Today and the Internet

I’ve just heard the oddest piece on Radio 4’s Today programme. [Edit: According to Martin Stabe, it was by a media commentator called Steve Hewlett, which explains a lot. You can listen again.]

I think it was supposed to be a news report but, uncharacteristically of Today, it made absolutely no effort to even try and appear objective.

It came across as an appeal, nay a plea, to Radio 4 listeners and BBC executives to support and preserve the station’s current methods of compiling the news agenda.

It looked at the most read stories on the BBC website last year and made the rather obvious point that, just because they were popular, didn’t mean they were the most important stories.

I would have thought BBC executives would have understood that “most read” and “most emailed” stories are more a reflection on the kind of material people will link to on the web, rather than its importance. Don’t they? From this piece it suggests they don’t.

The tone was one of “big bad web” and there was also mention of 4radio, so perhaps it was a rallying cry to try and encourage listeners to stay loyal.

But, to be honest, if Today had an important point to make about the web, I think I missed it.

A sign of the times?

I’m used to the odd bleep and feedback on Radio 4 as guests forget to turn their mobiles off before entering the studio. But today was taking it to a new level for me.

Someone contributing to You & Yours forgot to log out of Skype. I’m pretty sure I could hear its tell-tale instant message bleeps in the background. (I had wanted to check by listening again, but the flippin’ thing keeps throwing up an error).

It is such a distinct sound, it could almost be categorised as product placement!