Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Plans to Tackle Illegal Downloaders...

Lord Mandelson

I have been following an interesting story this week about how Lord Mandelson plans to tackle illegal downloaders on the Internet. Pirate downloads of music and films has been a hot topic over recent years and stopping it completely has proven to be a difficult task. However, Lord Mandelson has come up with a plan that might just work, even though it has already been met with criticism.

According to a newspaper, The Business Secretary plans to tackle serial pirates by temporarily suspending their home Internet services, however this would be a method only used after a series of offences. The initial contact will be made via a letter which will warn the Internet user, whilst their details will be passed onto music and other companies, leaving them the option to sue the person or not.

I think this tactic seems like a good way to tackle music and video piracy, as I think it will deter a lot of people who use the Internet on a daily basis and in many respects couldn't comprehend life without the Internet. However it does have it's drawbacks, say for example in a family home of two adults and two children. If one member of that household is a serial downloader and the Internet is cut off because of that one person, is it fair on the remainder of the house? Especially if they were unaware of the person's illegal activities!

The main opposition has come from Internet service providers who think that the scheme won't work due to the cost and technical issues but also because modern technology makes it possible for people to disguise their Internet identities. Clearly the people most against Internet piracy are those that produce the content that is being stolen. Musicians, actors, directors, record companies etc are all against illegal downloading of their content and in fairness why should they produce this content (which isn't cheap to produce) to have it stolen?

It's always going to create an interesting debate until it's either resolved or if there is no resolution it just continues so I guess it's a waiting game to see if Mandelson's plan comes into force and then if it's going to work!

The Return of Frank Turner...

Last night I witnessed what has to be one of the best live shows Winchester has ever seen.Frank Turner returned to Winchester for his biggest home town show to date and the packed Guildhall is a clear indication of his success as a solo artist.

Frank's live shows really are full of energy and with a combination of brilliant songs and witty banter he captivates his audience from start to finish. Last night was a mixture of old songs from his previous Cd's Sleep is for the Week and Love, Ire & Song and tracks from his new album Poetry of the Deed. Frank also threw in a track from his previous band Million Dead called Smiling at Strangers on a train which was a surprising highlight of the show for me.

At first I was sceptical about the full band feel that features on his new stuff but eventually following a mixture of band orientated tracks and acoustic tracks I was blown away. His live presence is really something and he leaves the audience wanting more and from a personal point of view he leaves me wanting to learn to play guitar!

Frank Turner was recently quoted on the London Evening Standard website as saying "live performances are what I live for" and this is clear to see in any of his live shows. Last night he couldn't be faulted and right now I can't think of a reason why anybody wouldn't like Frank Turner.

The image above is from the first Frank Turner gig I went to at the Railway in Winchester in 2008!

Here's Frank's website:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ian Anderson Comes to Town...

Yesterday at University we had the pleasure of a guest lecture from Ian Anderson, recently the editor of the BBC 10 o'clock news. It was a very interesting couple of hours in which Ian analysed some news packages we had prepared earlier in the week. This seemed a terrifying prospect when we were told this and we put a lot of work into trying to make sure our package was perfect!!

All in all it went pretty well for our whole class, we got some good comments but I think the most useful thing for me was the improvement tips he gave us as a group.

There were a lot of tips on how to improve so I have just explained the one I found particularly useful. I found Ian's tips on the importance of a Piece to Camera (PTC) and how it can be used to turn a standard story towards the angle you are aiming for, most useful. For example, we did our package about University of Winchester students graduating and the possible problems they may have finding a job due to the current economic climate. Our PTC was pretty short and we didn't use it well enough to emphasise the angle of our story, and Ian recommended that we aim for longer PTC's, around 20-30 seconds long, to improve this.

I also found it very interesting to look into his career as a journalist and his rise from The Reading Evening Post, where he started, to eventually being the editor of the BBC 10 o'clock news.

I didn't take any photo's on the day so if you would like to see some of Ian looking around the TV studio at the University of Winchester and talking to students please see my friend's blog who did take some photos:

E-books not the end of Libraries?

I read an interesting article today about E-books and how they have impacted on libraries around the country. The reason I found it interesting was because it was praising the fact that E-books have actually increased library membership in some areas.

