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Just been having a

Eddie Mair | 08:25 UK time, Thursday, 5 April 2007

mini-meeting about The Glass Box. As you know we've tinkered around with it as an occasional concept, but with the idea of making it a fixture here on the blog. We're working on ways of introducing it on the programme, to give people an idea how it works.

We're planning a montage of voices - editors, producers, reporters - as they talk about what the "real" glass box means for the editorial process. We may also broadcast, or put on the blog, a recording from part of a "real" glass box session, for illustration purposes.

It's been genuinely useful to read people's comments about the programmes - and even in the absence of a regular presence here on the Blog, people are using it as a forum for criticism and observation. We love it.


  1. At 08:59 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    "It's been genuinely useful to read people's comments about the programmes - and even in the absence of a regular presence here on the Blog, people are using it as a forum for criticism and observation. We love it."

    Perhaps you could pass that message on to the Moderators, Eddie? ;o)

  2. At 09:04 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    We love it too, Eddie. Your ideas suggested above are excellent - it has been really interesting lately to hear about items which were planned, then couldn't go out, and to know why. It adds another dimension to the programme.

  3. At 09:22 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh dear, moderated again.

  4. At 09:51 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Molly wrote:


    Although it's great to know what's going on 'behind the scenes', surely you don't feel the necessity to always justify and explain when things go awray! I wouldn't, in my work...
    Still, the "Box" is a super idea- audience participation like no-where else!
    I agree entirely with Gillian! Love it!


  5. At 10:04 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Sounds like a good idea. It would be interesting to have a glimpse of life behind the programme. Anything which encourages audience feedback ought, in general, to help improve the programme's appeal. (As if it could be improved. What am I saying?)

    Do you propose that this should be a package in a single programme or another of those soundbites you keep on having during each show?

    It's axiomatic that it must point the listener toward the Blog Glass Box thread. For which purpose you will need to categorise these threads on the right hand bar of the Blog, just like the 'Beach' and 'Furrowed Brow' etc.

    Speaking of which that area probably needs a mini-cull. Perhaps removing the two 'Hugh in..' links and replacing them with a single 'Hugh in' link bringing them all together and permitting future additions by Hugh the Hack under the same heading.

    Time for 'Nils' and the 'Shipping' links to go? However I wouldn't mind seeing more interaction like the Hugh, Yvonne in France and Nils threads. I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing their photos and thoughts on the Blog, and also the way it has allowed them (Hugh especially) to take and answer questions from the Bloggers.

    You are up for a Sony as an interactive programme. Here is one form of true interaction;

    Encourage your journo's and correspondents to provide material for the Blog, textual and / or pictorial.
    Get it posted, with comments.
    Encourage us to get involved, and finally;
    Ask the journo's to monitor comments and reply.

    I can see that the recent content, mentioned above, is a step down that road. More of it please?

    Much is made of citizen journalism. Perhaps there is a small niche for that kind of thing, but only a small one. I'd rather have professional journalism, partly informed by the public, perhaps in this manner.

    What say you?


  6. At 10:18 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    What's with these bookmarking links that have suddenly appeared just beneath Eddie's posting? Or am I the only one seeing them?

  7. At 10:23 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    I think this is an excellent concept and I'm glad that the big people at PM seem to be behind it, to encourage honest debate and views on the show itself.

    I second Gillian about the 'outtakes' not used on the programme being available here instead. This side of things has the potential to be developed tremendously, particularly with those articles which are trailered and then dropped in favour of breaking-news.

    It is also fascinating to know more about the kind of thinking which goes into the show, and why particular approaches are taken, or why certain people are interviewed. So Bravo!

  8. At 10:27 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    It's a good idea, of course. However, for it to be a discussion, it would need presumably to be done in a different format.

    If it's just comments you want, then a feedback link would also do.

    Or, could the different items on a programme have an audio link with comment box below? That would make it easier to reference back prior to commenting. Surely not too clunky if taken down after 24 hours?

    But, as all this may be too elaborate, I repeat that being able to offer feedback is a great idea, however it's achieved. It probably just needs to be in a more ordered way from your point of view so that you don't have to fly around over all the different threads.

