Archive for April, 2011

America’s insanity

April 28, 2011

I found it quite amazing that President Obama released his birth certificate on Wednesday to silence the ‘birther’ movement. He shouldn’t have wasted his time. These idiots, who have continuously questioned the President’s place of birth, won’t be satisfied.

Donald Trump gloated that he was responsible for the birth certificate being released after his constant questioning of the President. Trump is stirring the pot and playing to the tea party crowd who only oppose the President because of his skin colour and not because of his politics. Trump will never get near the Republican nomination for Presdient, so he should just stick to his stupid hairpiece and his crappy show. He is an odious man, who is just an opportunist. Why anybody finds him noteworthy remains a mystery to me. Now he’s trying to stir the pot about the President’s place at Columbia and Harvard universities. Bob Schieffer, anchor of Sunday political show, Face the Nation, says it best when he accuses Trump of using race to further the debate.

The other neanderthals in the Tea Party and beyond unsurprisingly questioned the newly released birth certificate. One idiot saying that it raises more questions than answers. Please, do us a favour and go back underground and never surface again! America is made to look very foolish on this issue. After two years in office, they still want to have this debate. How pathetic are they? The rest of the world looks on and laughs at the cretins that make this an issue. It’s a shame Obama legitimised it by taking valuable time to address these nutcases.  No doubt they’ll find some other ridiculous issue to drag out before next year’s election.


It’s all kicking off in the coalition

April 24, 2011

Is the love affair over? Angry statements have been made by the Lib Dems, including Nick Clegg, about the “lies” the Conservatives are spreading about the alternative vote system. As part of the Lib Dems agreeing to form a Government with the tories, they demanded there put a vote put to the electorate about AV. Now, where once there was sweetness and light, lies anger and hatred. The NO campaign have been busy. The YES campaign are fighting back.

Energy Secretary, Chris Hune has not ruled out resigning his position over this. He accuses the tories of “untruths” and is considering taking legal action. “It is frankly worrying if you have colleagues who you’ve respected, and who you’ve worked well with, who are making claims which have no foundation in truth whatsoever.” Foreign Secretary William Hague said that he does not believe that the rows will disunite the coalition. “We all have strong feelings but at the end of it the coalition will work very well together as it is at the moment.”

Sitting in on those cabinet meetings just got a whole lot more interesting. How I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that room.

Critical Evaluation – Newsday

April 12, 2011

For both newsdays, I arrived in the early afternoon having attended my shorthand lessons. Due to this, I missed out on the morning meetings which brought the broadcast and online classes together to discuss what they would do. On the first newsday, I joined the Inside WNOL blog team. I scoured the internet to see what I could blog about and found a few stories of interest. At the Ian Tomlinson inquest, there was breaking news about the testimony of a police officer who said that her colleague used excessive force in pushing down Mr Tomlinson. This was a good story to focus on as it was the first time, the public had heard criticism from within the Met Police about the events of that day. I logged onto to Twitter to see if Paul Lewis, the journalist that initially broke the story about Ian Tomlinson in 2009, had anything to add. He did not, but it was worth a look.

Other stories I blogged about were the BBC Breakfast team headed north to Salford. Some had agreed to go, while others opted not to. Interesting story as this move has proved controversial within the BBC, but also from the standpoint of a journalist. In many cases, you have to move from city to city to secure work and that gave me something to think about. I enjoyed newsday 1 despite being a late comer. There was a lot of energy in the newsroom and most people seemed engaged in their tasks. However, newsday 2 was the complete opposite.

When I arrived at lunchtime, there weren’t that many people in the newsroom. I again, opted to join the blogging team as it was too late to switch to another medium had I wanted to do so. I scoured a couple of the newspapers and found a few of interest. David suggested I blog about Bob Dylan’s tour of China and the controversy surrounding it. I used this story to incoporate the arrest of Ai Weiwei in Hong Kong a few days before Dylan’s first concert. The criticism being that Dylan was selling out to the Chinese government and would never have done so in his heyday. I also did a story about the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots. There was a story in one of the papers, so I took some of the quotes from principal figures that were involved and married it with some of my own writing on the subject, which I’d done for the magazine project last year. I thought it was a good piece for the blog and even illicited a comment from an angry ‘indigenous englishman’.

