Sunday, December 17, 2006

Celebrate good Times

Strange I would have thought I would feel a bit more elated if I was given Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Oh well something to add to the C.V. I suppose.

How apt that after three months of hearing endlessly about UGC, new media, democratisation of the media, and my personal favourite "the death of the journalist", Time Magazine recognises all of this and gives everyone the award.

Man of the Year - Got a nice ring to it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Some Faith Restored...

Good old David Attenborough. It was almost a fore gone conclusion that he would win the BBCs Greatest Living Icon poll. Macca and Mozza were both interesting competitors with plenty of support but Attenborough is a cut above.

The passion and desire for his field is unrivalled and yet he suffers from none of the over the top self indulgance so many others afford themselves. Planet Earth is just the latest in a plethora of fantastic nature programmes with Attenborough at the helm. Be it in front of the camera as in his earlier days or now as a narrator he always brings that level of a quiet, unassuming, unintrusive but ultimately intelligent and knowledgeable voice.

ITV may think that programmes like EXTINCT (not my capitals - awful I know...) are "nature shows" and that by making them interactive (ohh you can vote to save an animal! It's like X Factor but with animals!) it will be engaging.

But actually what Attenborough has done by bringing the world of nature into people's living rooms in an interesting and informative way and letting the images speak for themselves is provide a legacy of shows that will beguil and entertain many generations when, sadly, many of the animals featured will either be extinct or only visible in zoos.

How jolly decent of the "Great" British public to recognise this now.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Blogs - they are everywhere...

Interesting that "200 million people have already stopped writing their blogs. "

I'm going to try and keep going though. I imagine my posting during Christmas will significantly fall as (a) we don't have broadband at home and (b) it's the Christmas holidays...

A Tall Story

Yet again news outdoes anything fiction could ever come up with

Friday, December 08, 2006

"I'm in Public Relations."..."My relations are already a little too public." (Arrested Development Genuis)

Finally worked in an Arrested Development reference, C'mon!

A few points from the PR lecture of the last of the Reporters and the Reported series.

Simon Lewis was a jolly nice chap and managed to skilfully avoid answering most questions and yet convince us until after the lecture that he had answered them. One person tried asking the same question twice after he took her point of view apart the first time. Needless to say this didn't work and was rather amusing.

For me the most interesting point he raised was the idea of the difference between image and reputation. It's true, as he said, that repairing image, or changing image, is not too difficult. It's like people: a new scarf, a different hair cut, a fancy pair of shoes - the image is altered. But the reputation of that person is still the same. Beneath the image the reputation and this is far more important.

A company can cope from an image crisis. But it can rarely cope from a reputation crisis. Once people lose faith, they ain't going back.

As for the old "PR v Journalists" debate Simon was of the opinion we need to get along as we will be working closely along side one another and require each other in order to benefit the public. This sounds like a very fair way of viewing it. After the recent internet debates that took place on the PR thread I think we can all agree that this is a reasonable course of action.

And I think we need to understand that arguments and confrontation are not an inherently evil thing. Charles Reiss, the first of the R&R speakers (what a nice loop) was quite adamant that if you weren't having "blazing rows" with your contacts in the press offices then something was seriously wrong.

And just for the record I will never go back to Vodafone no matter how much good press they get. My personal opinion of their reputation is simply not good enough.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Top 10 Albums

I have again been tagged to do a Top 10 List. This time it's albums and by Will Dean. I have picked one per artist and all studio albums. Except for Grace as the first one they are not in order.

I will probably update this to give a brief reason why I chose each album but right now I am too busy, although not too busy to do this much of the post. Cheers.

Peace and Goodwill to all Men - but not Children

Is this extreme parenting, a clever lesson, a waste of police time or just another example of CraZy! America? Whatever it is, it's an interesting story...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

10 Things...

I have been tagged by 'Geordie' to do this '10 Things I Would Never Do List'. So I present...