  9. At 10:35 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Apropos of nothing on this thread, I've just received this from Fifi re Blackie:

    "No sign of him yesterday either ... and last night the food and milk I'd put out wasn't touched. I don't think the little guy will be back again now ... I think this is it.

    I'll keep the food and liquids going for a day or two just in case someone else has taken him to a vet. But honestly, I don't really believe that."

    She's not feeling up to frogging, but has asked something be posted. I'll also post on the Beach.

  10. At 10:58 AM on 05 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    As a bit of a part-timer recently (no-timer?), I had to nip back in time to check that my understanding of The Glass Box was right, so my first comment is that I agree with Si's suggestion above - a category link would be really useful.

    My second comment is that in time-slipping like that, I happened upon a comment (damn, didn't note the name) from somebody having a go at Eddie's broadcasting style. Hmm, interesting that. There are all sorts of programmes on TV and radio that can be placed into a broad "new/current affairs" category, and everybody is free to choose which they listen to or watch - surely the "style" should feature in the choice. I know Nick Clarke was hugely admired, respected and plain liked as a presenter of TWAO. Objectively, I understand this, but personally didn't like his style and so tended not to listen to it. I like the wry humour and tongue-in-cheek comments - that's one of the reasons I listen to PM.

    That said, if I have one criticism (and I suspect I'll be open to a flaming for this) it's that, sometimes, I don't think Eric does "grilling" very well. I'm not sure what the word is that I need to explain what I mean, but the closest I can get to it is "petulant". And that's not really it. Perhaps I mean "uncharacteristically petulant" - in the sense that it sounds like he trying to "do" grilling. I remember once trying to "do" "stern disciplinary interviewing" and I made a right hash of it.

    Going back to Si's comments - his format suggestion is an interesting one. I'm not a huge fan of vox pop. Yes, I am aware of the potential for irony here. But I want reasoned coverage - which to me means professionals gleaning information from multiple sources and trying to make sense of it. I read a great rant by Polly Toynbee on the Guardian site the other day about the press and particularly the press coverage of the Brown/pension story. For some, it would be a blatant lefty rant. But it was also the only time I've actually seen some of the alternative arguments. It helped me achieve a modicum of balance that I'd been missing before. The point of this - if there is one - is that it can sometimes be difficult enough to divine the real state of things when professional journos are having their say. Trying to make sense a zillion individual points of view is just impossible. Ultimately, if everybody told it like it is from their perspective, it might be the ideal way to understand things. But what you actually get is a range or responses which include some people giving honest opinions, some making political points, some grinding axes, some trying to be rational, etc.

    Golly, how can you tell I've got work to finish?

  11. At 11:34 AM on 05 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes, what are these bookmark links on our blog about Eddie?

  12. At 11:39 AM on 05 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; John H above:

    I don't think Eric does "grilling" very well.

    Possibly a valid point, coming from you!

    Preumably you are the John H that presents the 'Today programme' ;-)

  13. At 11:42 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Peter Jones wrote:

    I can identify with Molly (4) - I wouldn't be too keen on my mistakes getting the airing that PMs do on the blog. But I must admit I like it. It makes the programme more interesting when you have been privvy to some of the challenges in putting it together. When our feedback is listened to and often taken heed of, it also makes you feel that you have a bit of a stake in it. Only a small stake perhaps ! but certainly more than exists with any other news programme on either TV or radio that I watch or listen to. Certainly since the blog started I tune in almost every day compared to perhaps 3 times a week which I did before. Which I suppose must have been one of your objectives? I reckon you might have cracked this broadcasting lark Eddie.

  14. At 12:06 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    As others have said more eruditely than me - good plan, makes one feel involved.

    btw I've just heard that people have been stuck for over 3 hours on a motorway somewhere (M6?) and it won't be open until at least 1pm, if then. Poor them, and poor people involved in the accident that's closed it.

  15. At 12:18 PM on 05 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Lyons for chairman - so Eddies keeping his powder dry this time around!

    next time, and we've got a song for you!


