Here is a transcript from the Guardian of the interview last night on the BBC’s Newsnight programme with Evan Williams – founder of Twitter. What it reveals is a curious paradox. One the one hand, the BBC is probably the world’s most progressive media organisation in terms of understanding social media, yet one the other the editorial approach in its traditional programmes and from its traditional journalists appears to display total ignorance and denial of what is happening.
Hence we have one of its most experienced and highly regarded journalists, Kirsty Wark, on one of its flagship current affairs programmes, Newsnight, fbasing her approach to on the standard “its all a load of unverified, irresponsible nonsense” line.
Now we know why journalists cling to this view. As I have previously said, it is all to do with the ending of their monopoly on the sanctity of publication. This sort of approach would be fine if it came from a News Corp programme or journalist who would have an understandable interest in portraying social media in this way. But from the BBC it is unacceptable.
As an antidote, I re-read Clay Shirky’s excellent Thinking the Unthinkable post. This focuses on newspapers, but is essentially relevant to all forms of traditional media. I think this should be required reading for all BBC journalists. Starting with Kirtsy Wark.