January 23, 2014 by Colin Kelly
They say it’s the most listened to current affairs programme on the radio. And I think it’s great that there are 2 hours of output right in the middle of every day on BBC Radio 2, where people can join a discussion about topical events.
I like the format and the mix of music and discussion.
But I do wish Jeremy Vine and his producers would ease up a little on their obsession with the internet.
Almost every single day they devote a significant amount of time to some harrowing tale involving websites or social media channels.
It’s right that these things are discussed and that everyone is made aware of how dangerous the online world can be. Of course, anything even vaguely related to social media is an extremely hot topic at the moment. There’s a lot of interest and Vine and his team want to give their audience stories they’ll respond to.
But I wonder if one factor in the huge amount of coverage these stories get on Vine’s programme is the fact they are extremely easy to find.
The media is obsessed with them. There’s no real journalism involved in finding these stories, telling them on the radio and seeking reaction. And they’re guaranteed to bring out strong emotions in listeners and contributors.
What’s much harder to find, and what I’d like Vine and his team to do more of, is original investigative journalism.
Getting out and reporting things that powerful people would rather was kept hidden. Corrupt officials, illegal bungs, lying, cheating and stealing.
It’s a long time since the MPs expenses scandal broke. What’s next? With his success and audience, Vine now has a responsibility to make sure his programme is first with whatever it is. He is where the newspapers used to be.
And with an audience the size of Jeremy Vine’s they must be getting story ideas everyday from listeners throughout the UK with original stories to tell and wrongdoing to expose.
Why not follow some of it up? Start a whistleblower’s hotline where people can call anonymously with stories.
It’s time this programme found some teeth and started fighting, kicking people out of office, taking on drug dealers and exposing wrongdoing instead of obsessing about tragic yet extreme events that involve the internet.
This obsession with social media is allowing a lot of powerful people and businesses to escape scrutiny.