  16. At 12:21 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Oh, Sis, what are you up to?

    Eric, this 'glass box' sounds worthwhile, if it

    1: It gives us, your listeners, an insight into the thinking behind the final shape of the programme, and

    2. It gives you, the programme makers, an insight into how it's worked.

    Also, and don't tell the grown-ups, it might be fun. And illuminating. (But watch the carbon footprint)

  17. At 12:31 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Re: the rather cryptic links which people are asking about. Thye link out to non-BBC news reading websites.

    You will need to register to use them. They may install some software code on your PC. Once there you can customise the news you want presented to you. If you wish they try to learn the genres of content you are interested in viewing. When an item appears which seems to fit your criteria then you will be presented with it. By accepting or deleting it the system continually updates your profile and refines what it will show you. You can also manually add news items / genres / threads to your profile and thus build your profile actively.


  18. At 12:35 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    I'd beg to differ over Eddie's ability to grill - I love the way he so often gets the interviewee to expose themselves by gentle probing and tossing in the odd hand grenade disguised as an innocent query.

    I don't enjoy the sort of grilling which involves shouting at the interviewee or interrupting at every possible moment, which is why I now no longer listen to much of the Today programme. However, I do echo comments made on an earlier thread that the interview with Louise Casey was uncharacteristically irritable in tone.

    I like the glass box idea, and with others appreciate hearing what might be in the running order, and then why we heard what was actually aired.

    Opportunities to engage with reporters of the calibre of Hugh and Nils are also very welcome.

  19. At 12:45 PM on 05 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; Izzy T'Me-

    Excellent! Traffic reports on the blog -- I like it - a lot of drivers would appreciate a quick round-up on PM - would save them being RDS'd to their local station or flipping across to Chris Evans.

    A 30" traffic report would serve more purpose than Valery, Dan, Joan etc.. popping us and telling us about the blog.

  20. At 01:00 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Isn't anybody going to explain the new bookmark links? I daren't click on any of them for fear of crashing something, and it certainly isn't the bongs.

  21. At 01:04 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Oh, Eddie! They've appointed someone else as Chairman (WatO, 1300).

    Boo, and likewise hiss!

    But I do hope he lets the healing begin.

  22. At 01:04 PM on 05 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Anne P. - I didn't hear the interview in question, but I agree entirely with your other point. I meant "grilling" as a style, not as an outcome. I also think that Eddie's strength lies in his gentle probing (given the lively consequences, have I really just allowed myself to write about Eddie's gentle probing??) - I much prefer it to his "harrying" style. Perhaps that's the one he used last night. Or perhaps he'd just banged his knee on his desk.

    I hope Eddie's not reading - it feels so rude to be talking about him as if he wasn't here if he is.

  23. At 01:10 PM on 05 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; Si (17)

    But why are they there?

    Is it to get higher page ranking in the search engines?

    Or some mutually agreed linking with them.

    Looks like Eddie isn't going to fill us in.

  24. At 01:12 PM on 05 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Jonnie - I'm not a huge fan of travel reports everywhere but Izzy T'Me mentioning the one in Cheshire led me to the BBC motorway travel news page so I could send the info to Mrs H. I did this mostly to make her feel better about being on the train back from London (rather than driving) but knew it would also affect her colleagues - so I guess it does have a value!

  25. At 01:17 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Traffic reports on the blog? My internet connection is not that good. Anyway I'd need a passenger updating me.

    Not sure if traffic reprts are any good. Locally the roads I use never even get mentiond on the local radio and so RDS a waste of time. Even when going further afield the RDS either tells you about the local stuff you don't care about or you are already stuck in the motorway problem when theydo report it ;-(

    So less adverts no traffic, just good journalism.

    Have to agree that the fat thing the other day on the talking CCTV did'nt work for me. I see where it was coming from but the question and the reply just didn't gel.

  26. At 01:23 PM on 05 Apr 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Anne P - glad you reminded me. Yes, the Louise Casey interview was very strange and I couldn't help thinking there was either a huge clash of personalities, or Eddie had a bee in his bonnet about this particular example of Nanny-Statism; it was a little Todayish (and thats not a good thing).

