BBC screws British bloggers (again)
Over the past few years I have grown ever more incredulous about the way that the BBC has consistently stolen from, patronised and generally belittled blogs, especially British ones. There seems to be a pervading belief within Shepherd's Bush that the corporation is the British media and that the rest of the people who strive away working in commercial sectors are just basically there to do their research. Bloggers, as this post highlights, are beneath contempt and clearly don't have worthwhile opinions.
The latest example of this arrogance is this week's Panorama expose of the way in which some of Primark's suppliers were employing child labour to finish their very competitively priced garments. It was gritty Panorama stuff, highlighting an injustice and sparking a debate about the ethics of the fashion industry.
Yet while the programme highlighted low pay and child labour the programme makers seemed to have no ethical qualms about screwing British journalists.
Researchers from Panorama contacted the Catwalk Queen team (btw Catwalk Queen is the UK's most-read pure fashion website - compare it with Vogue, Cosmo and the others etc on Google Trends) and asked if they could film the team talking about why and how Primark had become so popular in the UK. The Panorama team then spent three hours filming at shiny offices, which basically cost Shiny nine hours worth of blogging.
The team's opinions were widely used throughout the show and in many ways their views held the piece together. However while every other single person on the show received a credit along with their work title (Mary Portas got a plug for her business, Yellowdoor, twice), the Catwalk team were not credited in any way. Instead only their names were used and they were billed as fashionistas or Primark fans.
The BBC also used some, admittedly fair low quality footage of the opening of Primark's store on Oxford Street, as well as some other CQ fashion reviews. However instead of crediting Shiny Media or Catwalk Queen it was billed as being courtesy of YouTube.
Basically the Catwalk team was featured on the programme because they are intelligent and articulate professionals who spend their life tracking high street fashion trends. They are also among the most popular fashion bloggers outside the US. To not credit them is not just incredibly condescending but also denies millions of viewers a chance to read their other opinions on fashion.
As for crediting the footage to YouTube, I'd like to see the Beeb use ITV's footage, some of which is on YouTube, on one of its programmes and then credit it to YouTube. In case the Panorama team is still confused - YouTube is a popular video hosting site - companies don't cede copyright of their footage the minute they put their video on the site.
Panorama could have made amends by placing a link to Catwalk Queen alongside quotes from the team on one of its web pages. Yet all it has done, after some serious nagging by the team, is to put a link to Catwalk Queen on the Primark debate page. There's no mention of the fact that it is the blog of the team that were featured so prominently in the programme.
The BBC, which in case you have forgotten is funded by all of us, should have a responsibility to work alongside and nurture young British media talent. Instead it seems to constantly patronise them.
As for Shiny I think the company should send the Panorama team an invoice for nine hours lost work.
Overall the whole episode has left a very bitter taste in the mouth at Shiny. While Panorama, and the rest of the BBC, should be praised for exposing dubious ethics in the fashion industry, it might want to take a look at its own ethical code once in a while too.