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Victoria Derbyshire on Facebook and closing her blog

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick | 18:16 UK time, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Social Media Week: day three

We cornered Victoria in a studio during the busy run-up to her show yesterday morning. In the video she explains why Facebook is her primary social network, why she interacts with listeners using her profile and not a Facebook 'page' and the reasons for closing her blog. It's fascinating. Tell us what you think in a comment.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the 5 live blog


  • Comment number 1.

    So blogging is more difficult because you need a laptop. I would have thought that the BBC would have made one available for Victoria in order for her to be able to do her job properly. To use Victoria's well worn phrase during this interview, if I'm honest it takes no longer to make a short blog entry than it does to update FB, especially when FB is in Failbook mode as it frequently is. You don't need an essay as a blog entry, just a few lines suffices. So that explanation is taken with a large pinch of salt.

    As to the comments about Victoria having a proper FB profile rather than a page; although to a certain extent I can understand why she prefers that there is not much forward thinking going on. FB places a friend limit of 5000. This means that once she has her 5000 nobody else will be able to have the privilege or otherwise of posting on her profile. Not very convenient and not very inclusive. No where near as inclusive as a blog on the BBC! Plus although Victoria doesn't post personal and private events on her profile other people do and only make that information available to their real friends. As a FB friend of Victoria though, she has access to all their personal and private information and can therefore vet someone who does post on her profile unlike someone posting on a page, which is why you would not find me asking to be her friend! It cuts both way Victoria and I don't like the way you use it as a cut in your direction only.

    Steve, when are we going to get feedback on all the other points that have been raised for your consideration?

  • Comment number 2.

    She had to be cornered did she? I just can't be bothered to listen as that is a very good precis of Linda's, I suspect.

  • Comment number 3.

    Victoria - It may be the most normal thing in the world to you to be on facebook and twitter but it sure isn't normal to me. I also don't buy for a minute that you or one of your team couldn't spare a few minutes to update your blog each day. You closed you blog because it didn't suit you or the way you want your programme to go. Not all your listeners have the IQ of a gnat and some of us can construct a sentence of more than 2 lines. Shame on you for neglecting us.

  • Comment number 4.

    To be honest, and to be fair, I listened to this before I turned off my computer last night.

    I know Breakfast's blog is about one subject and therefore they don't need to update it throughout the programme. It it would be more difficult to keep up the VD blog in the same way. But hasn't Vicki got a computer in front of her to blog the odd few words here and there, instead of distracting herself with the FB page or twitter? I just don't think those excuses add up, which is why any psychologist will tell you, "to be honest" or variations of same, used I am not sure just how many times in that little piece, is giving the game away as one hell of an excuse she knows just doesn't add up. The verbal equivalent of terrible body language telling us all we need to know!

    Linda1111 was accurate by the way.

  • Comment number 5.

    3.933 followers on Twitter?! What happened to the other 0.067 of the fourth follower?

  • Comment number 6.

    While Victoria is broadcasting, shouldn't she be concentrating on the guests in the studio and, perhaps more importantly, the listeners at home and in their cars rather than tapping away at a keyboard and counting characters. No wonder she sometimes sounds so bored: she's not thinking about the topic of the debate or the next question she should be putting to her interviewee but trying to do something else entirely. Either broadcast properly, Victoria, or do something else that involves counting characters and reading tweets or whatever they are called.

  • Comment number 7.

    To be honest ... haha.

    Here's a radical idea .. IF we had a station message board WE could decide what WE wanted to talk about and Victoria wouldn't need to worry. There could be a VD thread.

    Forgive me for being such a heathen.

  • Comment number 8.

    What a good idea, ryan. I wonder why no one's thought of it before.

  • Comment number 9.

    It seems Vicky has caused some kind of a rash and have really cheesed off her followers upon announcing giving up her blog for facbook.
    I am a facebookian also,and i thyink the only solution here is to 'corner' her into blogging on facebook.
    There now,don't you all feel so much better?

  • Comment number 10.

    Not convincing at all. Agree with Linda's comments .

    Is it just me ("if I'm being really honest") or is Vicky really Harriet Harman? I think we should be told.

  • Comment number 11.

    Also - methinks she doth protest too much. Body language/verbal language a dead giveaway.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ed, why the need to blog on FB when there's a perfectly good BBC blog?

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for your comments so far. You make a good point, Linda1111, about the use of Facebook profiles as against fan pages. Lots of presenters and programmes (and not just at the BBC) have had to deal with these issues since fan pages were launched and we need to arrive at a solution that can handle lots of fans/friends while allowing the right level of privacy for correspondents but also allows the personal interaction that Victoria and her Facebook friends value.

    And I think that Facebook has some useful lessons for us here. Facebook profiles are, generally speaking, quite civilised places. How do you think they achieve that, considering they operate with hardly any moderation? Do you think we could adopt some of their practices at the BBC? Would that open up discussion and make these forums more useful? Or drive some community members away?

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 14.

    Steve, many of these comments that get a bit tetchy are out of frustration for not having a proper place to post. Hence the yearning for the old MBs. You should cherish your listeners and those who care enough to help you with feedback.

  • Comment number 15.

    Steve, the first difference with Facebook is VD actually participates. No-one from 5Live has been participating in the blogs for months although you have this week so good to see.

    As an experiment why don't you arrange to have the 50-odd questions raised in the Questions post answered and see if that garners more discussion?

    Next, I am not VD's friend and have no interesting in being. I resent having to be part of a special 'club' to feel part of a programme. The constant clamor, or in Nolan's case undignifed pleas, for Twitter and Facebook followers devalues the programme.

  • Comment number 16.