The All-time Top 10 things I Would never Do

10) I would never cry over spilt milk.

9) I would never eat a Ginsters Pasty.

8) I would never buy a CD by Michael Jackson.

7) I would never try hot air ballooning without first having had some lessons.

6) I would never disobey the laws of thermodynamics.

5) I would never read another Dan Brown book.

4) I would never ever ever ever buy Spam, make a Spam salad, put on a Tux, light some candles and sit down for an anniversary dinner with my wife.

3) I would never go to the cinema to watch a horror film.

2) I would never still be working on a thing like this past midnight.

1) I would never pass one of these things on to other people.

Dr Strangeblog

I'm now officially blogging for blogging's sake. There are no word limits and no criteria to fill.

Kim Hollamby of Ipc Media was the last of the online crowd to come and regail us with information about the future of media.

Kim referred to himself as a geek which is always oddly endearing. He did seem like a bit of a geek too, but only in a good way, and he gave us all free magazines which was fantastic.

One was Shoot magazine which is nothing like the paper quality, flimsy weekly I knew and loved. It's shiny, glossy, monthly and very professional. And only made by around a team of seven or eight people (we're told) - impressive stuff.

What was interesting about his talk was rather than making out that the internet and print were being forced to co-exist like two big fish in a one fish pond, it was more like two friends who happily slip in and out of each others house's without any need for formality.

Magazine websites should be seen as a complement to the magazine itself. Not something in direct competition with it. Moreover with the right mixture of content on the website you can create an even higher level of brand loyalty from customers.

And he gave plenty of information and quotes which I can use for my online feature.

Magazine people, is there anything they can't do...

P.S. - I hope this font wasn't too small and didn't hurt your eyes. (Magazine in-joke...does this make me a geek too?)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Zoo + Nuts = Monkey - More feature thoughts

Could this become the future of magazines?

Although the content is nothing more than what you would expect from a "lads' mag" the inter-active element is very interesting and if it works could be yet another new media format as of yet under-used.

However, I do not believe this can be the future. So much of the pleasure derived from magazines is from their physical qualities. The size, the touch, the colour etc.

The average attention span of the online user (around three minutes), the prospect of having to wait for pages to load on screen and other internet problems means it has too many hurdles. But it is obviously an avenue the major magazine companies feel has the potential for growth.

I am going to try and talk to the company responsibile for this new attempt at a magazine format for my Online feature.

You know what they say, "Monkey see, Monkey do", but in this case will it be,

"see what Monkey do, do what Monkey do"

(bit of a stretch I admit...)

New Topic for Online Article

Online Feature Idea
Topic: Journalism and Futurology

I'm assuming suitable time has passed for me to add another course related blog since the assessment period on Friday.

Having looked for a more concrete stand point for my Online article I have decided to continue my train of thought from this post about what the future will hold for newspapers and I will also look at magazines too.

If online growth continues and local papers, like Newbury Today, continue to use the internet to post their news where will their print readers be in the future?

Secondly could a similar situation arise in the magazine world? Will publications become more accessible and therefore lose hard-copy buyers, who are a fickle group anyway, or will the feel, touch and quality production of a magazine mean it remains a steady seller and advertising medium?

Or could low-grade, highly specified magazines, go purely online to allow their small readership the oppurtunity to download their latest content for a small price thus cutting out expensive production and transport costs?

In looking to answer these questions I will talk to those at the Newbury post, my local paper The Falmouth Packet, a wide range of magazines from nationwide monthly publications to small scale specialised magazines. I will also ask members of the public for their views.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The pen is mighter than the Sword (but what about The Blog?)

Pens. This lovely little historical story is what makes 'magazines' my favourite media form (even in an online format).

Who would think a story about the anniversary of the humble biro would, or even could, be the basis of such an interesting article, bringing in the RAF, the Design Museum, NASA and an artist?

I wonder if Blogs will be remembered in the same way in 60 years time?

P.S. - Laszlo Biro - what a name.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Way Back When


Doesn't it just look so...well...old?

