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"Find out more..." text is only included here when it refers to a non-BBC web page link.
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I am subject to the BBC's "expedited complaints handling process" (meaning I'll be ignored) for two years from 25/01/12.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

More Twittering...

I have had an interesting exchange of emails today with Paul Smith of BBC Audio and Music concerning my old mate Jeremy Vine’s use of Twitter. Mr Smith has chosen to engage with me and is ignoring my placing on the “expedited complaints handling procedure” list, which is very good of him. For that reason alone I have been careful with my words as I do not wish to destroy this particular link in to the inner workings of our beloved BBC as it may prove of use in the future should he continue to respond in a like manner. Mr Smith’s BBC biography can be read here:

Dear Mr Smith,
There follows a transcript of a recent Twitter exchange between Jeremy Vine and Tom Watson MP. This brief exchange tells me more about Mr Vine and his personal views than any other source I have ever found. It could be argued that having such an apparently cosy relationship shows bias on his part, and following this exchange it came as no surprise at all to hear that Mr Watson was to be a guest on Vine’s programme today.
tom_watson ‏ @tom_watson : If you worked at NoTW and don’t believe @rupertmurdoch’s account, please contact me: “Rupert Murdoch betrayed us”:
Jeremy Vine ‏ @theJeremyVine : @tom_watson Your book title is best so far this year, T. We’re ready for you in the studio whenever you want to come on @BBCRadio2
tom_watson ‏ @tom_watson : @theJeremyVine thank you. I’d be delighted.
Jeremy Vine ‏ @theJeremyVine : @tom_watson Have emailed producer to remind him to fix date. Know you’re busy. Have good weekend.
Chuck Finlay ‏ @ChuckFinlay : @theJeremyVine @tom_watson Jeremy, get a room…this snivelling in public is embarrassing!

However, I am unable to respond or comment because Vine has blocked me from following his feed. At least I would not have suggested that they “get a room”.
The following tweet came from former MP Lembit Opik in which he almost begs to be a guest on the programme to discuss his new book. Mr Opik appeared to do exactly that a few days later (5th March).
@theJeremyVine Jeremy, hope you’re well. My book on future of Lib Dems and its leadership is out tomorrow. Your listeners may be interested?
I find the details of Mr Vine’s relationships with his programme guests fascinating!
Your comments on this and my other recent email would be appreciated.
Many thanks!

I received the following reply 3 hours later:

Hi there,
Thank you for your note. Although I don’t think this exchange is ideal, it is worth pointing out that no guest can be booked by the presenter without the express permission of the editor. I have spoken to the editor, and although Jeremy, as a journalist can, and does make suggestions, the editor turns down the idea as often as he accepts it. Tom Watson may have wanted to appear to talk about his book, but the programme also wanted him to appear following the select committee report of yesterday. Tom Watson had been sought by several BBC and non-BBC outlets, and I am satisfied that it was the correct item to carry, and there was no undue prominence of the book.
I didn’t hear the Lembit Opik item, but the editor tells me he received offers of Lembit from several sources…not principally Jeremy, and decided that he would be an interesting guest for one of the programmes.
The exchanges you have sent are public, and I think if anyone had anything to hide here, they would not use twitter.
Paul Smith

I responded straight away:

Many and sincere thanks for your prompt reply. It is very much appreciated.
Both today’s and my email of 26th April are nothing more than illustrations of the reasons why I would like to fully follow and engage with Mr Vine’s so-called “personal” Twitter account, which I am still blocked from doing so.
Your explanation of the procedures in place to book guests is gratefully received, and I take it from this that when Mr Vine wrote “We’re ready for you in the studio whenever you want to come on” on 28th April (last Saturday, four days before the report was published) that this was NOT necessarily a “done deal” and the offer of air time was not guaranteed. If that is indeed the case then I hope you understand why I, and presumably others, have misinterpreted an apparently open invitation to attend at Mr Watson’s convenience.
For balance, I would hope that similar invitations were sent to other members of the select committee, Louise Mensch for example, but these have not appeared on Mr Vine’s Twitter feed.
Again, I would ask for your comments on my email sent on 24th April, with particular reference to the BBC’s definition of word “personal” and the use of a personal Twitter account by somebody (the producer) other than the account owner.
I remain extremely grateful for your responses to my emails.