    Steve - there have been some absolutely VILE comments left by Facebook contributors on various Beeb facebook pages; there's no moderation (obviously) so they remain. Quite a few people get around the problem of privacy concerns by creating a facebook a/c (with no personal info; no photo etc) purely to comment on here. But - the Beeb don't have control over what is posted so why not just reintroduce a message board where you DO have moderation control?

  • Comment number 17.

    Thanks Steve. I have to say I concur with Sarnia, some FB pages and profiles are filled with vitriol, the nature of which would never have got past a moderator on the old FL Message Boards! If you haven't seen this Steve then I suggest you may be leading a closeted life and need to explore FB a little more! There are many 'hate' pages on FB and so called fan pages where the majority of entries appear to from those who are anything but fans and whose sole aim is to disrupt. Perhaps you didn't see this story today Steve? https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8496658.stm

    My problem with the BBC using FB as a cheap way of communicating with listeners and viewers is that you are putting money into a site what has massive issues with privacy and the like and which is regularly attacked by virus and hackers. It is also not available to all for a myriad of reasons and some people just prefer not to use it. So although you may feel you are opening up Five Live to more people you are in fact making contact more restrictive.

    I am a very active FB user so my reasons for not liking the way you are now promoting FB above all forms of contact have nothing to do with me disliking a social network site because I love it and I love the way I have made contact with many old and lost friends once again. It's just that I do not think it is an appropriate form for the BBC to take. You are excluding more people than you include. If you made your own blogs and message boards (well can we have ours back please!) more user friendly and easier to find and access anyone who wanted to could make a comment without being worried about privacy issues etc. Sooner or later the BBC will get bogged down in a FB issue not of its own making and of which it has no control over. At least on the BBC site this would not happen.

    I sincerely believe that a much more pragmatic view needs to be taken by you and your team and the longer term implications properly thought through. At the moment you seem to be attaching yourself to the latest popular medium. Things change in the commercial internet world and very, very quickly. Remember Friends Reunited?

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with above comment. Come on Steve - THINK about it!

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm one of Victoria's facebook friends. It feels colder writing here. I'm just relieved that the fb page is still alive. It's easier to sign-in once and participate. Another thing I like is that we are free to say what we want as reasonable adults (on the whole). We've all got our own ideas of what's offensive and can communicate these. We're allowed to use terms which are banned on the beeb, which leads to further discussion. We can get on each others' nerves, but as members we have to be tolerant. I don't like all the gifts, but am not sure I'd like to see them banned either. A person's lack of spelling shouldn't devalue their ideas. The editors/Victoria are free to delete posts and I can limit how much of my profile is public. It reflects the real world, promotes participation and engagement. (now this is going to annoy some people, but others will enjoy it - 'tea anyone?') ((I could have taken more time over constructing this, but ...))

  • Comment number 20.

    Surely there is room for all of the ways to contact the station, or Vicky in particular. I slightly resent the idea that if you don't want to use FB or twitter that you are some kind of old fogey who can't keep up with the times.

  • Comment number 21.

    I can't be bothered with Facebook or Twitter but obviously the BBC powers that be think that this is some new art form that must be at the forefront of communcation and thrust on people at all costs.What a shame VD's blog was closed down because a little criticism was seen as over stepping the mark.Has no one told her that a thick skin is an essential requirement when in the public eye ?

  • Comment number 22.

    @ryanw If you can distill fifty real questions from the comments on Adrian's answering your questions post (ones that he hadn't already answered in the post itself), I'll have another go at getting them answered by 5 live management.

    And, of course, everyone's right to point out that there's plenty of nastiness and abuse on Facebook. I don't mean to suggest that it's some kind of utopia, just that we have some things to learn from how it works.

    And, Leonard-Zellig. no one suggested that Victoria closed her blog because of criticism. As she explains in her video, it was much more to do with fitting social media into her production schedule. When I advise presenters and producers on the use of social media, one of the questions is always: "will this fit with the way you and your team work?" It just wasn't working for Victoria.

    And speaking as a card-carrying old fogie, carrie, I don't want to alienate anyone by linking to Facebook - it's just that (according to Facebook) ten million Brits are spending 25 minutes per day on Facebook! If they were doing that on the BBC blogs we'd have no need of a Facebook policy!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 23.

    Mr Bowbrick may I refer you to your comments you made via Victoria's blog under the heading ' Politics,politics,politics .Your message 41 20 Jan reads ' Comments on this post have gone a mile off topic.Since it doesn't look as though they'll come back any time soon and since most comments repeat points made fairly often around here since the message boards were closed,I'm going to close this post now...'

    Funny, I didn't see the closure of VD's blog, in your post at the time, pointing to any reference about fitting social media into her production schedule.

    I can only deduce that in your original comments/post that Victoria Derbyshire and yourself did not approve of the fully justified ( but deemed off topic ) negative criticism she seems to attract towards her extemely biased and poor presenting ' skills '.

  • Comment number 24.

    Mr Bowbrick, firstly I take umbrage at you asking for 'real' questions. All of our questions are real, some may have greater merit then others, some may have been (in)adequately answers before but all are legitimate. It is not for you to question our questions, the BBC is owned by us all and we're entitled to answers.

    You've thrown down the gauntlet which I readily accept.

    I'm delighted that you have offered to get Mr Van Klaveren to answer 50 questions, and without hesitation I offer them to you, and I am sure all of us will be very grateful for the answers which you have so kindly offered to seek on our behalf.

