Archives for October 2007

Boo to Trick or Treat

Chris Vallance | 17:06 UK time, Wednesday, 31 October 2007


_44207552_pumpkin66.jpg Is the prospect of handing out sweets under threat of being tricked this Halloween sending a shiver down your spine? Edmund Wright, a philosopher with an interest in play and narrative, emailed us to share his concern that trick-or-treat is, in effect, a school for tiny extortionists. Here's what he wrote:

It provides a splendid run-in for anyone wanting to set up a protection racket when he grows up, or even to begin life as a blackmailer. It has been imported from America, no doubt as a result of Spielberg's 'E.T.', and the eagerness of firms to work in their advertisements parasitically on any children's fad.

And in a little monologue we recorded this afternoon, he enlarges upon his concerns:

Well, is Wright right? Or is he a later-day Scrooge crying humbug to the spirit Halloween fun? There are certainly a few sympathetic people.

And if you are reading this after Halloween, how was trick-or-treat for you? Did you feel extorted or were you happy to pass around the toffee? Are you a parent shuddering at the thought of law-suits and dental bills? Your thoughts welcome.

UPDATE: Hmmm my own experiences last night included pavements covered with smashed eggs and fireworks lobbed like mortars in the general direction of the bus-stop. So I'm in exactly the right frame of mind to read this modest proposal: an economist at the American Enterprise institute argues, having surveyed a basket of sweetie bags and found most of the content inedible, that the economic cost of Trick-or-Treat is 1.5 billion dollars (that's roughly the amount the author estimates is wasted in disgusting candy usually given away at Halloween). The solution the author identifies is to give money not sweets. Now I may be no economist, but I think there may be significant counterparty risk associated with that scheme - more eggs and fireworks anyone?

UPDATE II: The Police Inspector Blog takes a different view in an entertaining post:

As a Constable, I used to enjoy responding to these calls by broadcasting the descriptions given over the radio channel. “The informant says the offenders are about 5 ft tall, dressed in a white sheet with chains, one has a bolt through his neck and huge stitches on his forehead and the other has fangs and blood dripping from his chin, over”.

In his view the desire to ban trick-or-treating is another example of society making childhood a crime.

Can wearing a poppy show bias?

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Marc | 11:23 UK time, Wednesday, 31 October 2007


The annual Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion ahead of Remembrance Sunday is well underway. Politicians and presenters on TV are already sporting a poppy, as are many members of the public.


The question has been raised though by "Bystander", who is Britain's most popular blogging magistrate whether or not JPs ought to wear the symbol while they're sitting on the bench, dispensing justice. Could it lead to accusations of bias? You can read in full the comments received here, but "Bystander", whose blog has now had more than 1m page views, told iPM more about the conversation on his blog:

We're hoping to hear from the Magistrates Association later.

If you have any thoughts about whether sitting magistrates should wear a poppy while on the bench, let us know by posting in the comments section below.

Update on Wednesday from Marc:

I've spoken to the Magistrates Association, who sadly aren't willing to provide someone for interview. They told me that there is no official policy regarding poppies for JPs, merely that "it's a matter for individual magistrates to decide". The MA "might" form a policy if it's raised as an issue through the official channels by a JP, but "it's not been raised recently, so we're not considering it actively"

The Human Circadian Clock

Rupert Allman | 16:18 UK time, Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Rupert: We picked up this earlier post from Peter Lewis:

"How long does it take you to recover from the "daylight saving" time shift? I keep waking up an hour early for over a week. It is a form of jet-lag without the carbon footprint. I plan to keep a log this year to see when I surface from sleep. Under stable conditions I will wake up at most half an hour before the alarm goes off. Most often the time is less than 15 minutes before. Sunday does not count, start on Monday."

Peter is not alone. This week saw the publication of new research into how humans cope with the clock change. iPM has been speaking to one of its authors Professor Till Roenneberg

More here too. A chance to find out more about your chronotype, are you a morning person or a night owl?

29 Oct: Tube map, poppy campaign, shortest recipes…

Rupert Allman | 16:55 UK time, Monday, 29 October 2007


Each week we list the stories and ideas we're working on for the coming Saturdays iPM programme at 5.30pm. (First programme is Saturday 10 Nov, but we've been developing the blog and our ideas over the last few weeks.)

To comment on our ideas or suggest stories you think we should cover, leave us a message here.