  27. At 01:35 PM on 05 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    The links are to a set of "community" driven news sites. Each site has a community of users that nominates and votes for news items (as far as I can gather from my brief look).

  28. At 01:39 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Isn't anybody going to explain the new bookmark links? I daren't click on any of them for fear of crashing something, and it certainly isn't the bongs.

  29. At 01:44 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Jonnie (23);
    I'm not a user, so don't know the ins-and-outs of news websites.

    I can see there are two sides to using them. A news junkie like me could bring all their interests together in one ebsite and have it presented to me, without having to go searching for it.

    But what might I NOT see, because my profile decides that I wouldn't be interested?

    As to why they've now appeared, who knows? Your guesses are probably as good as any I could offer. And I suspect that the decision to include them was taken 'upstairs' at the Beeb. So there's no reason to believe that Eddie knows either what they are or why they are now there.

    If anyone should be asked then perhaps it's NBP Marc.


  30. At 01:44 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Glad to have been of service John H! I just mentioned it 'cos I was struck by the length of time people have been stuck in the jam (strawberry or raspberry? ;o)).

  31. At 02:17 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Oh bl**dy hell, why do I let the Archers make me cry???

    Thanks for the explanation about the links above Si: I'd wondered about them too.

  32. At 02:42 PM on 05 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    (31) I never listen myself, Aperitif - there is quite enough for me to blub about as it is ... PM for example!

    I think that's partly why I dont have a telly. Separating out all the fact from the fiction is just too hard, as both get right inside and can wring tears of recognition, of sadness, of utter impotence out of my heart.

    a complete noodle

  33. At 03:20 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh, just got Cherie Blair in September!

    Throw a lifebelt to the frog somebody, quick!

  34. At 03:40 PM on 05 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    This time warping thing is doing my head in. I blame the return of Dr Who.

    Those news site links remind me of my continuing uncertainty about the "most read" list on the BBC news home page. There's something a bit odd about something which should be reflecting something but which then acts to direct that thing. Or something.

  35. At 03:46 PM on 05 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    (33) me too Big Sis, with 'recent entries' and everything!

    But the strapline was still today's !?! And how do you shake September off? it seems stuck there even when i closed down and re opened.



  36. At 05:46 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Very wise Nikki Noodle (32), very wise.

  37. At 10:45 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Val P wrote:

    Yup, I landed in September this morning and it took some crawling out, I eventually tunnelled up via the Beach Signpost, but then didn't dare try to navigate to any other threads. What on earth causes this please, Marc NBP?

  38. At 11:50 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    When these strange things start to occur, NN, I resort to the Feeds button, which (when you've got the full entries selected) shows the threads in the right places, so you can get back to where you want to be quite quickly. But the recent comments, etc., stay all skewed.

    It's a bit strange. But then BlogWorld is all a bit strange when you think it through.

    Quick wave to Appy. While we didn't agree on Hillary, we're both passionate believers at heart. Same coin, occasionally different sides.

  39. At 01:00 AM on 06 Apr 2007, whisht wrote:

    john H - yup, positive feedback.

    but not the glass box sort!! agree entirely.

    as with delicious etc. and with Si - what'd we miss when we say I only want...?

    positive feedback. If I only "care" about and ask for immigration and tax stories, then I'll have stories that only talk about immigration and tax and I'll think "oooh - blimey that's a problem!"

    as if i was reading the Daily Mail who have that as their inclusion criteria for stories.

  40. At 12:36 PM on 06 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Hello Big Sis (38), I've just posted a reply to you and Izzy and Annie on that one actually. I'm happy that we can have a passionate discussion and not fall out or get personal.

  41. At 10:58 PM on 06 Apr 2007, whisht wrote:

    blimey - there was an awful lot of words missed out in my last post! not moderated, simply... not written!

    I should learn how to review...!

    Ironic in a way that I was trying to talk about a positive feedbak loop yet didn't join my comment up into a loop.

    ah well....

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