    1. How much does 5Live pay for travel and accomodation for Mr Nolan to commute each year between Northern Ireland and Manchester?
    2. If the BBC pays for Mr Nolan's flights and accomodation will the BBC continue to do so after the rest of the roster move to Manchester to host their programmes?
    3. Is it fair, if the BBC pays for Mr Nolan's transport and accomodation, that other London-based 5Live staff must pay for their transport costs?
    4. How many times did Mr Nolan host his programme in Northern Ireland between December 2009-January 2010, and did this materially detract from the quality of the programme?
    5. Why is Colin Murray hosting weekend live sport instead of Mark Pougtsch, Eleanor et. al. They are infinetely better. What is the thinking behind this move?
    6. Why did Victoria Derbyshire host the World Cup Draw coverage from South Africa when there were more qualified and talented sports broadcasters available?
    7. Why is 5Live the only radio station without a message board?
    8. How can 5Live not be dumbing down the product when the positioning becomes "news, sport and entertainment". Was Mr Kelner correct when he wrote in the Guardian when he said you are trying the find the land of funny. "The trick will be to reach the promised land of funny without devaluing the news and sport on which the station was founded" - https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2010/jan/25/chris-evans-martin-kelner
    9.In these austere times has the operating budget for 5Live increased or decreased this financial year?
    10. Why not have particular hosts host programmes from local radio station for a week/month _around the country_ to get a taste of the regions, like the trip to Hull last year, instead of the Manchestification of the station we are enduring now? This strikes me as an easier, cheaper and more representative solution.
    11. Why does 5Live Now restrict comments to 140 characters? And will you change it?
    12. Is George Riley a sports reporter or a co-host for Gabby Logan?
    13. What is the brief for Logan's show? Have you noticed she falls back in the comfort-zone of sport at every opportunity?
    14. Why did you have three consequecutive mornings on Labour ministers on breakfast w/c 21 January without balancing this with opposition voices?
    15. Why is it possible for Breakfast to blog but for Victoria's programme it is impossible?
    16. Is engaging the audience on a news focused station more, as, or less important then a music station?
    17. What is the role of the blogs editor? How often should they post messages? And are they suppose to encourage participation?
    18. Isn't it poor that you can not 'continue the debate' after the programme now as 5Live Now has no facility to do this and the blogs are being closed?
    19. Have 5Live hosts been told to use Twitter?
    20. You say that the blogs are read, by why are the almost never any replies?
    21. If you value the audience wouldnt your team answer their requests more promptly?
    22. How many people at 5Live have web, digital responsibilies?
    23. With three lightweights, Derbyshire, Logan and Bacon in key dayparts will you bolster the lineup during the election period with journalists that can ask real questions?
    24. When was the decision to close Victoria's blog taken? And by who?
    25. What is the demographic 5Live is now targeting?
    26. Have you read the negative comments on the blog regarding social media and will you press on regardless?
    27. You promised to answer more questions in the new year, it's the second week of February, why has it taken so long?
    28. Is it appropriate that Richard Bacon makes partisan policital points on his twitter account and then promotes his account on the BBC?
    29. Are you planning any more visit the region months, like you did last year when you visited Hull?
    30. How many of the 5Live team will be working in London for the Olympics? Why don't you delay the move to Salford to 2013?
    31. What has happened to Rachael Burdon?
    32. Is it more cost-effective for third-parties to produce 5Live programming, live Bite Your Legs, and if so, why?
    33. What are the KPIs for third-party producers?
    34. If you have a poor book in May will you change the lineup?
    35. Will any presenters go to South Africa for the World Cup or only the sports team?
    36. Was it necessary for Vasos Alexander to go to Melbourne for the Australian Open? Couldn't a producer have arranged the interviews, or you hire a freelancer locally?
    37. Do hosts and producers only want correspondence in 140 characters from now on?
    38. Can you understand someone not wanting to be Victoria's friend and should Facebook friendship really be the key contibuting to her programme?
    39. Doesn't 5Live now dumb down contibutions to the programme because it does not reflect the weight of opinion, the range of opinion, or robust opinons, because it is constrained in length and cherry picked by the producer?
    40. Is the station better today then a year ago in your opinion?
    41. What areas do you want to see improved on 5Live?
    42. When will 5Live be a Manchester station with some London output?
    43. Isn't Stephen Nolan's constant Northern Ireland focus inappropriate for a national radio station?
    44. Did you hear John Prescott on with Kate Silverton last week? Do Kate and her producer have no sense of balance?
    45. Will Rhod Sharp survive the Mancestification of 5Live?
    46. Why don't you run a podcast schedule on 5Live Sports Extra when you're not running sport on it? Does it always have to be sport?
    47. When the Rajars are released will you publish the cume and share results for each daypart vs. last year so we can see the performance of lack thereof of the new lineup?
    48. Just as Mark Kermonde and Simon Mayo has Bacon's Friday slot isnt it better just to leave John Pienaar to the Wednesday lunchtime slot? Gabby is out of her depth.
    49. Given how few followers Stephen Nolan, Livesey et. al. have on Twitter do you think the mentions (and interest by 5Live hosts) is disproportionate?
    50. What are you ambitions for 5Live?

    There's 50. Pity it is so long between question and answers as there would have been fewer. Oh well.

    It's Monday 8th February. We'll see how long it takes to get the answers.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent questions which I am sure we would all like answering. If I could ask a 51st:-

    Please could we have an hour's proper news back at lunchtime.

  • Comment number 26.

    Here's a 52nd....

    Why is the BBC and 5live giving up so much free airtime to Alaistar Campbell, so he can publicize his blessed book ?To be honest I am sick to death of him constantly being paraded out on BBC tv and radio.

    The BBC has only recently been rebuked over their OTT coverage of a U2 album.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nice work @ryanw. I'll see what I can do. Couple of caveats: I'll edit the list. Questions that are just going to produce a 'wait and see' answer (like those about the new schedule), for instance, probably won't work. Neither will observations (like 48) or suggestions (like 5), although I'll pass those on. I'll probably try to put together two or three Q&As with appropriate managers/editors - sport questions for a sport editor, for instance. I won't promise anything: me and my blog are just one of many demands on senior management at 5 live. But thanks for sorting out the questions. Quite a feat!