As stories get picked up and developed we'll blog about them and add updates. You can comment at any point. Visit In production to see what we're working on.

UPDATE: This week's rough notes are a bit of a "show and tell" experiment. We've recorded a brief chat about some of the stories we're thinking of, plus a tour through the websites referenced. We hope you like it - there's more detail on the links below. And before you ask no BBC camera crews were harmed in the making of this film, we just recorded it at our desks on a laptop using image capture software - which explains why you can hear Chris loudly bashing the not very effective optical mouse about.

More details on this week's "proto-stories" below:

rupert_55.jpgRupert: A Design Classic? Transport for London is considering a new "improved" map of the tube. Some are not convinced. Has this design classic been ruined by an overload of information? Also, car sharing for those without a car. But does this idea from Walkbudi make sense?

mark_55.jpgMarc: Lest We Forget - this year's poppy campaign is clearly more political than in the past. Does that cause some a problem? More soon. Oh and if you like facebook - is breast always best?

chris_55.jpg Chris: One from the kitchen table. Are these the shortest recipes in the world? We'll see if they can be long on taste as well as short on detail. UPDATE: Chris says, I'm not sure they are the shortest, (water-boil-egg) surely takes that prize, but they are all less than 140 characters which is tough limit for an entire online cookbook.

george_55.jpg George: This case is about to start in the US. Yahoo is accused of “aiding and abetting” the torture committed against Chinese dissidents by handing over the names + IP addresses of Wang Xiaoning and Shi Tao - blogger and journalist. We'll debate what responsibilities internet companies have to protect the anonymity of users in the countries in which they operate.

jenny_55.jpgJenny: I've been speaking to six billion others. It's big and ambitious and we hope to hear more from the people behind it all.

If you've a thought about these or other stories you'd like us to cover, email ipm or leave a note in the comments. View our links to see the pages that have caught our attention:

Tom Reynolds: blogger and ambulance worker

Chris Vallance | 15:55 UK time, Friday, 26 October 2007


The My Bookmarks section of this blog is a chance for interesting people to tell us about the websites they couldn't do without. This week we ask one of Britain's best known bloggers, Ambulance worker Tom Reynolds, for his favourite sites:

The links Tom mentioned were: Twitter, Warren Ellis, and The Police Inspector's Blog Who should we speak to for the next "My Bookmarks"? Drop a note in comments if you have a suggestion.

Compare and contrast

Marc | 14:58 UK time, Friday, 26 October 2007



Each week here on the iPM blog, we'll post a running order of how the programme looks in its embryonic form after our Monday meeting. What we hope will make iPM unique for the BBC is that YOU then send in your comments or suggestions about the stories, pointing us to material elsewhere on the internet that you know about that will enhance the item.

However...severe technical problems suffered by all BBC blogs during the week meant we weren't able to show you the running order as we'd hoped.

We can do so now, as most of the issues have been resolved, so here's what iPM looked like on Monday afternoon:


And here's where we are late on Friday afternoon:


How far can you get in 2 seconds from a camera?

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Marc | 17:05 UK time, Thursday, 25 October 2007


Among the ideas raised in our Monday meeting was this blog, where a man sets the timer on his camera to two seconds - and then runs away.

Tracking him down proved easy - after all, his blog has a handy "contact me" link on it. Getting him to talk to iPM proved harder. My best efforts only resulted in a succession of polite refusals - although eventually the man behind the photos agreed to answer some questions by email.

So here are some of his photos, as well as his story in his own words...


My name is Gert R - I'd rather you didn't use my full name. I'm a 47 year old Dutchman, living in Rotterdam but working in Amsterdam. To pay the bills I work as a web developer, but I'm also an artist, making installations and sculptures.


I've been taking these photos for around 18 months now. I don't go out of my way to take a picture, so the vast majority of them are taken near my house or near my job. That is one of the things I like about them, I am photographing places I normally would not think about photographing. I do it mainly for my own amusement, and for some faraway friends.


I've now got around 70 pictures, taken at irregular intervals, when I feel like it and see an opportunity. Apart from falling once and hurting myself, they've all worked. Usually it is over before anyone notices, plus I tend to use quiet spots, because usually I am on my own and I have to leave my camera more or less unattended!


Normally I don't have a tripod handy, so I have to leave my camera balanced on something. This is the biggest factor in how far I get; the more unstable the camera is, the more carefully I have to press the button, and that tends to make for a slow start.

