Twitter journalism

I’ve ranted previously about shoddy BBC journalism, more recently I’ve seen more examples of what I term Twitter journalism. The worst protagonist for cultivating this drivel is Daily Mail Online, but that’s their raison d’être and absurd sensationalism is what you expect when you visit their site.

It’s sad to see the scourge of Twitter journalism now creeping insidiously into BBC News. There’s no better example than this article on BBC News: HD signal ‘lost’ during Wimbledon

That looks interesting I thought, surely as lead broadcaster the BBC would be the most dependable news organisation to go to for the low-down.

How wrong could I be! Never have I seen such a moronic and baseless article, totally devoid of facts or informative content.

It starts well enough:

Viewers watching Andy Murray and David Ferrer’s Wimbledon quarter final clash missed vital seconds of the match as BBC One HD went off the air.

So what was the cause?

“It was down on Sky [and] Freeview,” said one viewer on Twitter. “Sky had a very basic fault message on a black background. Freeview was just black.”

You’ve just told us that. We don’t need it reiterating by a random faceless quote.

But the match was still available on the BBC’s standard definition channel. Dozens of people complained about the loss of picture on social media sites.

Yes yes, I understand that people were rightly upset about the break in transmission. So what actually happened?

“Who’s stolen BBC HD?” asked Neil Sculley on Twitter.

“When will the HD return?” added Richard M. “It’s been about 20 mins and no announcement.”

No factual news content here, just a few questions scraped up from Twitter. I’m still none the wiser.

Some viewers reported that when the picture did return, it was a standard definition picture, not HD.

But, by 18:00, normal service appeared to have been restored.

“Appeared”? In case you hadn’t noticed, you work for the BBC. Wasn’t there someone in the internal directory you could ask?

“Panic over, HD resumed on BBC,” said Jamie Grace.

“Murray is now even uglier and angrier than normal.”

So the official confirmation of service being resumed was another comment on Twitter?

It’s no wonder the author of this ‘article’ hasn’t dared put their name to it.

Shame on you BBC.

Front Page News?

It’s bewildering what the BBC considers to be front page news.

BBC NEWS TOP STORIES: O2 apologises for roaming glitch

Oh dear! Did international roaming fail leaving O2 customers without data services abroad, or did naughty O2 overcharge their customers? No, neither.

This headline actually relates to an insignificant story of how a very small number of O2’s roaming customers received a text message incorrectly informing them that they had run up large data roaming charges.

Rachel Sinclair, from Bristol, was just hours into her trip to France on the 24 September, when she received a text on her iPhone telling her she had downloaded £20 of data.

“I double checked the roaming function was off and then turned off the handset but the next morning I received another text saying the bill had gone up to £40. I was away with friends and it really took a bit of pleasure out of the holiday.”

After investigating her case, O2 said that she had in fact accrued just 60p in data roaming charges, not £40.

The company estimates that she was one of up to 100 customers who were sent messages in error at the end of last month, warning them they had reached data roaming limits even though they had not downloaded that amount.

So this wasn’t a case of a mobile operator overcharging, just their automatic warning systems being a bit trigger happy.

This text glitch apparently affected “up to 100” of O2’s 22 million mobile customers (0.0005% of O2’s mobile customer base), but still the BBC News editors deemed this story of sufficient international public interest to promote it to their front page.

BBC: Some travellers have been hit with bill shocks in the past

So? Some travellers have been hit by lightning in the past! What has this got to do with anything? It’s sloppy sensationalist journalism, at a time when the National Union of Journalists are complaining about the proposed cuts at the BBC. First for the chop should be Susannah Streeter, the author of this drivel.

Six Foot Fridge

Apparently, someone in London recently sent an urgent video tape via courier to BBC Bristol, which duly arrived in the post room at said outpost of The Corporation. One of the operatives therein – noticing that the label was peeling off – decided to replace it with a new one. He removed the original and stuck it on the fridge, intending to copy the address after lunch.

The next morning, the sender of the tape was surprised to find this voice message (mp3) on his mobile.