Posts Tagged ‘jemima kiss’

I Hate Senior Sources 2

February 5, 2009

“BBC Hit By Backlash…” says the story.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it.

So how many people constitute a “backlash” these days?

Two it would seem. And both of them anonymous.

Mind you they do represent a “growing number of BBC staff”. There’s no indication of how fast their numbers are “growing”. Perhaps by the end of the day there’ll be three or four.

And as they don’t have the courage to be named, then it’s difficult to challenge a statement like this:

“Chris Moyles says some terrible things and he is allowed to get away with it and Jonathan Ross did and said what he did and he is back on air,”

Has Chris Moyles used the word “golliwog” on air? Has he used racially offensive language? I’d like to see some evidence. This quote could be simply translated as “I’m a radio presenter and I don’t like Chris Moyles”.

And Russell Brand was sacked and Jonathan Ross given a six month suspension. And not for racially offensive langauge either.

It is also a pity that the senior BBC figure defending the BBC also felt they could not be named. As my last post on this subject revealed this seems to be a long standing convention.

I wish it could be changed. Would it hurt if that person was named?

Anyway without any names this isn’t really a news story, as there is no news in it. In the sense that nothing has actually happened.

It’s really just people talking, giving their opinions. Not unlike this blog post from Jemima, which is also people talking (as nothing has been decided) and giving their (quite useful) opinions.

But at least in the comments there are some names (albeit sometimes silly ones) so you can start to make a judgement on who they are. And I’m named. And so is Jem.

A blog post which is more transparent than a news story?

Surely not!

Update 2 p.m. - nice to see Jay Hunt defending the BBC’s position on this in public.

Saving The BBC By Linking

October 10, 2008

It was nice of the Guardian to devote most of their media section on Monday to thoughts on how to save the BBC.

To me, it’s simple.

Anyone who wants to save the BBC should just write to the Culture Secretary and politely ask him not to top slice the licence fee.

For all the kind words in the Guardian though, I’m not sure if the arguments progressed any further and I found it hard to disentangle ideas (certainly new ones) from emotions.

For example the comments on the Guardian’s blog post are too familar:

“The BBC is great and we love your programmes and content” (Thank you very much)

or

“You’re just a lunch of lefties, and you should be closed down” (You’re entitled to your opinion, you’re wrong but thank you very much)

or

“It’s all the executives’ fault” (Well, it probably isn’t actually)

So far, so predictable.

A more interesting perspective was provided by a colleague of mine Tom Scott on his personal blog.

Entitled BBC public value in the online world what’s different about Tom’s thoughts is his attempt to see developments in digital media alongside the very heart of what the BBC does: its’ public purposes as outlined in the BBC’s Charter. Here’s a quote:

By joining BBC data, in this fashion, with the rest of the web the Network Effect is magnified yet further. That does benefit to the BBC, but it also benefits the web at large and that is important. The BBC has a role that transcends its business needs – it can help create public value around its content for others to benefit from (assuming, of course, there remains one, non-discriminatory, free and open internet).

Tom is on to something.

In the old world of television the “mixed schedule” was one of the ways the BBC delivered its public purposes. The thinking went (and I summarise crudely) “If we put Panorama next to Eastenders then some people might watch both”.

I don’t think the mixed schedule is dead. But in an on demand world where people can just watch Eastenders whenever or wherever they like it’s clear the BBC needs some new methods of bringing people wonderful things they didn’t know they liked or needed.

And on the internet the method is clearly the link.

How a linking journey that took you from Eastenders to other drama to Shakespeare?

Or that took you from watching Dr Who online on bbc.co.uk to buy a ticket to see David Tennant in Hamlet?

Or from BBC music content to Wikipedia music content? (Oh yes I forgot the BBC music beta does just that and that’s why it’s such a breakthrough for the BBC).

Let’s take a look at a couple of those public purposes again:

Sustaining citizenship and civil society

(How does citizenship get encouraged – surely by sharing? A citizen has a stake, a link to other citizens?)

Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK

(Sounds like linking to me)

And linking is a lot easier than other ideas like sharing assets, creative commons or ideas around open source as Jemima suggests and common platforms (as the BBC’s blogger in residence Steve Bowbrick suggests – disclaimer – Steve works for me). All these are complex and most bump up against the brutal political realities of the rights regieme and the rights holders’ understandable desire to hold on to their intellectual property.

But links don’t feel like intellectual property or at least they’re not valuable enough for any body to care (yet). And in order to link all the BBC has to do is change its’ culture, not change the law (difficult but easier than facing down the rights holders). And everybody agrees The BBC should link more.

Linking the country together sounds like a tall order.

It also sounds like a job for the BBC.

More Whys

February 12, 2008

Blackwater over at Roy Greenslade’s blog has disagreed with this previous post from me.

So I thought I would explain further.

1. Steve Rubell has a better idea of what’s going on in new media than the average journalist. Most importantly he understands the value of the link. There are still too many journalists who think a story ends when they publish it on the web and don’t bother to link. A story without links on the web is dead (see this). Bloggers always link, which gives them an advantage.

Steve Rubell has also said “transparency is critical”. This is an unusual thing for someone working in PR to say. How many journalists would be prepared to say it, not just about the subjects of their stories but their own working practices?

2. I don’t think “the pursuit of truth” is a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing. Working for the BBC I abide by the BBC’s values of impartiality.

But journalists need to come off their high horses and accept that they are not the only people with a committment to the truth.

Blackwater asks: “Do journalists and PR folk really inhabit the same moral sphere? I mean, traditionally or ideally, at least?”

Traditionally they don’t. But the internet is changing all that. Ideally, they should. Indeed this may become essential.

I trust Steve Rubell even though he works in PR. I trust James Cridland and Hilary Perkins – not journalists, bloggers. I trust Jemima Kiss and Nick Robinson (journalists who use blogging tools). I trust them all not because of what they are called, or because I agree with them all the time but because of how they behave.

Can PR be done openly and honestly? I suspect like journalism, it will only survive if concentrates on building openness and trust.

3. Blackwater says:

“The lines between journalism and PR have been purposely blurred by those in the PR industry, carelessly mistaking a writer’s remit for the PR man’s brief. One manipulates a story to sell something and one manipulates something to tell a story. There is a subtle but meaningful difference.”

Blackwater should read today’s Daily Mail. The Daily Mail has a particular view of the world, a line like most newspapers. Does today’s Mail contain examples of stories “manipulated to sell something” i.e. The Mail?

Doesn’t the Independent do something similar? Aren’t both looking for stories and angles that support their readers’ world view and emotional preferences, and is “the truth” always revealed or does it sometimes get lost?

Bloggers, journalists, marketeers and PR people are a network, even a community who rely on each other and increasingly use the same tools and techniques.

They all need to be truthful and honest. The internet is forcing them to be.

Channel 4 New Media Projects

December 21, 2007

More interesting stuff at Channel 4 (from Jemima Kiss at Media Guardian). See also this.

Radio 1 and Seven Ages of Rock are among the BBC experiments with flickr.

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