Shared tastes in literature, music and more?

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Marc | 14:42 UK time, Thursday, 25 October 2007


mark_55.jpg No, this isn't a very bad "lonely hearts" advert, but the fruits of an interesting website I was alerted to and raised in our ideas meeting earlier this week.

The Literature Map builds a visual representation of authors, showing how close one is to the next, based on submissions from thousands of people.

Here's one, based around George Orwell:

You can have a go yourself here. Do you think it works? Share your thoughts about the Literature Map in the comments section below.

I've been speaking to the man behind the Literature Map, Marek Gibney, who works in Hamburg. He told me how the Literature Map is just one of his projects that uses Artificial Intelligence to build up a picture of people's tastes...

Back to Reality...

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Chris Vallance | 14:28 UK time, Thursday, 25 October 2007


George and I think we're back in the real world, having returned from the Virtual Worlds Forum (VWF) yesterday, though admittedly the office can seem one step removed.

Apparently, 60 million people participate in some kind of computer generated alternative reality; by population alone that's another country. Mindbogglingly, that also means there's 60 million people with another identity, possibly another life, in a computer environment. So what are people like in their virtual lives - do they have purple hair, do they change their gender or become a new species? This is what VWF participants were prepared to admit to:

OK, so you might dip your toe in a virtual world now and again, for a spot of R&R with some vaguely polygonal looking mates, but what about going to work there? Peter Dunkley's a consultant who gave up bricks and mortar to work in a virtual office:

Wagner James Au's been reporting on the virtual world, Second Life, longer than just about anyone. You can read his reports on his blog New World Notes. Lord Puttnam, the conference keynote speaker, argued that the companies running virtual worlds need to learn lessons from government. In James Au's view the development of Second Life has already recapitulated the history of at least one real-world government:

One of the most ambitious efforts to blend virtual reality and actual reality comes from China. The Beijing Cyber Recreation District is a virtual counterpart to an real part of the city. As the project's chief scientist Robert Lai explains, the virtual world influences the real one and vice versa:

Business is a strong motive for the Cyber Recreation District. Justin Bovington of Rivers Run Red has been helping businesses get into virtual worlds for years. But is it all hype? Not according to Justin:

The last part of Justin's interview touched a nerve for me. Broadcasters have been keen to race into Second Life and in many ways it's a "safe" environment. But we haven't really strayed into the other worlds out there. If you're a regular visitor to a virtual world outside Second Life (or you participate in a part of it that you think deserves media coverage) drop us a note. Perhaps our next Outside Broadcast will come from World of Warcraft, (the BBC risk assessment form should be a joy for that one!)

Are we all chasing the same happiness?

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Jennifer Tracey | 11:18 UK time, Thursday, 25 October 2007


French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is asking 6,000 people across six countries to 'create a portrait of the planet's inhabitants'.

6 Billion Others is filming ordinary people talking about their hopes, dreams and aspirations in a really simple and moving way.

6 Billion Others home page

The first part of the project finishes in 2008 and then you can add your own testimony - it feels like the web was made for a project like this.

Chris and George at the Virtual Worlds Forum

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Marc | 23:33 UK time, Wednesday, 24 October 2007


chris_55.jpggeorge_55.jpg We're spending the day at the first ever Virtual Worlds Forum in London. It brings together some of the big hitters in new media, IT, games companies and the like.

We'll put the best material we get from here on to the blog over the coming days.

For starters, Chris Vallance spoke at the conference to Lord Triesman, the minister responsible for intellectual property, and began by asking him what he thought the goverment's role in virtual worlds actually was...

UPDATE: There's more on this over at News Online

In the interview Lord Triesman calls for a more active role for Internet Service Providers in identifying breaches of intellectual property rights, and says that "where people have registered music as an intellectual property ... we will be able to match data banks of that music to music going out and being exchanged on the net." Blogger and digital rights activist Cory Doctorow was at the conference and told us that Lord Triesman's comments were 'misbegotten'.

Frank Warren: founder of PostSecret

Chris Vallance | 22:40 UK time, Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Every week on iPM we'll have a segment where interesting people tell us about their must-visit websites, the ones they check every day. This week we ask PostSecret's Frank Warren to tell us about some of his favourite bookmarks. PostSecret is one of the most popular blogs on the web (more about it here).