    @Leonard-Zellig. Apologies. I may have misunderstood your first comment. I did close comments on two blog posts (this one and this one) - the first time I've ever done that on any 5 live blog, by the way - because comments had gone off-topic. The decision to close the blog itself was taken by the production team. Editor Louisa Compton explained the reasons for doing so in the final post on that blog.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 28.


    You are SO exasperating.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mr Bowbrick, please tell us the questions you are omitting, I was intentionally forensic about Nolan for example and wouldn't expect those questions to be dumbed down but put in their entirety. If Mr Controller doesn't wish to answer some then we can draw our own conclusions. I'm sure we'll check to make sure all the questions receive answers.

    #5 is perfectly legitimate. I am sure many of us would like to know why Colin Murray is deemed the most suitable presenter for weekend sport.

    I look forward to seeing the fruits of my labour.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thank you Ryan. Perhaps I could add a question or two. Why is the Five Live pods and blogs section so badly organized that it is difficult to contribute to debates such as this? How long is Jamillah Knowles going to go on posting with such poor response levels?

  • Comment number 31.

    Ryan, many of the answers to your questions could be obtained under the freedom of information laws, should you want to try and should Steve or someone else from Five fail to come up with the goodies. I can't see how how they could be refused taking into account that as the BBC is licence funded and therefore the answers are in the public interest.

    Can we have a message board please Steve?

  • Comment number 32.

    Linda1111, one step ahead of you... I have an FoI request in about Nolan, but dont you think we should just be able to get straight answers to straight questions without all that hassle.

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes Ryan, I do but I doubt you will without forcing their hand. I must admit I've wondered about Nolan's expenses especially as from what he says and freely admits about his girth as to whether he needs to book 2 seats or perhaps travel 1st class for comfort purposes. I note that no answer has been supplied to the question I raised about the expenses of those who will not be moving permanently to Manchester including AVK himself. Home to work expenses will not payable but I wonder about subsistence etc whilst someone is in Manchester say three or four days and nights per week.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Linda1111 Is it necessary for you to be rude about 5 live staff here? I don't think so. If you carry on you're likely to find your comments referred for moderation.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 35.

    Mr.Bowbrick I've read Louisa Comptons last comments/jargon on VD's blog about microblogging being more manageable and getting a better interaction through Facebook and Twitter thanks to the instant feedback it offers but this doesn't really address the problem of not being able to criticise 5live and it's presenters by genuinely concerned licence payers who feel that this station has reached such a low level of programming.It doesn't really address the problem of many who take time to leave comments.

    I have been a radio listener for far too many years I care to remember and out of the current crop of speech stations 5live is without a doubt the most dumbed down.Surely this must be of some concern to a public service broadcaster who should be raising standards rather than lowering them.I am not surprised that Victoria Derbyshires pitiful attempt at tabloidy radio broadcasting has been cut to two hours.VD's show is a fine example of how desperate 5live has become.

    Instead of hidden and out of the harms way blogs,the BBC should at least supply a message board of some kind to discuss this station,so as to take on board justified criticisms.Now THAT IS what I would call interacting with the listener.

  • Comment number 36.

    Steve, would you kindly explain how I have been rude and why you have felt the need to threaten me on a public blog?
    If you are referring to my Nolan comments, then sorry I am not being rude at all. Nolan freely admits he has a weight problem; 22 stone is it? It is the reason he is being sent on a sport aid run for goodness sake, because BBC management thought it would be interesting to make fun of his weight problem; one only has to view the first film made by a colleague on Nolan's first visit to the Gym to see how disrespectfully he was treated by his colleague and how disrespectful Nolan was to him! If he is 22 stone then it's not rude to ask if he needs two seats on a plane (or train) it's perfectly practical. If you consider my comment to be rude, when it wasn't meant to be at all, then may I suggest you listen to Nolan because he is far ruder than that to callers on his programme!

    Your response to my post is interesting. I consider that you have been rude to me and you have also threatened me; a clear case of bullying because in this situation you have the power to carry out your threat and I have no power at all.

    I await your apology.

  • Comment number 37.

    Further point on message boards. They are not used just to criticise, nor are these blogs for that matter. Indeed I praised he coverage given to Blair and the day devoted to him at the Chilcott Enquiry last week. The problem is that if listeners queries are not addressed or answered honestly by the powers that be then boards and blogs will become an outlet for frustrations and complaints, thereby polarising an issue that didn't need to be. A perfect example of this was Bob Shennan and his absolute failure to give honest answers to honest questions on the old TS MB.

    If Five Live is really committed to providing a decent service to us then it's time that Steve Bowbrick and Adrian Van-Klaveren started answering the questions they have been asked and not the questions they wanted to answer.

    Can we have a message board please?

  • Comment number 38.

    I found Linda's comments about Nolan more amusing rather than rude.I think you are going a bit overboard there Steve.

    Nolan and his poor shock jock routine is what I would call rude and really has no place on public service broadcaster.Leave the shock jocks to TS or LBC, they do it so much better.

  • Comment number 39.

    I don't listen to Nolan and haven't for a long time as I found his attitude to certain callers offensive. But my daughter, who reads these blogs, told me he is constantly plugging his twitter account and recently his obsessive touting for Sports Relief and his questioning of his own ability to lose his excess weight in order to make this run. Frankly your listeners Steve, are perfectly entitled to have an opinion about someone who seems to make light of his weight, and make fun of himself.

