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Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Twitter plot thickens...

I received an interesting follow-up email from BBC Audio & Music today in response to my query concerning Jeremy Vine's use of Twitter sent a couple of weeks ago. This is what it said (my emphasis):
Sorry for my slow response, I wanted to check a few things with the JV programme.
Like a number of freelance presenters and journalists, Jeremy Vine does run a personal, non BBC, twitter account.  People do tweet directly back to him, text the studio, phone the studio, email the studio and tweet to BBC owned accounts.
The comments you hear on air are selected by a producer and passed to Jeremy, based on their content. It’s not true that the responses back to Jeremy’s account play a major part in the show…by far the biggest response is by email and text.
Sometimes the producer (not JV) will judge a comment via twitter is useful in the debate and pass it through to the studio.
Jeremy is aware of our guidance on personal use of social media, and his comments on twitter are within that guidance, and I, and others, will advise him from time to time about twitter.
Twitter is a new phenomenon, and adapting guidelines etc. does take time and often leaves a few grey areas. You’ll have noticed BBC news people like Robert Peston have tweet accounts too…and many of those are ‘BBC’ owned. But, the way the accounts are labelled and who owns them does, I admit, vary across the corporation. We are tidying this up  bit by bit, but it is taking a little time.
I hope this explains the situation.
The writer has obviously gone to some trouble to get his facts straight, but I feel that he has been given misinformation by the JV program staff. Old habits die hard!

I am pleased to have it confirmed that Vine is freelance and not a BBC employee. I always suspected that this was the case, but had no proof.

This was my response to the email:

Very many thanks for your reply, and for taking the time and trouble to investigate further - it is very much appreciated. Unfortunately, it does not explain the situation!

The only Twitter account that I know Jeremy Vine has is @theJeremyVine. I can only assume that the BBC-owned Twitter account that you refer to is @BBCRadio2, which I have never heard mentioned in connection with Mr Vine's programme.

Mr Vine uses his "personal" account to tweet about his favourite football team, cycling in London and a whole host of non-BBC related topics, but this is also the same Twitter account that he promotes heavily in connection with his Radio 2 programme. For example, this is what he said yesterday (25th April):

 - During his daily promotion on the Ken Bruce show at 11:30 : "Phone number 0500 288291, you can email, we're both on Twitter @R2KenBruce and @theJeremyVine"
 - At the start of his programme at 11:59 : "The phone number is 0500 288291, you can also email and if you have an account on Twitter I'm there as @theJeremyVine"

You will note that in both of these promotions there was no mention of texting, and based on previous experience I have absolutely no doubt that other similar promotions of @theJeremyVine were made during the programme. You will also note his promotion of Ken Bruce's Twitter account, which has as its description:
The official twitter account of the real Ken Bruce. You'll find my words here typed by my own fingers . On air weekdays 0930-1200 BBC Radio 2. Despite his claims to the contrary, am I to take it that Mr Bruce's account is "personal" too?

You kindly wrote:
Sometimes the producer (not JV) will judge a comment via twitter is useful in the debate and pass it through to the studio.

So, just to be clear, Mr Vine's "personal" account is monitored by a BBC producer and cherry-picked for good comments - is that correct? If that is the case, perhaps you would be good enough to explain the BBC's definition of the word "personal", as I am now completely baffled..

Mr Vine reads and attributes comments from Twitter on air, and a quick check of tweets to his account (by searching for @theJeremyVine in Twitter) reveals Twitter to indeed be the source, almost word for word.

As you have mentioned, I could choose to communicate with his programme by email or text, but both of these mediums are relatively cumbersome and lack the immediacy and convenience that Twitter provides to me.

I have no issue, or interest, with the comments that Mr Vine makes on Twitter. We live in a land of free speech and he is entitled to his opinions. However, that same free speech is denied to me simply because he has chosen to block me from being able to respond to his invitations to contact his programme (not Mr Vine himself). This amounts to nothing less than censorship on Mr Vine's part.

All I want is to be able to communicate with a BBC radio programme that I fund by buying a TV Licence every year.

Again, I thank you sincerely for your email, but I cannot help thinking that whoever you spoke to at the JV programme has not been entirely accurate with their responses.

As well as defining "personal", would you care to comment further?


Gill said...

This response makes me think that when a (bbc employee) is in a hole, stop digging! Always thought JV was freelance, prob along with wogan, and the lovely Ken. Which is why wogan gets 'paid' for children in need, when others give their time for free.

Anonymous said...

Is there a secret dictionary in that cupboard in the BBC basement labelled 'Beware of the Leopard'?

Now I can add 'personal' to a growing number of words deployed that are more than 'unique' (including of course their definition of that).

Anonymous said...

Also, what is the definition of freelance? JV has a contract so does he have a private company, like some of the people he slags off? To quote lord gnome, I think we should be told

Will said...

Freelance,easier to get rid of and NO BBC pension thankfully.Unfortunately paid far more than he should be;-)

I would take Twitter's that are non Branded R2 as not BBC property.Twitter can be BBC property and still operated by Ken.The BBC ones seemed to have been set up by BBC as Ken was never a fan of Twitter so think it was set up for him as oppossed to him setting it up himself.

Listened to Hr 1 Friday.The 7 that didnt turn up for a job on Day 1 that he mentioned,then he didnt look in to it further and mention that the employer was breaking the law and paying well under min wage but of course JV wouldnt have seen anything other than the headline.

Turned off soon after.The World is a better place without 'Toss er Vine' (Tarzan Joke) on the Radio.

mwnciboo said...

He annoys the hell out of me, I listen just to get worked up and listen to his inane and ill judged comments. About a week ago a caller said his IQ "Was about 160" JV said "That sounds a bit low doesn't it go upto a 1000 or something?". What a buffoon, he is the most ill-informed and stupid public broadcaster I know.

I would write into points of view, but this clown hosts that show too.

When is someone at the BBC going to realise that he is a feckless, valueless, talentless draw on resources and get rid of him. At least people like Paxman and Clarkson are intelligent and play act a little, but vine is an idiot. Like in the film "TWINS" all the talent went to his Brother Tim Vine...