Frank's bookmarks were Found, Wooster and For more on PostSecret there's a longer BBC interview with Frank Warren talking about about PostSecret here:

Random Ideas for the Week 22 Oct 07

Chris Vallance | 12:26 UK time, Monday, 22 October 2007


Rough Notes for 22 Oct 07. This section is our virtual journalists' notepad. It’s the place where we sketch out our initial thoughts and set down random ideas and rough jottings for Saturday’s programme. We'll tear off a new sheet of internet paper at the start of every week and we invite you to scrawl your thoughts in the comments.

Stories catching our attention this week:

mark_55.jpgMarc: Have you ever wondered if your taste in books is shared by others? could have the answer. Submit an author's name and the site will suggest other authors you might like. We hope to hear from the team behind the website and ask a blogging Professor of English Literature if these recommendations really work.

Another blog that's caught my eye lately is Running from camera. Set up by a Dutchman, this blog does exactly what it says on the tin. He sets the camera's self-timer to two seconds, pushes the button and then tries to get as far from the camera as he can.

chris_55.jpg Chris: I'm interested in how Kurdish and Turkish bloggers view the latest crisis embroiling the two peoples. Blogs can be an effective way of finding first person accounts of life in troubled parts of the world. If you've read a good blog from the region (or are writing one) please drop me a line or leave a comment.

george_55.jpg George: I'll be at the Virtual Worlds Forum in London on Wednesday 24 Oct. There's an interesting lineup of people discussing the future of 'the metaverse', with representatives from Second Life, World of Warcraft and the British and Chinese governments. We'll collar some of them and look for stories to bring back to the real world.

jenny_55.jpgJenny: I'm interested in why we still opt for euphemisms when writing our blogs? And I've been reading the Mental Nurse blog and thinking how iPM can cover some of the online discussions about our mental health. There's a lot of powerful and moving writing on the web on this subject.

If you've a thought about these or other stories you'd like us to cover, email ipm or leave a note in the comments. View our links to see the pages that have caught our attention:

Box not-so-clever

Marc | 15:46 UK time, Friday, 19 October 2007


Ah, the joys of having an idea...

I'll be honest with you, the way I conceived how this piece would sound on air hasn't matched the reality. There seemed a lot of interest both on the internet and in the very first iPM meeting in the story - how using shipping containers could solve housing shortages.

The story had a number of intriguing angles: the trade imbalance with China means thousands of containers end up at docks on this side of the globe, but don't go back there because we don't export enough in return; aid agencies are examining using containers as emergency housing in areas hit by earthquakes; and the demand for low-cost housing, for students and key workers, could see containers coming into their own.

Trawling the internet turned up one of the UK's pre-eminent firms involved in transforming containers; I envisaged hearing a representative talk lyrically from inside what-was-once a container, all the audio having something of a metallic "twang" as our words bounced off the cargo shell. Sadly, for reasons I can't go into, that didn't happen.

Neither did I get to speak to the company involved in the stacking of shipping containers.
Neither could the council, which has several containers as offices, provide someone for me to interview.

Finally, I spoke to Adam Kalkin an architect based in New Jersey, who converts shipping containers into homes in America....

PTSD and crime

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Chris Vallance | 17:22 UK time, Thursday, 18 October 2007


bystander.jpgI'm a fan of The Magistrate's blog. Bystander, the blogger, works in a busy court, and his observations on the system are always worth reading. In this post he asks a question which I think some of our audience may be able to help answer.

In yet another case, (and one of a type that I expect to see more of) a serviceman of long service and good character had driven while way over the drink limit; medical and other reports suggested that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might be present following a strenuous tour in Iraq during which he was in a constant state of fear, and saw some horrible events.
We treated each case on its merits - not always an easy decision though. [..] As I said, I fear that we have not seen the last of these.

Cleary Bystander's concern is that more servicemen and former servicemen with PTSD are ending up in the legal system. If you've experience relevant to this we'd love to hear from you. Drop us an email, or leave a note in comments.

Add DNA, then stir

George South | 19:00 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2007


We're hoping to pull together a story on the collision of DNA testing and genealogical research. The internet has kickstarted lots of interest in amateur family tree sleuthing, using public records and online archives to track down relatives. And for several years now people have been analysing their DNA samples to find out just how many degrees of separation they are from King Arthur, Napoleon or Kevin Bacon.

