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.