I was always of the mindset that new technology would replace old traditional methods and would affect the number of people still using them, for example how more and more people are using the internet as a news source instead of newspapers. E-books offer the user the chance to read a book on a computer screen or via an E-book reader (which to a certain extent is a portable screen which allows the user to read a book off of it.) The reason I figured this would cause libraries numerous problems and perhaps even force some to close was the key fact that E-books are downloaded and therefore the actual books are only required so that they can be uploaded onto a database.

The reason that the libraries have seen a surge in members isn't because stubborn people are refusing to engage with new technology, it's because libraries have started to engage. Libraries have seen a decrease in the number of members over recent years and the fears that the public were no longer interested in borrowing books were there to see, but technology seems to have saved the day. So far Luton, Essex and Windsor & Maidenhead are offering the service where members can download the E-books to their computer via the library website and then have 14 days to read them before they are automatically deleted, saving the reader the trouble of having to remember when it is due back.

I think the E-book system offers a number of benefits especially with regards to encouraging children to read. Children are growing up with more and more technology and if that technology can be used to encourage a child to read more often then it can only be a good thing. Although there are no official statistics available at the moment a librarian quoted in the Telegraph article (see link below) said there have been "more than 250 members signing up, even though only local residents could use the service."

It seems like it's a great system which can enable libraries to stay open and use it to run along side the actual books which some people still like to borrow in the traditional way. It's also fantastic to see technology enhancing tradtional methods instead of replacing them.

Here's the Daily Teleraph Article:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Question Time for The BBC...

David Dimbleby
So THE Question Time of the year has happened as Nick Griffin leader of the BNP appeared on the show last night and to be perfectly honest I was disappointed with the way the BBC handled it.

It was always going to be a hostile affair and Griffin would've known that he was in for a tough night but I was surprised to see how the BBC changed the show for this week. The programme was almost entirely focused on the BNP and perhaps in some respects this is probably what Griffin was hoping for.

This is where I was disappointed, I was looking for the usual Question Time debate, discussing a variety of topics and offering various political parties their chance to show what their view was, but last night was just a chance to attack the BNP. Whether you agree with the BNP or not (and I don't) the BBC show was not objective last night like it should be. The BBC should represent an impartial opportunity for political parties to answer questions from the public and in my opinion last night it became an anti BNP show. Whether they deserve it or not, whether their policies are totally racist or not, Question Time should be an objective political debate.

The show has given Griffin and the BNP the ammunition they need to attack institutions like the BBC and play the victim, especially as Griffin has already indicated that he will be complaining about the show. Also the BNP believe that the show has actually helped increase their membership with "with no fewer than 3,000 new people registering" ( which is a slightly worrying issue as Griffin endured a tough time on the show by being constantly jeered and booed by the audience.

The BNP don't deserve the attention they are receiving, the policies they represent are disgraceful but unfortunately I think the way the BBC handled the Griffin affair last night may have just helped, rather than hindered their cause.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Protests Over Question Time at Television Centre...

Protests outside Television Centre

I've just been watching the footage from the BBC of protesters breaking into the BBC grounds to voice their feelings about BNP leader Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time.

Griffin's appearance has been very much the media focal point this week, and rightly so, but I think when it comes to breaking barriers and storming into the grounds of the BBC then the protests have gone too far. In my previous post you can see I don't agree with the BNP and am hoping that tonight is a negative experience for the party with regards to politics but I think that it's an important, and perhaps even more importantly, correct decision to have the BNP leader on the show.

People voted for the BNP and the party won seats in the European elections and therefore he deserves the publicity and position on Question Time in the same way that the representatives from Labour or the Conservatives do for example. The people that voted for the BNP deserve the chance to see the party they voted for on the show giving his views in the same way Tory voters would expect to see Conservatives on there.

I'm not agreeing with the BNP in anyway here but I think by breaching security at the BBC today then the protesters overstepped the mark. We live in a democracy after all and although some of the BNP's policies are very questionable, whilst they are a legal political party and whilst they have voters then the BBC is right to give them the airtime.

Tonight's Question Time isn't one to miss! 10.35 p.m. BBC 1.

Here's the link to the video of the protests from today:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

BNP Debate Rages On...

Nick Griffin

Photo originally from:

The debate over The BBC's decision to invite BNP leader Nick Griffin onto this week's Question Time continued this morning with more column inches discussing the the far right party.