The US-based genealogy site has taken it a step further, launching a social network where users can share information about their DNA and make connections with others who share their genes. I've been speaking to them, and to some other people worried about the privacy and social implications of this. We often hear of the dangers of Facebook and MySpace for the unaware, but there's obvious potential for some nasty surprises when genetic records are thrown in the mix.

But we need your help. We're interested in what happens when genealogical research goes pear-shaped. In other words, we're hoping to speak to someone who has set out to find out about their history, but found some unwanted skeletons in the closet. According to, 2% of British people find a bigamist in their family tree -- and a whopping 47% of those in Wales find a secret adoption in their lineage. So we want to hear your stories. Let us know in the comments, or send us an email at


This finally aired on the PM programme on Monday. It morphed into a rather different piece, since launched their DNA service in the UK over the weekend, allowing users to send in a swab of saliva to be analysed for a number of genetic markers. A few organisations we spoke to originally while looking into the launch said they were keen to see how the social networking features would be implemented, in the light of all the privacy issues surrounding networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. When Privacy International made a formal complaint about the service to the Information Commissioner, the independent authority set up to protect personal information, we decided to tackle the issue head-on.

Living in a box

Marc | 17:33 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2007


My unhealthy interest in shipping containers (thanks, Rupert) has led me here and iPM should be hearing from one man who's making a living from turning the containers into housing and more.

You can find out where else in the world it's happening here and here as well

Here's how Tower Hamlet council is using shipping containers:


They've been turned into offices at a leisure centre in Mile End in east London.

We'd also like to know if you've seen any containers turned into something else - a shop, a home, a school? You can send your photos to

Latest Running Order

Rupert Allman | 16:22 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2007


As we thought, this week's virtual running order has changed a bit. Couple of updates. The story about Sunday being a bad day to die is moving forward, but something that's going to take a while to pull together. Chris has had some success with the man behind PostSecret- more on that to come. And Marc knows more about China and the global container glut than is healthy. News to come about DNA, we think of interest to anyone who is trying to answer the question "Who Do You Think You Are?"

My own interest in the Knights Templar has been picked up by my colleagues and Carolyn will bring you the latest on PM this afternoon. And we are still trying to find something that's passably funny. So our revised running order is looking like this:


Jane Stillwater in Iraq

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Chris Vallance | 11:36 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2007


I'd mentioned in our rough notes section that Jane Stillwater a 65-year old Californian grandmother and blogger was back on another self-funded embed in Iraq. Well last night she called in, and below is the raw of that interview. Now when it comes to iPM's broadcast, obviously we'd get Eddie to do the interview (I'll run this one on Pods and Blogs), but here's more or less the full raw audio and some questions for you: Is this the kind of interview you'd like to hear? Is there a follow-up interview that we should do or would this stand on its own? And how much does the poor phone-quality bother you?

For more information about Jane you can visit her blog here. Or you might want to read one of the many news articles that have been written about her. I particularly liked this account of Jane at a press conference during her first trip to the country (From the San Jose Mercury News):

The violence didn't keep her from wanting to return, but she wasn't sure she'd be allowed because of questions she asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell at a news conference. Stillwater asked McCain: "Since the invasion of Iraq was such a disaster, are you going to go ahead and invade Iran?" He declined to comment.

Reading that you might think you can guess what Jane thinks of the military she's embedded with - but you'd be wrong. Take a listen.

Et tu Bloggers?

George South | 18:38 UK time, Tuesday, 16 October 2007


So who really "wielded the knife" that speared Ming Campbell last night? The search is underway to identify a backstabber lurking in the wings, but some Liberal Democrats are putting the blame for the leader's resignation on the party's rising group of bloggers. Critical posts in the past week by key bloggers like Jo Hayes and Nich Starling were picked up in the media and were, some think, the final straw for Ming.

But just how powerful are blogs, and can they really change the political weather, or just report it? Dr Blog AKA Chris Vallance spoke this afternoon with Nich Starling AKA Norfolk Blogger.

This is the first piece of iPM web audio. Although the first programme doesn’t air until November 10, we'll be regularly putting up interviews and voice pieces on the website before then, to help us find our feet. Any comments / angry denunciations welcome, and if you've got an idea for something you'd like us to look at, head over to the Rough Notes section of the blog and let us know.

UPDATE: Re Nich's comment below. The audio player is a limited experiment and we're still getting used to it. I think there was a glitch in the upload which caused the premature end to the audio. It's fixed, thanks to Nich for alerting us.

