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Miscue: An Applicant Becomes an Expert on BBC

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Miscue: An Applicant Becomes an Expert on BBC

Digital Life

Miscue: An Applicant Becomes an Expert on BBC

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Talk is cheap. The BBC's News 24 channel has learned that lesson the hard way. Last week, the TV channel booked a fellow named Guy Kewney for an interview. He's the editor of NetWireless.net and an expert on internet music and copyrights.

NORRIS: Kewney had come into the BBC to comment on a court case won by Apple Computer but as correspondent Karen Bowerman began a live interview, Kewney sounded less than expert.

(Soundbite of BBC broadcast)

Ms. KAREN BOWERMAN (Correspondent, BBC): Hello, good morning to you.

Mr. GUY GOMA (Taxi Driver): Good morning.

Ms. BOWERMAN: Were you surprised by this verdict today?

Mr. GOMA: I'm very surprised to see this verdict to come up on me, because I was not expecting that. When I came, they told me something else and I am coming. (Unintelligible) So a big surprise, anyway.

Ms. BOWERMAN: A big surprise.

Mr. GOMA: Exactly.

Ms. BOWERMAN. Yes. Yes.

BLOCK: The big surprise for him, he says, is that he got an interview. And he looked surprised. As he was introduced as Guy Kewney, his eyes grew wide, his mouth dropped open. Then he clenched it shut, like a man who's discovered he's on Candid Camera.

NORRIS: It's every broadcaster's nightmare. Yes, that was not Guy Kewney. And yet there was no stopping the live interview.

(Soundbite of BBC broadcast)

Ms. BOWERMAN: This does really seem to be the way the music industry's progressing now, that people want to go onto the web site and download music.

Mr. GOMA: Exactly. You can go everywhere on the cyber café and you can go, it is going to be very easy way for everyone to get something to the internet.

Ms. BOWERMAN: Guy Kewney, thanks very much indeed.

BLOCK: The BBC apologized this weekend, saying it got the wrong man. As it turns out, the speaker's name is Guy Goma. He's from the Congo and he'd been sitting in the reception area waiting to interview for an IT job when he was called into the studio. Mr. Goma later told the BBC the interview was very stressful. No word on whether he got the job he came for, but he did do surprisingly well as an instant pundit on downloading.

NORRIS: And as for the real Guy Kewney, he was discovered later sitting in another BBC reception room. It appears the show's producer had gone to the wrong room looking for a guy named Guy. To judge from the web log Mr. Kewney later wrote, he's still recovering from the shock of seeing a nervous, Congolese and not entirely expert version of himself on television. You can see a video of the interview at NPR.org.

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