In conclusion, both newsdays were useful. I enjoyed looking for stories of note and putting them up on the blog. The second one was disappointing though. A few students didn’t show up and within the online team, it felt like the last day before the Christmas break. I would have liked to have worked with the broadcast team on linking stories, but it wasn’t possible. I found that the newsday events helped to sharpen my journalistic nouse and got me to think about what stories matter to people and ones which drive traffic to a blog. Stories such as the Ian Tomlinson and Brixton riots, bring about varying opinions. This is something I will keep in mind for the future.

Critical Evaluation – Individual blog

April 12, 2011

I came up with the idea for the All Stars Boxing Gym story after I recalled seeing a story last year about it’s founder receiving an M.B.E. I knew about the gym from my teenage years, although I had never been inside the building. I thought it would make for an interesting audio slideshow as I figured there would be lots of visual material and quite a few stories to be told. I wasn’t disappointed.

When I first approached Mr Akay, he was reticent about me doing a story about the gym. His main concern seemed to be about material going online that would feature under 18’s. After some reassurances, this was no longer an issue. After some advice from Reza about spending as much time as possible at the gym, I went there three times in a week. Spending a total of 6 hours and 30 minutes. I could only go at 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as those were the days junior boxers were not involved.

The first couple of visits involved taking lots of pictures. I thought long and hard about where to take the shots, from which angle and their impact. I also made sure never to disturb any of the boxers whilst training. I made myself as invisible as possible. Some of the audio slideshows shown during class gave me some ideas on how to approach it. I wanted to marry the pictures with the audio so it made for an engaging and visual story. When I finally got to sit down with Mr Akay for an interview, I didn’t expect to get much time to talk with him as he only gave me a few minutes. However, when he started talking about the birth of the gym and its overall story, I knew that the audio was going to be powerful. He is such a great story teller and he didn’t need any prompting from me. The story about Mike Tyson was the highlight of our chat. I was very pleased with that.

The next step was to edit 30 minutes of audio down to 3 minutes. I found this quite difficult, only because I was loath to edit so much out. The challenge for me was to make it as interesting as possible. In the end, I cut it down to 5 minutes and 10 seconds. I added a background track of ambiance from the gym which was used as an accompaniment to  Mr Akay speaking, which was a bit monotone in places. I remembered Reza talking about the importance of ambient sound, so I recorded a couple of minutes during my visits. This proved very useful.

Overall, I was happy with the end product. I think it works quite well and conveys the story of the gym and all of its highs and lows. It could have been better if I’d had more pictures of Mike Tyson as I had to use filler photos during the portion of the slideshow where Mr Akay speaks about him. I held some of the photos too long, but I couldn’t think of another way around this. I thought about taking pictures of Mr Akay working in the gym, but he really didn’t too much, so I opted for pictures of him hanging on the walls instead.

I throughly enjoyed putting this story together. It was challenging yet rewarding. I especially enjoyed the audio aspect of it. I learned a lot from this production. And I feel it was beneficial to me as a journalist. It’s a great way to tell a story and helps the creative process in how you approach a story as a journalist. I feel it helped to bolster my skills and added another dimension to my journalistic talents.

Critical Evaluation – The group blog

April 12, 2011

It all began on a Friday morning with myself and four others. We were brought together to come up with an idea for a website about London. I was somewhat concerned at the beginning of the gathering as there seemed to be little enthusiasm from some group members. I kicked around a few ideas and made some suggestions. Initally, we talked about doing something about London’s nightclubs, but I didn’t think it was interesting as that information can be found on various sites. As time passed, we came up with an idea for a site about the alternative side of London. Things that don’t get much attention from the media. We talked about doing a story about which London park has the most dog mess. Everyone seemed to like that idea. I made a few suggestions to the group about  looking into hygienic practices of London’s restaurants. I also mentioned to Louis about doing a story on the game of basketball and how it is slowly growing in popularity. At this point, these were just suggestions to get the cerebral juices flowing. We talked about whether to use wix or dreamweaver to create the site. Sophie said she was a dab hand with dreamweaver and would be happy to take responsibility for creating the nuts and bolts of the site. We looked at Time Out’s website for inspiration and one or two others.