Running Order 20 Oct 07

Chris Vallance | 16:42 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2007


Here's the outline running order. It's how, at this very early stage, the programme is looking. If you think we've got things the wrong way round do drop a note in comments. This post will update as the week progresses:


Random Ideas for the week 15 Oct 07

Chris Vallance | 15:57 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2007


Welcome to our Rough Notes for 15th Oct O7 This section is our virtual journalists' notepad. It’s the place where we sketch out our initial thoughts and set down random ideas and rough jottings for Saturday’s programme. We'll tear off a new sheet of internet paper at the start of every week and we invite you to scrawl your thoughts in the comments.

So for this week here are some of the stories that caught our attention:

Magic and the law, how do magicians use the law to protect their secrets? (Rupert)

FiFi dropped a note in the comments to with a story, "Don't die on a Sunday" - about how hard it was to get morphine for terminally ill patients on a Sunday - and more besides... (Rupert)

The Secrets of the Knights Templar. Not entirely sure what we'd do on this, but it's a great tale. (Rupert)

A piece on lost train stations. Could we collect memories of our lost railway heritage? (Chris)

Hack your lifestyle. I like Ikea Hacker and Life Hacker. Perhaps there's a discussion to be on "life hacking" (Chris)

Now I 've lost the link for this one so perhaps you can help, but I remember reading about a mum who was blogging efforts to get her child to eat more vegetables. Seemed like a topic we'll all have an opinion on (Chris)

Shipping containers as houses? (we're not sure about this it might be a bit old) (Marc) UPDATE on Tues at 4pm from Marc. It turns out that East London already has a development of shipping containers converted into homes. I need to look into this more to see if it's worth pursuing. UPDATED UPDATE on Weds at 3.30pm from Marc. The company in East London doesn't want to play ball with iPM, while companies involved in the work outside of the UK are proving elusive. This item might need reconsidering.

OK it's a bit thin this Monday - so we really need your help.

What do you know about any of these stories?
Can you point us to a great blog or a website that would really add to our knowledge and help us tell the story?
Do you have ideas for other stories we ought to be looking into?

Although we won't broadcast anything yet, we'll post some interviews here - and I may use them on Pods and Blogs.

Do also take a look at our links to see the pages that have caught our attention. Links below:

We want more than your photo!

Eddie Mair | 16:45 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007



Welcome to the iPM blog.

The chances are you're here to see photos taken by PM listeners, portraying their sense of self. To see them, just click on the "ipm gallery" on the right. But HANG ON!

Can I take a moment to explain why we're interested in this "i" business?

iPM is a brand new blog and a brand new programme on BBC Radio 4.

The iPM Blog is up and running right now - you're looking at it. The iPM programme starts on Saturday November the 10 at 17.30 GMT. It'll also be a podcast so don't worry if Saturday teatimes are a bad time for you.

It's iPM because each weekly radio programme will have its content formed by YOU. The programme isn't about the internet or technology. It's simply a more individual, interactive news and current affairs programme. The content of the programme will be shaped by what happens here on the iPM Blog.

There's a full explanation here. Please feel free to have a rummage around this page and all the links on it. Meet the team - especially Mr Blog – who’ll make the programme happen.

There will be lots going on here from now on. We'd love you to read us regularly. Better still, we'd love you to take part.


How to send your photos

Jennifer Tracey | 16:25 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007


We're creating a gallery of images that reflect 'i', if you're not sure where to start, try this for inspiration.

We're using the photo-sharing website to display our iPM gallery which means you can upload your image onto the Flickr website at directly and it will be posted straight away.

Step 1
Create an account at (it only takes a minute and no time at all if you already have a Yahoo! account).
If you already have an account proceed to Step 2.

Step 2
Join the iPM Flickr group at:

Step 3
Upload your picture to your Flickr account

Step 4
Send it to the iPM Group

You can view all your images on our group page at

UPDATED 18 Dec 07: Please note we're no longer adding images that have been emailed to us to the iPM gallery - apologies. You're very welcome to contribute but you will need to have a Flickr account.

If you find all this too daunting please email us your image (jpg format is best - try to keep the file size as small as you can) and we'll help you post it to Flickr.

  • Put ‘iPM Gallery’ in the subject line

  • Remember to give us your name

  • Read and agree to the BBC terms and conditions*. By sending us an image we will assume you’ve agreed to them.

