Mike Blakey in the news

by Richard on December 7, 2006

But the BBC gets it wrong

It is understood Mr Blakey had travelled to India from Swansea with his British girlfriend but the couple had later split up and she had married a local man who is now being questioned by police.

Understood? Not by anyone here. Either someone has made this up, or else they’ve added 2 and 2 to make 7. Either way, it isn’t true.

Update: The BBC have removed this paragraph.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }


Rhys 12.07.06 at 2:07 pm

This sort of thing makes me very angry. Has anyone filled out this form about it yet? It needs someone who knew Mike better than I did to do so, I think.


Richard 12.07.06 at 2:33 pm

I have Rhys, and I’d encourage others to do so.


Rhys 12.07.06 at 3:34 pm

The BBC have, thankfully, now removed that paragraph from their report.


BD 12.07.06 at 3:35 pm

In the international edition that paragraph is not there.

This is an update I did not see earlier today.

“Ajay Yadav, a police officer in the state of Himachal Pradesh, said they had “three or four theories” and hoped soon to have “conclusive evidence.”

“We are questioning several people in connection with this case,” he said.”


Richard 12.07.06 at 3:44 pm



ee 12.07.06 at 4:43 pm

Richard, thanks for all you’ve done in getting Mike’s story to the attention of the press. I agree that it’s upsetting when details are wrong, but what comes across in all reports I’ve read is what a wonderful guy he was, how exceptional he was, and what he meant to everyone. You’ve helped to make his memory last.


James Church 12.07.06 at 4:50 pm

ee I agree.

I found this site having been moved by the story of Mike’s life and death to search for more information. I’m very sorry that his life has been cut short, and those who grieve his passing will remain in my prayers.


Kim 12.07.06 at 6:12 pm

Hi BD.

You’re a journalist, a good journalist. So what is it with misreporting - haste, incompetence, a sensationalist imperative - what? It makes one want to adapt the old joke “What’s black and white and red (read) all over?” (answer: a newspaper) to “What’s black and white and looks great wrapped around a journalist’s neck?” (answer: a pit bull terrier).


Eugene McKinnon 12.07.06 at 8:38 pm


In response to Kim’s posting I hope you live in Ontario where pit bulls are banned.

I finally got to read the story of Mike on the BBC website as well. Sorry to hear about it.



BD 12.07.06 at 11:53 pm


It depends on a lot of factors. If you are working a wire desk you have a lot of stories to key in over a day. Haste, incompetence, errors, competition, fatigue, ignorance. Same in the field. And even experienced news people can be duped.

It can be very difficult to get facts (and second check those facts) from other countries. Reporters and wire desks assigned to a story like Micheal Blakey’s murder are working under deadline. Gathering is not as simple as it sounds.

There are media people who are sloppy and incompetent, and busy editors have a lot to double check. There is no excuse.

Most reporters and wire writers push so many stories through they sometimes forget the people on the other end are in deep and raw grief, scouring every possible source of any information for any scrap of news on their loved one.

I can assure you we are affected by some stories also, and have to push on to the next one. News is now economically driven which adds to the pressure to get the story out.

With 99.9 percent of journalists I’ve worked with it is personally devestating when a mistake is made, and potentially professionally damaging.

When concerned parties speak up, particularily in situtations such as this where India local papers and wire services (with a few exceptions) haven’t responded with professional courtesy to our queries and the usual beuracracies are uniformed, unavailabe or stonewalling, you are important and valuable.

I wish you didn’t have to be a watchdog, I’m so sorry you do, you should be able to grieve without pressure, but with all our technology and it’s speed there are merely people churning out the information.
And those involved, those who have suffered the loss see the mistakes, not what is done right.
News people understand that, we aren’t there for a thank you, we are paid to do the job properly.

Experienced reporters/wire desks/editors are aware they may not be able to get timely information for several reasons.
Reporters look for the facts, they look for reacts, updates; and rumours and heresay can wind up in a piece looking like fact. There is still no excuse.

I am so sorry, it is painful and enraging to see a tragic death and the person you love misrepresented.

Complain directly to the reporter if possible, or ask for the wire editor and they will see your concerns are promptly addressed. That is in their outlets best intersts and their credibilitys interest also.

Hundreds of stories come across an international desk daily, and in some cases almost as many for a local outlet.

I agree Kim, there are times we certainly deserve every bit of criticism we receive.
Interested parties have a profound effect on the newsroom.
In broadcasting 1 complaint=1000 who didn’t.

State your interest and concern clearly, be direct about the error and I think you’ll see (as with the BBC) that speculation, heresay and incorrect information is promptly addressed.

If you are not satisfied, move up the managerial ladder until you are heard.


Kim 12.08.06 at 12:17 am

Thanks for that, BD. And I’m glad you didn’t think I was getting at journalists as such. After all, I’m a clergyman - the image of pots and kettles comes to mind!

What you say confirms - and adds more detail to - what a top BBC jounalist I know, who works in Cardiff, has said.


Richard 12.08.06 at 7:40 am

At least with online stories, they can be amended. I had the following response to my complaint to the BBC: The information was given to
us from a reporter in India. We have, however, since spoken to ****** who told us that she and Mike were not in a relationship. In light
of this, I have amended our story.
So they do listen. As you say, BD, I suppose mistakes are inevitable. There’s no excuse for some of the wilde speculation in the tabloid papers, though.


BD 12.08.06 at 9:05 pm

I wasn’t thinking pot shots at all Kim, I am honoured you took an interest.

And I’m under no illusion journalists, producers, editors et al, don’t make mistakes, and it is good to see people who don’t lump media into one agenda driven evil.

Richard, I’m impressed you had the BBC explain their source and amend. Well done.

Eugene - in my case it was Rotwiellers.:^)


Richard 12.08.06 at 11:55 pm

I was impressed too, BD. It almost makes up for their failure to respond to my emails last week about Mike’s death.

I have never been so close to a biggish news story before, and it has opened my eyes considerably to the way the media works, how stories are transmitted and so on. Lots to think about.


alice 12.09.06 at 12:08 am

The Mail’s website has picked up on -and embellished- this today. It’s appalling. I feel sick just reading it. Rachel is now the only Tong-Len project manager there and though she would like to be able to come to the funeral, can’t leave the project. With all the tabloids hounding her and speculating about her husband, who was also a good friend of Michael’s, she hasn’t had any chance just to grieve for the death of her friend. How are the press allowed to print such heinous lies as fact?!


Ang cathsoc swansea uni. 12.11.06 at 3:41 pm

i have just come back from the hospital and again this story is running. I from my own experience with the press re my late son and the supposed facts they printed made me wonder if Julian had another mother at one point! I just wish that when dealing with such traumatic news that they would check and re check news and distinguish between supposions and what is factual. I feel for everyone and rachels family and her self. yes Rchard it is when one is close to news such as Mikes death one experiences the whole gamet of truth, facts , and absolute lies. Well done for challanging them.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>