*Are You Local?

Sarah Radford, from Newbury Today, spoke about the online side of local papers.

Having spent a week working for The Falmouth Packet I had seen firsthand the way stories can be put online almost immediately.

Sarah admitted that as an online journalist she felt like a 'Jack of all trades and a master of none', as she had to film, photograph, write, and broadcast, while never actually specializing in one area.

She told us that stories were not held back and that circulation remained consistent. But surely this is because the people who are still buying the print version of the paper are not the people accessing the website?

In 20 years time, say, won't the generation who are used to free news up-dated daily, video web-casts and galleries hosting 1,345 images, rather than the five a paper can hold, stop paying for a paper they don't need?

Won't this mean that online news will have to be paid for? Or will online websites be forced to close down and return to the print form to ensure a steady income? Or will advertising revenue sustain a purely online form of news?

The future of newspapers, especially local ones, looks set to be an interesting issue.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"I Wanna Be Like You"

I know I shouldn't laugh but it's news like this that we need more of...

The person who wrote the caption for the first picture probably never thought he'd get to write a sentence like that in his lifetime.

Even the title is hilarious (although of course unknowingly from the Beeb).

Monday, November 20, 2006

*The Internet: A Supernova Waiting to Implode?

Online Feature Idea
Topic: Journalism and Futurology

The internet is an ever-growing monster.

Almost 100,000 people start a blog every day with almost 57 million already in existence. Internet shopping is continually growing and the ability to run your life without ever seeing the outside world is a perfectly reasonable reality.

Science fiction writers of any era could never have envisaged a society where food, clothes, cars, houses, anything you care to imagine, could be delivered to any address with the simple click of a button.

Nothing can escape the internet's tentacles. Businesses without websites are seen as backwards, many major stores, companies and media outlets, are streamlining to run most things through their websites.

I will aim to talk to people in the magazine industry about how magazines, a traditionally non-linear media form, will adapt to the web as well as people whose businesses are becoming more and more web-based; such as Dixons, and shops which have never even had a high-street store like Amazon.

Where can the internet end? Like space ever expanding into unseen and unknown territories is there anything that will stop it? Or will it expand until it reaches breaking point and implodes in upon itself?

So with the internet pervasive in all arenas will media be forced to bow to its power? With blogs, video-web cast, non-stop online news sites, instantly accessible archives of old stories and business continually using online to increase profit, what does the future hold for traditional media, especially magazines?

Christ on a Bike

So sometimes the sensible decision is actually made.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No Man Can Find the War

Rodney Pinder's (of the International News Safety Institute) talk was very interesting and you could see how any situation in which human conflicts arise is a situation which could become a potential death trap.

The figure that over 1,000 journalists have been murdered in the last 10 years is a truly frightening one.

But what was more interesting was his desire for journalists to move away from the 'celeb' culture and 'silly news' writing which has started to become standard in the modern world. And while I heartily agree with his sentiments a fellow student threw him somewhat by saying

'Surely quality reporting is giving the public what they want. Whether that be fashion gossip about celebrities or high-level war reporting surely that is 'high-quality?' (Paraphrased)

To be fair to Mr Pinder he did admit that quality reporting meant the factual and honest reporting of anything. Not just serious hard hitting news. But it remains a point to consider.

Is quality journalism not (just) the reporting of serious events in an intelligent and informative way but, infact, the reporting of events that the public (who, after all, are the people who actually buy papers and magazines) want to read about?

Even if that means what the latest fashion disaster Posh and/or Becks have made this month.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

*The Journalist is Dead. Long Live the Journalist.

Pete Clifton swore - (example: "If you can't spell then fuck off") - not as much as he did last year apparently which is a shame because it's always nice to be slightly shocked in an overly-warm lecture theatre.

What struck me most was something which has been on my mind for a little while now. Many people, mainly those from the newspaper course, keep asking the lecturers if the inclusion of the public will mean the 'The Death of the Journalist' (in the most ominous voice possible).