Please remember all the photos will be posted on a third-party website and open to the public. Only send us pictures that you have taken yourself and check the Flickr terms of service before sending - thanks.

Finally, if you prefer you can post your image to us. Please give us your name, read the terms and conditions* and tell us that you agree to them:
iPM Gallery
Room G601, BBC News Centre
London, W12 7JR
(Sorry, we’re not able to return any)

*Terms and conditions
If you submit an image to us by email, you do so in accordance with the BBC's Terms and Conditions. In contributing to iPM you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media. It's important to note, however, that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to iPM. This means you are perfectly free to take what you have produced and re-publish it somewhere else.

Please note that if your image is accepted, we will publish it alongside your name on, which is a third-party website. The BBC cannot guarantee that all pictures will be published and we reserve the right to edit your comments.

Stories we're working on

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Chris Vallance | 15:58 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007


We’ll post up our notes in this section about the stories we’re working on for the programme.

So, for example, we might start work on an item on the new Post Secret Blog book

We'll write down some of the steps and ideas we're having on the way to producing the finished item, including some of our pre-interviews. But what we really want here is your assistance. Put your thoughts and observations on how we might develop stories in the comments or email the programme. You might want to suggest different guests we can speak to, angles we haven't covered, or different ways of approaching the story. You can do that here.

Rough notes

Chris Vallance | 15:43 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007


This section is our virtual journalists notepad. It’s the place where we sketch out our initial thoughts and set down random ideas and rough jottings for Saturday’s programme. We'll tear off a new sheet of internet paper at the start of every week and we invite you to scrawl your thoughts in the comments.

We're keen on your ideas for stories, or aspects of ideas that we might not have thought about, or just something you think we should look at. At our 3pm Tuesday production meeting, we'll whittle down our ideas and list these in the ‘In production section’. You can jump in there and develop those ideas too. We'll be checking in here regularly for inspiration and to jot down our own brainwaves. I've put down some ideas to get the ball rolling:

Those are some of our thoughts, feel free to add your own in the comments

The iPM team

Chris Vallance | 15:13 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007


eddie_pic.jpgEddie In his first job in radio, Eddie Mair once had to dress up as a giant panda. It's been downhill since then, really.

rupert.jpgRupert is currently making up his mind whether to spend money on an old Italian sports car or get another cat. Unlike other members of the team, he does own a television.

mark.jpgMarc is the number two on the iPM team, a position he has risen to without trace or indeed explanation. When not working at the BBC, Marc likes Bulgarian poetry, whittling wood, restoring sheds and making up random nonsense about himself.

chris.jpg Chris (aka Mr Blog): Chris’s first radio job was with WGN in Chicago. If you've ever watched Frasier, I was like Ros but without the exciting love life. We don't have a TV but we have more books than bricks in the flat. I own too many microphones..

george_again.jpgGeorge also lacks a TV, and it’s rumoured an iron, but has a rich internal life involving ukeleles, tinkering with things and talking about himself in the third person.

jenny.jpgJenny is the iPM web queen and travels far and wide online in search of stories. She grew up by the sea. She owns lots of red shoes. She has 1 TV and 4 radios, enough said.

peter.jpg Peter sits in meetings all day.

Pictures thanks to The Natural History of Selborne Blog!

What’s iPM?

Rupert Allman | 14:58 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007


iPM is a weekly programme as well as a podcast. The “i” stands for interactive and “i” as in something personal. You can discuss ideas with the production team on this blog and during the course of the week you can view and comment on stories that are being lined up for Saturday's programme.

We’ll source what we do through the best blogs, passionate 'ear catching' online debate as well as comments and recommendations of others. So what ends up on air will be shaped by listeners and bloggers.

iPM is an experiment. It’ll take advantage of the huge number of conversations and sources that take place every minute of every day. Our intention is to distil the very best and produce the type of programme that you'll find interesting and engaging.

We'll be as transparent as we can about the ideas and guests that make it to air. Our blog will explain why some ideas and stories get dropped or squeezed out. Also, by posting our rough ideas in front of the audience, we're also inviting the well-informed and blog-savvy to help us develop a particular idea.

So, we're open to all opinion, alternative takes on stories old and new, and aim to shine a light on issues that are under reported or not considered traditional fare for a news and current affairs programme. Whatever the final result, we hope you’ll find the programme interesting and want to take part.


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