    What you should be concentrating on is the continuing requests for a messageboard or similar in which listeners can make their point about the station before they become frustrated and annoyed, leading to them sounding exasperated on the screen page. If you want to be in the forefront of the BBC radio output shouldn't you be putting your listeners a bit higher up the respect chain than at present? I feel as if you lot couldn't care less about output as long as it all looks trendy. But given breaking news, such as happened in 2001 on September 11th, can you imagine any of the current presenters managing it as well as the former ones? We all know the answer. All the people with gravitas have gone, apart from Peter. You are left with people who love their own voice and do not have the journalistic background to delve for themselves in to anything said to them. As for the sports lot, it is a little better, but certain recent developments concerning over-exposure of Colin Murray are mentioned elsewhere and he never knows when to be quiet, it ruins all the programmes he presents.

    Well this is nothing to do with Victoria and her lost blog.

    Start championing your listeners.

  • Comment number 40.

    Wow! Some fairly meaty stuff here.

    I hope Mr Bowbrick and ADV read this because while representing a small nucleus of Five Live listeners it is those who are prepared to air their dissatisfaction (as oppossed to those who simply turn off ... and there are lots of them) that the boss men should be listening to.

    As a very young trainee journo I was taught that the art of a good interview is let the guest/interviewee do the speaking. If you pause, they will speak. The problem with presenters like Murray and Bacon is they clearly are not trained. An inkling of dead air and they are in! Wrong! It's because they are disc jockeys by nature and that means 'keep on talking'.

    It's a culture thing. Five Live was launched as 'News and Sport'. Problem is, they have ditched most of the News and Sport presenters in favour of chit chat and showbiz. The best of the lot is Danny Baker because he's so honest. Don't know where this is going but hey ho, let's give it a whirl! Don't need too much of it but what an entertaining 2 hours. Contrast with Murray. Heavily scripted 'jokes', no spontaneity, precious little knowledge of the wider issues. A disaster.

    And VD's attempts at lifestyle radio. Get some decent guests in, ditch all the phone in nonesense and you might have a chance. ... and stop talking about sport. Anyone supporting Bolton Wanderlust knows nothing about football! Need a 1 hour, good quality news anchor (Matthew Bannister) and consign dear old Gaby to the sports DEpt. Completely out of her epth.

  • Comment number 41.

    @Linda1111 We'll have to agree to differ on the rudeness question. It seemed rude to me and I'd generally prefer it if the blogs didn't descend into personal comments.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 42.

    I'd echo JackStumps comments. Reading his comments it appears, like me, he's had some exposure to journalism or the media (hard to imagine sometimes with my semi-literate posts I know).

    All of us, regardless of whether we are listeners or media professionals have a perspective as people who (a) appreciate what 5Live is/was (b) want to uphold standards (c) have an interest in the medium and/or the art and each of our opinions and the vocal minority should be read and respected.

    Sure we may hear the same themes over and over, but that is because there is a consensus of opinion. The 'characters' who share their thoughts on this blog are not shy of expressing opinons and I'm sure if they didnt agree they'd say.

    This is slowly turning into a vibrant blog, thanks in large part to us. It's good to see you've lifted your game and starting to post more Mr Bowbrick.

    It's a shame our comments are diffused throughout this appallingly designed blog network dilluting our focus. We can only hope this will be fixed soon.

    Oh, and how are those 50 answers coming along Mr Bowbrick?

  • Comment number 43.

    BBC staff (presenters, journalists, editors etc) should not be using social networking sites in any official capacity. How can the BBC exercise editorial control over its staffs output if they are using sites that the BBC have no control over? There should be one and one only BBC system to allow interaction between its staff and viewers/listeners. The BBC is big enough and well funded enough to develop and operate such a system.

  • Comment number 44.

    Steve I'm afraid I do not agree to differ. I wasn't being rude, there was no intention to be rude, hence the way in which my comment was phrased. I thank you for indirectly confirming that it was the Nolan comment you were referring to but I deplore your lack of acknowledgement that what you did was bullying, you being in a position of power on this blog.

    My comments were not personal in the least. I was responding to a comment that specifically referred to Nolan in more than one point and as has been pointed out to you by others, I was mentioning nothing to which Nolan himself doesn't refer to. I raised a practical question that clearly makes you uncomfortable. Now I can apologise for making you feel uncomfortable even though I do not know the reason but please do not threaten me with moderation when there is no reason to do so. You have access to my personal account details if you wish (clearly from your threat) to access them and a personal email would have sufficed. You chose to make this public with your threatening post. Not me. So are you going to do the decent thing?

  • Comment number 45.

    Stirling you raise a brilliant point. I have enquired before about whether the social media outlets are governed my the BBC editorial guidelines to which I was told, yes, they are.

    There is a considerable grey area, especially in my opinion with personal twitter accounts endlessly promoted on the BBC. Firstly, the should be BBC twitter accounts, secondly they should be closely monitored. Richard Bacon is a serial offender in offering partisan views via his twitter account, which he is perfectly entitled to do, but not under the auspices of the BBC.

    I've corresponded with the policy department who are updating their social media guidelines and asked they clearly differentiate between BBC public and private twitter accounts, prefacing BBC accounts with BBC, eg. @bbclaurak, and stop individuals using this as a private propaganda channel publicised on the public broadcaster.

  • Comment number 46.

    Have you seen this from today's Guardian:


    I used to think that the BBC had a well-merited reputation for news-gathering and impartial journalism. Now, however, it seems that any old tittle-tattle will do to fill the hours.

  • Comment number 47.

    Steve - re your comment (no. 27). I'm at a loss here - do you actually read and take on board what people have pointed out? The reason the comments on the blog had gone "off-topic" was because the blog was not updated on a daily basis. The comments left (on a daily basis) pertained to that morning's programme/topic.

    I'm staggered at your continued assertion that we were posting 'off-topic' and that we were to blame! Disingenuous of you.