When it came down to it, the five of us agreed we were headed in the right direction. We agreed to come back with some concrete ideas for the following week. One week on and Fred and Sophie failed to show and were never to be seen again. At this point, we decided not to rely on them and move ahead as a trio. Our target audience would be 18 to 35, with both Londoners and tourists being the main readers.We agreed to use wix. Louis took charge of the design aspects. I became editor and I can’t remember Benzo’s role. During the week, I came up with a few ideas for stories that could feature on the site. During this time, I began to realise that it would be a better idea to focus on stories that show the hidden side of London. Rather than things people don’t talk about in London or the city being overated. This was mentioned at our next meeting.

I decided to do two stories that were to be audio slideshows. A pie and mash shop, as so many of them have disappeared from London. Plus many people from London have never tried it. In keeping with traditional cockney fare, I also decided to feature the Tubby Isaacs stall in Aldgate My second story was about Kensal Green cemetery. I decided to highlight the tour which takes place every Sunday and some of the fantastic gravestones that can be found there. I thought this story most of all summed up the hidden London tag. My final story was spotlighting Queens Market in East London. I thought this would be a good one as it’s not one of the capital’s best known markets, yet it is very vibrant and colourful.

I did all of my stories in the same week, which was quite exhausting, but enjoyable. I felt that the material I gathered was quite good. I enjoyed taking lots of pictures and placed a great deal of importance on getting interesting and striking photographs. This was essential for a slideshow. At the suggestion of Reza, I used Flickr for the Tubby Isaacs story. I tried to do it for the market story too, but wix wasn’t having it for some reason.

I think the site as a whole could have been a lot better than the final product. I was a little bit disappointed with some of the stories that some of the others came up with. I didn’t think some of them captured the ethos of our site. I don’t think some of them really made an effort in developing their ideas beyond the early stages of our meetings. From a journalistic stand point, the stories were lacking. Although my role was editor, I didn’t get to overlook much of the copy as some of it was left to the last minute. At this point, there was no time to review it before going online. I had wanted to add a Twitter account to our site so readers could give us their opinion on their hidden London favourites. I did try to do it, but I was having too many problems.

I helped out with some of the site developement, such as navigation, but overall, it was left to Louis to do. I think he did a good job, but with more time and a bit more guidance, could have improved the design. Our site would certainly have benefited from more social media being incorporated. As an analogy, rather than being digital, our site  ended up being analogue.

In summary, I enjoyed the experience. We were hamstrung by our ghost members, but we managed to come up with a decent site. There could have been more multimedia content on there too, which was a little disappointing. Not bad for a first effort I guess. I really enjoyed producing the slideshows and it really whetted my appetite for multimedia productions in the future.


Daily Sport ceases trading

April 1, 2011

The first national newspaper victim of the internet age? Or just a crap paper that nobody wanted to read? Whichever one you choose to believe, the fact is the Daily Sport has been placed into administration. It ceased trading on April 1. And no, this is not a April fools joke.

Sport Media Group, which owns the titles of the Daily and Sunday Sport, pulled the plug. They don’t have any money to pay their creditors. This follows their warning in December that it had suffered “insufficient recovery”. Without a buyer, the paper could go the way of Eddie Shah’s Today newspaper in 1995. The Sunday Sport was launched in 1986 with lots of saucy stories and scantily clad women. The Daily Sport was relaunched in 2008 with James Brown, formerly of Loaded magazine. The goal was to lose the sleaze and focus more on the sex.

Guess it didn’t quite work out. And now both titles are on life support. Who will be their saviour?