But there has been a very clear trend in all our online lectures. The very experienced high-ranking guest speaker starts off extolling the merits of the new online media revolution.

But how do they end?

By telling us that they cannot impart upon us enough the merits and importance of spelling, grammar, a good general writing ability, enthusiasm, passion, and a basic journalistic curiosity.

So yes the media world is changing to include the 'user'. But does it mean that an educated, experienced, intelligent journalist (especially one trained at The Best Journalism School in the Country) will become a metaphorical washing machine on the scrap heap, or a burnt-out car on an inner-city housing estate?

No. Of course not.

Update: Nicholas Wheeler of ITN 'On' talked to us today (24/11/06), about the whole internet, new media, mobile content, malarkky. Towards the end, yet again, another question about the future for print journalists. His reply? ''Good writing is at the heart of everything".


So Jeff Buckley would have been 40 tomorrow. An odd thought. Heading into middle age with far more material released and a far greater fan base (which some might say would have been a bad thing...).

So as a mini-tribute I have put this video up. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Simply mesmeric. Bare in mind this was Glastonbury in 1995. Grace came out in 1994 and was not a quick seller. Most people in the crowd would have little idea who this man (and his band) were, which only serves to make the reaction at the end even more heightened.

Anyways. Enjoy...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Where JOMEC leads BBC follows

The BBC has done a nice little piece on 18 Doughty street here. (You have to go to the Video and Audio section half way down and select 'Tory TV under spotlight' - for some reason you can't link the video).

Interesting to note how many points are raised which we brought up in the lecture and have subsequently raised in our blogs.

And at least one person says 'new media'.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stop Trying to Change the Past(y)

Devon is too jealous of Cornwall.

Trying to steal the pasty from us, tsk tsk, shame. You can draw up tea-stained documents if you want, but no-one will go round saying 'oh this is a lovely Devon pasty' or even less likely, a lovely 'Devonian pasty'.

Apart from Dartmoor there is no aspect of Devon that the Cornish would ever want. So go and bother Somerset and leave us alone.

*Just to point out that no pasty ever bought from outside Cornwall is a proper pasty. And Ginsters...don't get me started.


On an utterly unrelated subject 'Under My Thumb' by The Rolling Stones might be the most misogynystic song ever.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Survival of the Fittest

Nicholas Brett did it all.

He slagged off newspapers, told us magazines were never going to go away, were the most creative and interesting of all media options, and he did it all in an amusing, interesting and affable way.

Filled with bizzare Youtube videos of Dutch girls, exploding woman, graphs and graphics, competitions giving away subscriptions and general ancedotes about the industry, this was exactly what we had waited almost seven weeks to hear.

Perhaps the only worrying thing was that he told us the one thing he couldn't emphasis enough was to be a good sub-editor. I am a rubbish sub. But if that is what Mr Brett believes to be the single most important attribute of any aspiring Magazine Journalist then I had better get practicing.

Or find someone willing to do it for me...

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Just looking at some posts I feel I may come across as a very anti-BBC person. I'm not. I think the BBC is the best media outlet out there for what it does. ITV doesn't stand a chance against it. It's programmes are second to none (Planet Earth etc.) and it does it all in a clear and, usually, sane voice.

When mistakes appear on the BBC they are magnified by their being 'by the BBC'.

And if you think about how much you pay for a licence as oppossed to what it gives you in return (live sport, news, excellent TV, comedies, quizzes etc.) it actually looks like the bargain of the century.

It's just harder to accept that when a) you're a student and b) you encounter mistakes and lazy journalism - which inhabit all media companies - but they are ones you aren't forced to pay for.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

We didn't start the fire...

Ohhhhhh News. You couldn't make it up.

Push The Button

Well first off I really enjoyed Daniel Meadows' lecture.

