Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Sometimes snooping for an exclusive doesn’t work

Posted in Broadcasting and Media, Journalism, News and that by Adam Westbrook on January 25, 2009

Lots of interest in Hull’s FA Cup fixture this weekend.

Partly because a bunch of Milwall hooligans stuck in the 1980s decided to tear up some of the ground, but also because the club unveiled their new signing.

Costing £5m Bullard is the big investment which they’re hoping will secure their place in the Premier League.

Adam Westbrook

L-R Phil Brown, Jimmy Bullard, Paul Duffen (Adam Westbrook)

We first got wind he could be signing last Thursday but often with football, speculation is just that, and getting a confirmation (especially on a big deal) is near impossible before the job is done.

It happened that on Thursday evening I was part of a party of local hacks being taken out for a curry by Hull City boss Phil Brown.

Ahead of the meal my editor texted me: “see what you can find out about Bullard.”

Time for some snooping.

Phil and the rest of the management arrived at the restaurant as we were all sitting down. A hugely engaging and entertaining guy, he announced straight away:

“Can I just say lads, Bull is off the menu.”

Sometimes snooping for that exclusive will get you nowhere…

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An underserved audience?

Posted in Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on February 11, 2007

“Griffin Park has never seen anything of this magnitude; the jubilation was incredible”

Ghanaians celebrating after beating NigeriaThat’s how people described Wednesday’s “clash of the titans” between Ghana and Nigeria. The world cup friendly saw the Black Stars – still high on their world cup success last summer –  “thrash” Nigeria’s Super Eagles 4-1 at Griffin Park.

But it seems the jubilation was short lived for any Ghanaians living in the UK. The African Voice newspaper on Friday reported outrage that the BBC had not mentioned the match the next day.
“BBC blasted over ‘biased’ broadcast” goes this week’s headline. The paper says there’s anger after BBC Breakfast did not show any highlights of the match on Thursday morning – even though it mentioned every other friendly match from the previous evening, including Portugal-Brazil and Denmark-Australia.  Says one Ghanaian in London:

“They showed the goals from all other matches but not the Nigeria against Ghana game. I was so angry.”

Chris Hollins apparently apologised on screen for not showing the footage; perhaps it was to do with rights or for time reasons. (The African Voice, interestingly, didn’t contact the BBC for a response.)

But it’s not quelled the anger.

As much as the story is a bit of a storm in a teacup it’s still raises interesting points. Read any BBC job application form and it’s all about reaching underserved audiences. Chris Hollins on BBC Breakfast

Well there are around 200,000 Ghanaians living and working in the UK. There are no official figures for the Nigerian counterparts, but I would suspect it’s the same if not greater.

There was equal demand for showing clips of this match as there was the Denmark-Australia game, and arguably more than for the South Korea-Greece one. If the reason was other than a practical one (rights/time) then the BBC’s made a mistake.

Reaching underserved audiences doesn’t just mean hiring local reporters with local connections. It needs the London based producers to open their eyes a bit more and be as equally understanding of Britain’s amazingly diverse communities.