I've been very much a fence sitter on this issue as I haven't been able to decide as to whether or not Nick Griffin's appearance on the politics show can be justified as good or bad. But today I decided to make my decision.

I think it's important to remember that the BNP did win two seats and nearly one million votes at the European elections, so I think the main questions are; does the BBC have an obligation to offer them the chance on Question Time? Does it have an obligation to the licence payer and more importantly to those licence payers who may have voted for the BNP? I think it does have an obligation to the licence payers who may have voted for the party and although I don't agree with the BNP, I think it's important that all parties that are receiving a significant amount of votes should be entitled to the publicity.

However, for the most part I think it's a case of giving the BNP the chance to showcase to the members of the public who are unsure about them or their policies and after a few tough questions hopefully they'll see the real side to Nick Griffin and the BNP.

The BNP have put a clock on their website counting down the time until their leader appears on the BBC show and are perhaps viewing it as a positive exercise to publicise the party, but I'm hoping that this will infact be a negative exercise for the BNP and cause more people to join the campaigns against them instead.

I agree with the recent campaign "There is Nothing British about the BNP" ( which "is a campaign against the politics of hate which aims to promote the British values of democracy, tolerance, fair-play and respect for one another." However, I am very intrigued as to how Griffin will use his airtime on the show and how the BNP will come across so in a way I am looking forward to his inclusion on the programme.

Although I agree that the BBC should allow Nick Griffin to appear on the show, I think it will only reinforce my negative feelings against the party and I'm hoping it will do for many other people. I think a phrase I read today is very apt; "Cockroaches only flourish in the dark: Shine a light on them and they scuttle away."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Final Cut Pro...

Today we got going with a Final Cut Pro tutorial and I was very impressed with the programme as a whole. I was particularly pleased with the fact that it is very similar to Premiere Pro as I have become quite confident with Premiere Pro so hopefully the transition to this new programme shouldn't be too much of an issue.

The main principles of Final Cut Pro are very similar to what we've been taught previously and key recommendation that I am always keen to remember is where you save you're work.

All aspects of projects need to be saved to the same place, the same folder on the same drive as it's pretty vital for it to work properly. This goes along with making sure all the settings are correct, If you go to Final Cut Pro (menu) - Audio/Video Settings then the settings should be set to DV PAL 48 Khz for the first two lines and the third should be set to Firewire PAL.

Once that is set it is pretty important to save your work to a specific folder on the particularly drive, so if you are using an external hard drive make sure you select that when going to save. Then if you check your scratch disks in File - System Settings you can check that all aspects of your work are going into the same folder.

Now you can start, either by placing your tape into one of the tape decks or if there aren't any available it is possible to edit your package straight from the camera by using a firewire (I expect these are available at the Loan Counter at Uni?!).

You're now ready to get editing and producing your package/film/documentary or whatever it is you're editing. I think the best way to get used to this programme is to use it, play around with it and discover things for yourself, but here are a few hot keys that might make progress faster:

Hot Keys:

Apple Key + 8 = Capture Mode - Where you can capture the sections of filmed material you want to use.

Shift + L = Link Selection - Can be used separates your audio and video sections when in the timeline so that you delete the audio if you just want to use the video for example.

A = Arrow - Gives you back the arrow which can be used to drag clips, shorten them and is generally the tool you will probably need most.

B = Razor - Very useful tool which can be used to chop clips to delete parts or separate etc.

Below is a pretty useful video of the basics of Final Cut Pro which I found on YouTube, there are loads of videos for the programme on YouTube and there are some excellent tutorials on there.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ruining Stalin's Reputation...



Defamation and Libel are two big issues for journalists and is something that we are currently going over at Uni as it serves a very important purpose.

During a lecture we were given two examples of cases, first was the case of Dr Joe Rahamim who successfully sued Channel Four and ITN who defamed him by questioning his ability to do his job. Rahamim won £175,000 in damages....see for full details of that case.

The second was of Britney Spears sued American magazine Us Weekly, which claimed her and then husband Kevin Federline made a sexually explicit video. Spears failed to win $10m dollars she sued for as the judge said that as Britney Spears had "put her modern sexuality squarely, and profitably, before the public eye"the report was unlikely to be seen as defamatory (

After these cases I started to look at others and I came across this rather bizarre one which caught my eye. It is a case in Russia where a Stalin's grandson is seeking a case against a Russian newspaper in defence of Stalin's reputation. He is demanding ten million roubles which is around £200,000 after a newspaper accused Stalin of personally approving executions.