An online orator using a computer during a lecture seemed fine to me. Showing us work Capture Wales has produced seemed fair enough. Reading from notes, with little asides and side swipes at the media, seemed within the professional standards we have had so far.

So what is all this user-generated content really about? We have heard a lot about it recently. My word haven't we heard a lot about it. The cynical view of Daniel Meadows was that being allowed to push a red button (red is just so inviting) did not constitute a 'media-conversation' but rather a leash with which the media companies can keep control over a (supposed) moronic population who will be happy to vote for, or against, brainless idiots on Big Brother.

Like phone-in quizzes, or X-factor shows, they are not interactions but corporate money-making schemes dressed up as 'you the audience are in control' shows.

And he is right. It is not a dialogue.

People want to be told things. But they want an "electronic embrace". They want journalists to go out and find stories, to produce them professionally, to provide them with an understanding of what is going on the world. But they then want the ability to talk back on their terms. They do not all want to just be given the choice of A or B and told 'take it or leave it' with a shrug of the media baron's shoulders.


Here is one of the videos we were shown. It is simple, unassuming and perhaps, in all honesty, irrelevent. But it is interesting. It is reality. It is life. Perhaps that is all it is. A record for the future. If this new age of user-generated content is opening up avenues of artistic creation to those who would never have even thought about it before then how can it be anything but a positive thing?

Power to the people...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

News is People...

It's stories like this that make me glad I'm on the magazine option. Having to report stories like this week in, week out, would probably make me suicidal.

As I said in this post;

"I think the entire human race needs to be told to be ready for a life of misery - when the news is concerned - of evil people carrying out evil deeds on (usually) undeserving victims."

News is people - and people are appalling.

We Don't Need No Education

This story about a girl suffering from *Cough* Depression *Cough* is a classic example of our complaining culture gone mad. She is four years old! Four! Get a grip.

Just because your 'precious' daughter didn't get into some school does not give you the right to complain to the level this woman thinks she is entitled to do. How on earth can a friendship at four years old bring on depression when separated.

Within two weeks her and her friends would be pulling each others hair and fighting over who has whose doll. It is just an angle the moaning, the world-owes-me, parents are taking to make it a story.

And yet the BBC - the almighty, all powerful, 'we live off our reputation far too much' BBC - not only makes it a story on their website, but had the cheek to invite them onto their prime time breakfast show. How dare they spend my licence fee on bringing some backwater family whining about their 'little angel' who has depression.

I felt angry, and yet unsurprised, that this woman had managed to get the story so far into the market that she was on the BBC.

But what can you do?

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Italian Blog

Can't get enough of punning the title...

Just had to link this story about the power of music, patriotism and lunacy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not really a sad day for Saddam

Saddam sentenced to death. Result.

It's not a great way of getting revenge but I do think it's the only action that can work. It could make him a martyr but with him alive the situation will always be inflamed, moreso, and so the death penalty is probably the only answer.

The population of the world is high enough. One less madman guilty of genocide the better.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cats, Dogs, Blogs and the online revolution...

Dogs read papers. They remain loyal and obedient. They will display it on their coffee table to let people know their allegiances. Cats read online. They will follow the cream - irrespective of the hand that is offering it.

Or so said Richard Burton in today’s very interesting Online Journalism lecture about the main differences between print and online journalism. Purely on a superficial level it was nice to hear someone speak about online journalism to the point where you could understand why people find it an enjoyable sector to work in.

As ex-editor of The Telegraph’s online site Richard was someone at the cutting edge of the online revolution in the mid 1990s. However, his obvious passion for the old fashioned skills and principles of journalism were evident and demonstrated that the art of style and substance can be obtained without sacrificing integrity or personal beliefs.

So to blogs; finally someone has said what no-one else seemed brave enough to say - (certainly not Iain Dale) - not everyone should have a blog. Not everyone cares what everyone thinks. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing a blog but don’t be deluded into thinking it should become everyone’s home page.