    Also - I wish to state that I back Linda1111's comments and share her concern(s).

  • Comment number 48.

    I can't even find her 140 character thing this morning. Has she given that up as well?

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks to all for your thoughts on 5 live's social media. I've just written a comment on one of the other Social Media Week posts. Many useful questions here. I'll try to make sure I get to the more specific ones as we go along. Also keep your eyes out for new social media guidance from BBC Editorial Policy on 16 February. Should clarify things.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 50.

    Steve, it's been 8 days since I provide you with the 50 questions you asked for.

    The list, in large part, was a consolidation of questions posted on this blog that have been waiting to be answered since 20 November. That's almost 3 months!

    When can we expect the much anticipated answers now I have saved you the effort of actually reading the posts and finding the questions which we've posed?

  • Comment number 51.

    ryanw I understand your strength of feeling but I will also ask for your patience. Adding a blog to a radio network is easy. Turning it into a credible place to interrogate policy and direction is another matter all together - and that's my goal for 2010.

    There's a lot of enthusiasm for this goal here but also a lot of busy people working to news deadlines. I'm laying out a series of Q&As which will tackle a good number of those many questions but they won't all drop into place straight away. I'll trail them here first. We're on a journey!

    And in the meantime, I'm sure you'll find temporary consolation in the new BBC social media guidance for presenters and producers launched yesterday!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, 5 live blog

  • Comment number 52.

    Steve, if we had these answers answered when they were asked, or even in a reasonable time thereafter, it wouldn't take so long to answer them now. The oh-no-there-are-too-many-questions-it-is-going-to-take-forever-to-answer-them defense doesnt really wash to be honest.

    Do you have an expectation as to when we will have any responses?

    I guess it is a question of priorities and clearly given it has take 3 month to even get this far it's a low priority.

    That said, thanks for taking responsibility and attempting to turn this into a meaningful _discussion_ forum. We, the listeners and licensee-fee payers, are doing our part, now it's up to you and the 5Live Liters.

    Thank you for the link to the new social media guidelines. I'll take a look.

  • Comment number 53.

    I am new to this discussion and am staggered at the expectations from listeners, especially from ryanw of an instant response to 50 complex questions. Just because there is a blog this does not mean that you should put unreasonable pressure on production staff, you have had a civil response.

    If you had written a letter of complaint to the council there would be a timeframe within which they would be expected to respond. I think that the comments here suggest that listeners forget that staff are not paid to sit and respond all day to queries, but they have work to do as we all have. How would you like to have to break off a busy time schedule to respond to random questions.

    I sympathise with BBC staff who have to remain civil in the face of confrontation whilst still trying to make programmes. I worked for the organisation a number of years ago and know that working in a live broadcast environment is incredibly stressful and requires a huge amount of energy and focus .... I think Steve Bowbrick deserves a little more respect. Do we have a right to expect presenters to run a blog because we prefer it, I don't think so. Whatever is best for Victoria to manage should be ok with the listeners surely.

  • Comment number 54.

    Jackys, with respect you miss the point entirely. I didn't just dream up those 50 questions .. some have been awaiting an answer since 20 November 2009.

    As you say "If you had written a letter of complaint to the council there would be a timeframe within which they would be expected to respond.".

    What do you suggest that would be? 1 week, 2 weeks, 6 weeks? Some questions have been waiting to be answered for 3 months!

    You seem to be an apologist for the BBC. Is it unfair to ask a question and think you might get a response within 3 months?

    What I kindly did for Mr Bowbrick is RESPOND TO HIS REQUEST for 50 questions. I essence, I did his job, and collected 50 questions which have been languishing unanswered for up to 3 months.

    This consolidated list of questions still hasn't been answered after two weeks.

    You might also be aware this is set against a background were -

    1. The thread was discussion about "accountability" and specifically questions and answers.
    2. The blogs editor has previously asked for our views which caused some contributors to ask questions (most of which have yet to be answered)
    3. The 5Live Controller told us back in November he would be conducting a blog Q&A "early in the new year" -- this has not materalised.
    4. The station has gone through a massive upheaval with top talent being replaced by a lightweight lineup which has aggravated some people.
    5. The blogs editor has one two occasions in the last 6 weeks closed vibrant threads about the station where listeners can discuss the programme and the station.

    This is the context in which these questions were (re)asked. They aren't new questions, they are old questions.

    We're not demanding the impossible, we are simply requesting simple answers to simple questions.

    Is it helpful or correct for the BBC to close lively discussions about programmes, talent and the station just because they become awkward?

    Is it acceptable not to have had a reply within 3 months Jackys? You may think so, but a good many of the contributors to the blog here are mighty unhappy with the direction of the station and the ignoring of our questions and concerns _despite_ being asked for our opinions.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm not an apologist for the BBC, I just think that accountability can only go so far. You are asking personal questions about the careers of individuals which is surely unreasonable. Some of your questions may take days to answer, not forgetting that you can phrase a question how you wish, but a response has to be carefully worded and maybe even run past the legals. 3 weeks response per question, or 5 questions maybe ..... makes 3 x 10, yes, 30 weeks if you want them all at once! Of your questions there is a large number that to me sound offensive

    Why does the public think they can run the BBC, it's not run by a committee, nothing would get done. I read this blog because I was interested in the subject, not to see the editor hung out to dry.

    i'm disappointed to see that this kind of forum is used in this way. It's all rather undignified.

  • Comment number 56.

    Jackys, the thread was about accountability. Increasingly it seems to be unaccountable. If some questions are out of order they will be ANSWERED accordingly. You see that's just it. Don't ask for contributions, encourage debate, request questions and then ignore them. The expectations were set by 5Live not by us.