Only 20 minutes later came this:

Louise Mensch has appeared on several other BBC outlets and another member of the committee was on Today this morning. But Tom Watson has been driving forward the phone hacking aspect of the story, so I would expect him to be prioritised, although today would be the appropriate day for him to appear rather than any of his choosing.
‘Personal’ is what JVs account is…it’s not controlled or set up by the BBC. But sometimes material from it is interesting, and Jeremy is happy for us to use the comments sent to him directly. Twitter is about personal engagement, and Jeremy likes to indulge in public debate with some people which he is in control of.
As I said, we are moving to a position where we will use BBC accounts for comments, but that is taking time to achieve as the audience find presenters own personal accounts more attractive. 

I had the last word though:

Quote: As I said, we are moving to a position where we will use BBC accounts for comments, but that is taking time to achieve as the audience find presenters own personal accounts more attractive.
Please be aware that this particular member of your audience absolutely disagrees with the latter part of that statement for the reasons that I have outlined previously.
Again, many thanks for your responses. I shall now await the outcome of my appeal to the BBC Trust.
And that was that. The definition of the word “personal” I learnt many years ago is obviously completely wrong, and I also seem to have completely misunderstood everything to do with the BBC and its use of Twitter.

Silly me.


Anonymous said...

They do respond quickly on occasion, when motivated, eh?
I do wonder at how many, and how often these appear 'off the books'.
No tracking numbers or logs.
Just a quiet 'make it go away' between thee and me attempt.
No wonder the Trust thinks all is well as the tanks roll up to the bunker.

Will said...

Sounds to me that JV will get a BBC account for use on the show and his original will become 'personal' so to speak.

Why not just set up another Twitter account if you want to comment on JV Tw??

Radio2LunchtimeLoather said...

I've already done that Will, and I've had three other accounts blocked from following after tweeting something he didn't like. I still have one more account that I can use and which he hasn't blocked, but I have not tweeted anything at all on that one.

Using two different internet browsers allows me to have two Twitter sessions running: one as my still unblocked account and one as JVineBlogMan.

Will said...

Watched an hr of the 2012 Vote programme which JV is on doing figures and after seeing this,I think JV is mis-cast on R2 or at the very least his R2 show.He should he on R4 or sent back to Newsnight.

Last night,He seemed to know what he was talking about(which makes a change).Granted he was reading it probaly or even if he wasnt seem to be in his 'field'.

Paddy 'wots his name' Fri and VF next week so does this mean JV wont be in this years 2Day?? Ken Bruce,Danny Baker and Simon Mayo next week for me on podcasts.

Radio2LunchtimeLoather said...

Was he wearing fancy dress? I hope so...

Gill said...

Just seen JV on BBC news doing something silly on a map of the UK, or is it Great Brittain when its England, Scotland and Wales (in alpha order!!)
He is starting to look old too

Jo said...

I listen to Jeremy most days and really enjoy the show. It is informative and Jeremy is an engaging personality.

Radio2LunchtimeLoather said...

Many thanks for your comment Jo!

You are the very first person brave enough to come here and praise the programme. You will be pleased to know that I do not bite and I thank you sincerely for your input.

However, can I ask you to expand on what you say, please?

You say you find the programme informative, but do you use it as a prime source of information on current topics, or is it just stuff that is nice to know? Do you accept that the information given as being well-researched? Do you think the discussions strike a good balance of opposing views?

I'm genuinely interested!

Stonyground said...

I am keen to let you know that if I am not commenting as often as I used to, I am still lurking and reading the posts. There is a slight lack of topicality with the new format and I am also missing the little chat with Ken Bruce because I have been changing channels to escape the vile Eurovision entry which, it appears, KB is compelled to play daily.

I am also intrigued to hear why Jo thinks that the JV show is informative. Please come back and tell us what you think Jo, I too am genuinely intrigued.