As Richard Burton said “your words are your commodity”. They are what you have to offer and most peoples aren’t much to offer. But those that are, those that can interest, entertain, enlighten, elucidate and educate (check out that alliteration), can be highly successful and deserve their place on the front page of national newspaper’s websites.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Shock of the New(s)

News is shocking. 80% is about trauma. This is why news so often ends with 'cute' stories about scrabble playing dogs or other such nonsense. People finish watching the news and feel alright. If they thought about the rest of the broadcast it would be death/rape/murder/war/ in no particular order. They would probably then want to die from depression.

We Journalists (well I'm on the magazine option so I'm not quite a Journalist, apparently...) come face to face with people in awful situations. We have to walk a line between professional responders and human beings in the wrong place at the wrong (and yet right) time. It's hard to remain focused when things around you feel they are overtaking you, that you are hopeless to help people in peril. But this is what we must do.

The world is an evil, evil, place and it seems the worst kinds of people are winning the war against the minority - a glance at current films being screened shows the type of people that Hollywood knows will be moronic enough to go and see - and as Journalists we have the ability to put into the public domain thoughts, opinions and feelings that can influence people for better or for worse. We have to learn to use this privilege carefully.

When we confront those in shock, in trauma, in pain and suffering, it would be easy to forget all thoughts of professionalism and want to help. But the reporting of an event can have a far greater effect on a much wider scale. Think of Live Aid - all brought about from Michael Buerk's harrowing report from Ethopia.

I don't know if Journalists need to be told they could be affected by what they see, I think the entire human race needs to be told to be ready for a life of misery - when the news is concerned - of evil people carrying out evil deeds on (usually) undeserving victims. This isn't news. This is life.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's Alright Ma (I'm only Blogging)

Here is a link to my Blog of the Week: Allan Jones has been following the Bob Dylan tour and giving an interesting overview and critique of the set lists that have been played. Probably only one for Dylan fans or anyone with a passing interest in real music but it's all good stuff.

Other Dylan Blog titles I could have used...

Tangled up in Blog
(The Answer my friend is) Blowin' in the Blog
Like a Rolling Blog
Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blog Again

or even the very pithy

Blog Dylan

I think I chose the best one by far in the title... but feel free to add any that are better.

The Problem with Online

Online Online Online. It's the only thing worth reading these days. Apparently...

Forgive me for being argumentative but online is only a stop-gap for proper journalism. It gives you what you want when you want it, but like a sandwich at lunch, it's only a snack before a real meal of newspapers or magazines - (this metaphor has got confused but you get the point...)

I love BBC online but it is filled with mistakes, especially the Sports section and as Amanda Powell told us the other day, people, users sorry, only stick around for a few minutes and so the news is nothing more than the bare minimum that a person can remember to sound intelligent when down the pub with their social networks.

Other online sites have similar procedures/problems and it all leaves me underwhelmed (can you just be whelmed?) by how robotic it sounds. When you read a quality paper or a well-written magazine the writing is far more interesting, absorbing and treats you with a degree of respect. The world seems to assume we all care, watch and even vote on Big Brother, X Factor etc. when in fact some of us are intelligent enough to realise it's a money making gimmick dressed up as 'entertainment'.

Whilst Online journalism is going to become a mainstay of our future it does not represent the end of anything. Some of us will still want a well-written, crafted in-depth piece about the music of Led Zeppelin, or the drug problems in South America or something else which Online Journalism does not want to cater for.

Monday, October 23, 2006


More fantastic reporting in the media today. Richard Hammond has given his first interview since that crash and he has 'revealed' that he 'almost died'. I'm pretty sure when he was in that coma we all knew he had almost died. Crashing a light weight drag racer at 300mph is not exactly conducive to a healthy bodily state.

