, I’ve set up a Fan Club of the show called the  BBC World Hacks discussion and sharing club . The inspiration is the fan club of another BBC radio show here Digital Planet Listeners .   I interviewed the founders of this show Bill Thompson and Gareth Mitchell here  in another Project Kazimierz podcast.

I set up the  Wojtek – the Soldier Bear – Niedźwiedź Żołnierz  group years ago, which led to my TEDxKrakow talk in 2010

Other links that are relevant if you listen to the show are here

World Hacks BBC World Hacks

emailworldhacks@bbc.co.uk

www.facebook.com/BBCworldhacks

Improvising Your Way Out of Anxiety 

People Fixing the World Podcast

Why The World Needs Positive News by  Christian de Boisredon
of Spark News

Why we need Constructive Elements in Journalism | Cathrine Gyldensted at TEDxDresden
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathrine_Gyldensted
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