Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No such thing as bad publicity ...

Today's Mercury carried a first column from BBC 5Live freelance reporter and Leicester City season ticket holder, Ben Jacobs, and, I guess, there's an argument that says any publicity is good publicity ...

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on this little piece that appeared in the Daily Mail today:

Saboteur hunt at 5live

The BBC are mounting a top-level probe, using CCTV and computer information, to find who was responsible for tampering with an early Saturday morning 5live sports news bulletin featuring a pre-recorded Jacqui Oatley interview with Wigan manager Roberto Martinez.

The Martinez chat was interrupted by a voice saying '******* trumpet, ******* Stanley Clarke', which the Beeb hierarchy believe may have been inserted by a disgruntled employee.

Freelance sports reporter Ben Jacobs, who graduated from Oxford University with a double first in English Language and Literature in 2004, missed his BBC sports shift on Sunday having been told he was involved in the inquiry.

Jacobs' agent David Welch said: 'Ben is fully co-operating with the investigation but totally denies any involvement in any malpractice.

UPDATE: I've just found this YouTube clip of the outburst at the centre of the issue via the Biased-BBC blog. Don't listen to it if you don't want to hear swearing on the BBC!

Stupid errors invite criticism

Sometimes we make errors that are just plain stupid. I'm not sure anyone can explain it - it's not that we don't know the facts, it's just that a reporter, even an experienced reporter, simply gets it wrong and then neither the sub nor the proof reader picks it up.

We did it yesterday in our report on the switch-on of Leicester's Diwali lights. For some inexplicable reason the reporter got the location wrong and used the word Hindi instead of Hindu.

Online, our readers were quick to point out the errors:
LM, suggest you re-train/educate your staff or hire adequate journalists. The area is Belgrave Road, not Belgrave Gate..........and it is a Hindu festival (not Hindi) and the community is also Hindu not Hindi!

Good night, however I agree, Leicester Mercury do need to get a proof reader! Point One, its Belgrave Road, not Belgrave Gate as Belgrave Gate is over the Flyover. Secondly, its Hindu and not Hindi! Just small things makes a big difference! But yeah it was good!
I couldn't agree more. Small things, but makes a big difference.

To make matters worse, having spotted the errors in the paper, we then left them on our website even after our readers started pointing them out! I tried to correct them myself in the early evening last night (far too late), only to find that our web publishing system had ground to a halt and, try as I might for over an hour, I just couldn't make the changes. I tried again at 10pm without success and finally corrected the article at 2am this morning, adding the following apology:
Thank you for pointing out the errors in this article. They have now been corrected and I apologise that they were made in the first place and for the amount of time it has taken for us to put them right on the site.
Still, I can't help thinking the damage is done.