But yet 'Revealed' was the word thrown about the BBC website like something I would expect from FOX News (cunning? ravaged? sly?). Why is it so hard to read back what you have written to see that after just eight words you have made a very basic mistake? Especially from the BBC who are just so goddamn trustworthy. I love the Beeb but it doesn't take long looking around their lovingly crafted website to start noticing glaring error upon glaring error; And on that bombshell...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Give me another shot of news

Whilst enjoying a laid-back pub quiz on Thursday night the television on in the grad centre was on News24, because us post-grads are so mature we only want News, Or TMF in the day… Anyways there was an odd moment when the story running on the BBC News 24 channel went to the news that Prince William wears glasses, coupled with (so the BBC upholds their position of trustworthyness) a picture of William with said glasses.

But this wasn’t enough. The BBC need a quote. What could they say? Who would give a pithy quote regarding specky William and his new glasses. Then who should phone up but a spokesman. A spokesman! The BBC’s prayers were answered. What vital piece of infomation should they extract first. What does your average man…..or woman want to know about a young man and his glasses. How often he wears them! Of course. Thus the headline ran…

Spokesman: He only wears them occassionaly

Thank the skies for News24. Without constant, uninterrupted, never-ending, efficient, popular, interesting, vital, and above all, breaking news, where would we be?!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keep on Blogging in the free world...

Iain Dale spoke very passionately and interestingly about the new media advancements, in particular his own online TV site 18 Doughty Street. The lecture centred on the very interesting subject of how left-wing media coverage of politics has become. In Cardiff the odds of finding a copy of The Times are less than Elvis crashing a UFO into the Lochness monster eating a Yeti.

The fear of offending any group, especially religions, has turned news coverage into a spineless jelly of reporting.

The notion of a free speech television network was particularly appealing when you look at how pathetically safe and non-offensive all news TV has become with the possible exception of some features on Channel 4 News.

However I feel his obvious slight bias towards Cameron, and in particular his Video Blog, which has attracted so much media attention recently, did come through when discussing this point. Just because a politician, especially the head of the opposition party, takes up the idea of a webcast video, does not mean we should instantly respect it.

It would not have been difficult for Cameron and his PR people to realise that the overly cynical public would immediately reject his video as nothing more than PR exercise. It would have been a far better idea to make the video a little less 'homely' and a little more 'intellectual' because let's face it, we don't see politicians as the same as us, whether they wash-up or not. They put themselves in a job which leaves them open to ridicule, press invasion, scrutiny and rumour, for a job people have little or no respect for anymore and nothing resembling a major financial reward.

Despite this it was refreshing to hear someone willing to voice opinions that people would not immediately agree with let alone not immediately disagree with.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Online Journalism Lecture 12/10/06

Lecture 1

Amanda Powell (right), current editor of, spoke about the pressures and issues which arise when dealing with the news feed on an online website; especially one which has almost 11 million hits a month.

The immediate need to write the story, check facts, ensure it is legally sound, and then publish it was at the forefront of her lecture. Her talk centred around how an online website is designed to keep a user 'clicking' - a user who on average will only stay for four mintues - and in that time deliever as much interesting, informative and above all accurate infomation in such a short space of time.

With such a short space of time in which a reader will give a site his or her attention it does seem as if the reporting of news on such an instant level leaves little room for creative input or anything more than a very broad and basic overview of a story and it's quite possible to see how news reporting - even for a site as respected and diverse as the BBC - could become nothing more than 'factory line' reporting in which an article must be churned out, checked, uploaded, and then the journalist will have to move on to the next piece for the site.

With a magazine article or feature there is a lot more room for creativity and in-depth analysis as well as being able to engage the reader on a far more conversational and yet intelligent level as your reader is far more likely to be willing to read the entire article.

Despite this ever-so-slightly negative view of online news reporting I did find Amanda's talk very interesting and as the BBC is such a giant (or dinosaur?) in the journalistic world (in any medium) it was certainly enlightening to hear a high-ranking employee discussing the workings of a top-level internet news site.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Welcome to my blog. Updated regularly, and featuring all the best from the lecture series on PG Journalism from Cardiff University, and possibly some musings on other things that have happened. Enjoy!