Further to DB’s post and looking back through his tweets, there’s another campaign that Stuart Hughes seems single-handedly to have got started and then used the BBC News website to publicise.
The story begins back in March:
19/3/12 Delighted to finally be able to announce that I’ll be taking part in the Olympic #torchrelay on Jul 24th
The following day though he gets some unwelcome news…
20/3/12 Ah, the spirit of the Games. I’ve just been told I can buy my Olympic torch – for just £200. Can I claim it on expenses?…
Later that same day on Twitter….
20/3/12 Pls get in touch if you’re part of the #torchrelay & unhappy with the £200 cost for the torch – I’m interested in doing a story on it.
20/3/12 Thanks to all #torchbearer s who sent me quotes on cost of buying torch. I’ve just filed this story… (cont) http://tl.gd/ghdlun
20/3/12 @jackieleonard01 I’m going to sell photos with the torch outside TVC for a fiver a pop.
20/3/12 My story on Olympic #torchbearer s being charged £200 to keep their souvenir from then #torchrelay http://ow.ly/9MCFR
22/3/12 @damiendavis My colleagues at BBC London are following this up with other councils after my story & seeing if others will follow suit.
From this Twitter trail, it looks as if Stuart Hughes was told he was going to be an Olympic torch-bearer and was delighted. The following day he was told he would be charged if he wanted to keep the torch and was far from delighted. So he immediately decides he’ll use the BBC News website to run a story getting other people to protest about it and starts tweeting for help. He gets some replies and publishes a story (with a second BBC journalist) on the BBC website. Then his pals at BBC London start digging after to see if the story goes beyond one council. Or that’s what it looks like.
I would describe the BBC Online piece as loaded against the particular company SH is unhappy with. His article also fails to disclose that he, the joint-author of the article, has a personal interest in the story.
The first guy expressing outrage in the report, “Thomas Read”, must be the “Thomas” a certain Emma Gilliam tweets SH about. From her Twitter feed it looks as if she picks up on SH’s request, knows somebody in her class who’s also going to be an Olympics torch-bearer and tells him about the £200 charge, thus making him “outraged!”:
@stuartdhughes i’ve got a student who’s doing the torch relay. where’s the info about the £200?
@stuartdhughes student just seen the email about it all. he’s outraged!
@emmagilliam Ask him to email me.
@emmagilliam Thomas has emailed me. Thanks.
(Emma Gilliam, incidentally, is BBC through and through:
This seems to be revealing about how certain news stories make their way onto the BBC New website and some might argue that this is just a reporter finding an interesting story and reporting it – except that Stuart Hughes surely isn’t a disinterested reporter here. He wrote that story, didn’t he, because he is personally involved in it, was “outraged” that he was going to be charged to keep his Olympic torch, fished on Twitter for other people to back him up by saying they were outraged too & then published an article on the BBC News website about the row he seems personally to have stirred up?
Is this what an impartial BBC reporter should be doing?