    If posts are out-of-order they will be referred to the moderator, which very few have.

    I hope you're not trying to suggest we should stifle debate, close down legitimate criticisms and have less accountability -- what did you mean by "accountability can only go so far" -- the BBC is a publicly funded organisation and should be fully accountable. Or should it write its own rules? Set it's own agenda and not be accountable to the people who pay for it?

    Jackys, please don't dismiss the contributions of others. Everyone's contributions on this blog are equally valid. Indeed, you are not the only person with experience within media organisations so also please don't assume everyone is ignorant either. Myself and at least several other contributors to these forums that I know of have held roles with the media before, here or overseas.

    People will draw their own conclusions from the posts here, so will agree, so disagree, but the debate is healthy and scrutiny of public organizations should be encouraged not stymied.

  • Comment number 57.

    And my comments are equally valid. I don't assume you are ignorant, I don't agree that your questions are all about accountabillity.

    Number 5 is your opinion. Bring him on, the more Colin Murray the better for me. For example are 40, 41 and 45 about accountability? Really I haven't the time to go on, I'm surprised that's all at the level of detail that you expect.

    I work in the public sector and don't expect people to be able to rake over my day to day working practice. I'm paid to do a professional job and expect to be able to get on with it, there is a procedure for queries and complaints, but I would not expect to have to answer such a level of detail. It's nothing to do with me really, they are your questions, it's your issue, I'll get back to listening.

    Take a tip from me, tune into to Radio 4 if you want heavyweight political debate. I listen to Radio 5 most times I switch on and don't like the giggling always, but I take it as lightweight news / current affairs with excellent sports coverage.

    Good luck with your search for the truth!

  • Comment number 58.

    I am a major critic of the weekday daytime line up, the prominence of certain individuals with greater exposure on the sports output and the 5Lite ethos. However, I do feel some contributions to recent blogs and the 50 questions do not call to account the station management in a reasonable manner.

    The major critics on the blogs are statistically few in number. A review of these blogs and other media message boards shows an equal airing to other points of view. Tens of people cannot be statistically representative of millions of listeners, probably just the most vexed. Of course management can use this as a reason to solely use their own judgment.

    A reasonable resolution is for AVK and his superiors to publicly commit to consider the detailed listening statistics at a reasonable time, say the third quarter of this year, publicise the comparable sector variations from 2009, their analysis of these statistics and then consult on their proposed actions to resolve any issues arising.

  • Comment number 59.

    JackyS the point really is that the 5 Live messageboards were closed down and many of us are dissatisfied with the recent dumbing down of the station, but have nowhere to express our opinions. We have done so on various blogs, which all get closed down. What you consider undignified is frustration. As ryanw says, our questions have gone unanswered since November 09 and Steve Bowbrick invited him to supply 50 questions, which are still unanswered. I don't know why he asked for 50 in the first place if they were going to take so long to answer.

    I have increasingly turned over to Radio 4 as you suggest, but there is not a lot of "heavyweight political debate" on there. Some programmes are too highbrow for me and what I really want is the standard of the old 5 Live back again. It is now described as containing news, current affairs and ENTERTAINMENT. Frankly, there is too much of the latter IMO. I have never had anything to do with the media, but am just a recently retired woman who had looked forward to hearing more of 5 Live. Regrettably it has become extremely lightweight now and I breathe a sigh of relief when 4 p.m. comes around and I know it will be worth listening to again.

  • Comment number 60.

    rapidrickthommo, what would you consider a reasonable manner?

    JackyS, I used to be a professional in the public sector (not media) and my role came under far more scrutiny than is being asked for on here! I used to work an hour extra at the end of the day (unpaid) in order to complete the paperwork that justified my existence. Now I'm not saying that everyone should do that but part of the AV-K's and Bowbrick's jobs is to be accountable to those who pay their salaries; the licence fee payer. Every other BBC national radio station has a message board. Five Live doesn't.

    Apathy is easy. Being sufficiently motivated to comment on blogs and message boards is good and I agree that the comments here are not totally representative because those who are happy with their lot are not going to say. However they are indicative of the views of many who cannot be bothered to ask questions or find these blogs.

    Please can we have a message board?

  • Comment number 61.

    Yes, please can we have a messageboard. Radio Five is the only BBC station without a messageboard. Such a forum (such as Radio Four's The Choice is Yours) allows listeners to discuss topics, offering both praise and criticism, in a structured way. One of the reasons Steve Bowbrick offers for closing down blogs is that they go off-topic. Yes, of course they go off-topic when a single blog is used to give vent to a wide range of points of view. There is nowhere else to go. A messageboard would prevent this from happening. I would suggest that Jamillah Knowles, whose blogs rarely attract more than one response and frequently none at all, could be the moderator. She appears to have plenty of time on her hands.

  • Comment number 62.

    And, I've just discovered the replacement for Victoria Derbyshires message page and the morning phone in page 5live Now actually permits no more than 50 messages - which are of course decided by BBC staff.

    Why are we being so restricted?
    Particularly in the year of the election?

  • Comment number 63.

    Why are you deleting my posts, again.
    I am now going to further my complaint with the BBC.

  • Comment number 64.

    Cassandra, wikipedia tells us --

    Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.


  • Comment number 65.

    I am always slightly suspicious when someone posts to a blog ( JackyS )supporting Steve Bowbrick and defending the BBC for one day and then for some reason strangely disappears again without adding further comments.Come on now, do really think we can't see through all this? Give us some respect for our intelligence.

    To say that using this forum to post criticisms is ' undignified ' is rather stretching it ,don't you think ?If you want to talk ' dignity ' how about the BBC showing some themselves by give listeners a proper place to discuss 5live.

    By the way Victoria's programme still hasn't got any better for all the new ways of interacting.One of the worst programmes on UK radio by a country mile.

  • Comment number 66.

    What do you all think about the following suggesion:
    If the BBC are unwilling to set up a message board for 5Live, how about a few of us set up a message board to talk about the BBC. There are plenty of free forum hosts out there to use.

  • Comment number 67.

    Funny that they have re-posted my message of no62.

    Still going to carry on with my complaint, and you know why.

  • Comment number 68.

    I am astonished that someone called JackyS should think that we licence payers don't have the right to ask questions, and when invited to ask them, that we should be a bit cross that they are not answered. In the old days we would all be suspicious and rightly so, of such outspoken support against the run of the tide. Notwithstanding this, where are the answers going to be posted? I do not want lightweight news and current affairs by the way, I would like some incisive journalism and research. Text ins, music reviews and rubbish guests belong on lightweight stations and some of us mourn the day when this particular one dived in to the ground head first.

    PA71 you should look for another place by looking for gavin corder .......quick.

  • Comment number 69.

    As far as I can tell, there just isn't another radio station that carries rolling news as on TV. 5 Live used to be so good at it and I don't know how they are going to cope with the run up to the election. There are posts about 5 Live on a digital spy forum too.

  • Comment number 70.

    As an alternative to 5lite,I do sometimes enjoy Radio 4 but I find it a bit heavy going at times and rather too much up it's own wotsit for it's own good.

    Thanks for the radio heads up on the digitalspy platform lesleyclaire.I did have a look only to read that a thread about my BBC local radio station ( Radio WM )had been mysteriously closed down.This is all becoming rather strange.Blogs closing down and then threads ?Whats going on peeps?

  • Comment number 71.

    Now that the social media week has finished and there has been a lot of discussion about message boards, when can we expect some firm decisions about the way forward?

    Can we have a message board please or at least a generic radio board like the generic TV board which covers all BBC TV output.

    As a five live listener I do not have the same right to reply through a message board as users of any other station the BBC offers. I therefore do not have as equal an access to services offered by the BBC as other users do.

  • Comment number 72.

    I sent a note last night about Livesey's inane promotion of Facebook. He has 2000 "friends". We've mentioned before the issues with Facebook friends on here. I think given the size of audience -- even if his audience was as low as 200,000 it would only constitute 1% of listeners -- there is a massively disproportionate amount of airtime given to it. Those in the BBC bubble need to realise at least 99% of listeners, either (a) don't care about Facebook, (b) don't want to be his friend.

    Oh, and has anyone who emailed Tim Davie has a reply? I'm still waiting for mine.


  • Comment number 73.

    I emailed Tim Davie. Not heard anything yet.

    I heard some of the Derbyshire programme this morning. Bad.

  • Comment number 74.

    I have received a reply ryanw. If you ever go to the other place mentioned on 68 I could repeat it for you.

    Very unsatisfactory anyway. What ever did I expect? The problem is that everyone is having such a good time at the in club beeb that they don't really care about listeners who pay for it.

  • Comment number 75.

    Pity some of these BBC cuts cannot be aimed at some of the madness of 5 Live.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think the BBC cuts will mean that probably all Five blogs will close down......not much chance of getting a message board under any circumstances. Reasoned argument has failed and now the report will kill it completely.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ryanw I can answer your question 31 - Rachel Burden's on maternity leave. However, no-one's mentioned if she's had the baby or anything ... though I may have missed an announcement on R5 as there's so little I can cope with listening to any more.

  • Comment number 78.

    "An error occurred. Please try again later."

    This is all I get when I try to watch VD being cornered.

    However, not being able to watch her response to the question doesn't alter the fact that she is, to use the oft-mentioned phrase of many others, a "lightweight" when it comes to tackling the "heavyweight" topics her producers throw at her. Victoria looks nice, undoubtedly smells nice and, having listened to her often, IS nice - but that's her as a person; she IS a nice young lady, regardless of what all you detractors say. As a tackler of weighty topics, however (sorry, Vic'); well - that should have been left to Dr. Mayo but he shot off to R2, where he seems to have carved himself a nice slice of cake very adeptly.

  • Comment number 79.

    "Rachel Burden's on maternity leave"

    And congratulations to Rachel and family.

  • Comment number 80.

    "But hasn't Vicki got a computer in front of her to blog the odd few words here and there"

    Yes - even on the AM band you can here the keyboard being rattled during news, sport, weather bulletins and guests talking.

  • Comment number 81.

    Vicky was very inappropriate with George Osborne, shouting him down and interrupting him. She was obviously getting her cues from a 10 Downing Street economics handout rather than the producer. Vince Cable would get the better of her but George was too well brought up to argue back about her attitude. Can't she be a bit more neutral, because it would actually get more out of anyone she is interviewing.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Vicky was very inappropriate with George Osborne, shouting him down and interrupting him. "

    When she read out a text from a listener complaining that Osborne was evasive and didn't give any answers I nearly fell off my chair, it was so hilarious. Has neither VD or the listener ever listened to PMQs, a PMs press conference or any interview involving Gordon Brown? Now THAT is evasion and not answering any questions!

  • Comment number 83.

    More of our money wasted teaching BBC staff how to use Facebook...


    Question? How many of those of you who use it needed to go on a course?

  • Comment number 84.

    2.4.10 - It's a Bank holiday but there is nowhere to comment on the content of this mornings VD's programme at all this morning.

  • Comment number 85.

    Monday Music review is still the same load of self indulgent drivel I see.

  • Comment number 86.

    vicky d has closed her blog - why didnt any one tell me ???

  • Comment number 87.

    "Why are we being so restricted?
    Particularly in the year of the election?"

    so that you can get used to an authoritarian political environment where your voice is dictated to you by the state and its affiliates.


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