The first thing that struck me about this case was that Stalin is in fact dead and in the UK wouldn't be entitled to his reputation and therefore the case wouldn't have been considered or the report considered defamatory. Also, under Stalin's rule there was millions of deaths and therefore articles claiming he personally approved executions wouldn't harm his reputation, especially as the newspaper in question printed proof from Soviet archives with Stalin's signature on them approving executions, so there's the justification.

But Stalin is being in turned in somewhat of a hero in Russia who has turned The Soviet Union into a superpower and as the Times online article says, "Vladimir Putin, during his time as President, endorsed a new school textbook describing Stalin as an “efficient manager” who behaved “entirely rationally, as the guardian of a system”. So perhaps this case is another step towards achieving a better reputation for Stalin?

As this is a case that wouldn't be pursued in the UK, it is an interesting defamation case to look into as it shows how other countries deal with this issue and how other countries perhaps have stricter and tighter defamation rules than the ones here in the UK. If it was in the UK and you could defame a dead person, I can't see how it would be seen as defamatory as it is well known that there were millions of deaths under Stalin and also the newspaper has produced proof and therefore has justification to the accusations.
Here is the Times online article...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Channel Four Continues to Lead The Way...

Channel Four LogoPhoto:
Channel Four announced plans with YouTube today which will allow YouTube users to watch full length Channel Four shows, free of charge. The broadcaster is now the first in the world to make content available on the Google owned video sharing website.

The videos on YouTube would be very similar to the ones on Channel Fours' 4OD service which allows Internet users to watch repeats of shows such as Hollyoaks and Skins. Ther will be around 3,000 hours of programmes being uploaded to the video sharing website.

The move by Channel Four is another move by the broadcaster to lead the way in online television viewing as it was also the first broadcaster to allow viewers to watch programmes online via their 4OD service. The move into online television was followed by other broadcasters such as the BBC who created the i-player.

In return for giving the video content to YouTube, Channel Four will be allowed to sell advertising space around the very popular website and according to The Times, it is expected that Channel Four will take around 70 per cent of revenue from the ads whilst also being able to advertise around other videos. With advertising playing such an importnat role in new media technologies, and more importantly the Internet, this could prove to be a lucrative deal for Channel Four as it continues to run as an independent broadcaster with no access to the licence fee that the BBC receives.

The content will be available in the coming months but will be fully available come 2010.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Half of NHS Trusts are failing...

I've read in a few papers today that half of NHS trusts are failing.

It's to no great surprise to hear negative media coverage of the NHS as it's fair to say that it hasn't always been very successful. But it is surprising to know that almost half of the hospitals fail to meet the core standards of care. The Care Quality Commission has even gone as far to say that more than 40 of the health trusts are at risk of being refused licences to operate come April when they are up for renewal.

The article I read said that there had been improvements in areas such as; waiting times, tackling superbugs and controlling budgets but many are still failing on the basic requirements of good care. It's fantastic that they have improved in the areas that they have, but surely something like the basic requirements of good care is something that should always been well maintained? And is something that should come as a top priority?

The government has invested a lot of time and money into the NHS and still basic issues of hygiene, patient safety, staff training, and good care of patients are still troubling many of the failing hospitals. The NHS trusts that are not meeting standards won't warrant a licence so improvements need to be made.

It's certainly worrying to know that almost half of hospitals fail to meet requirements but it's reassuring to know that there is a regulator cracking down on the failing hospitals and offering little choice but to improve. Let's hope they do.

If you want to check out how your local NHS trust is performing, enter your postcode here at The Times newspaper website:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


After discovering Chessboxing for the first time yesterday, I got chatting to my friends and researching about Chessboxing and ended up discovering another sport that is a combination of two others.

The sport I have come across is called GolfCross. The game of GolfCross is very similar to Golf, where players on golf courses, using golf equipment aim balls at a target...but that's where the similarities stop. Replace the standard circular golf ball with one shaped like an rugby and replace the hole golfers usually aim for with a net (the goal) raised above the ground and you have GolfCross. The pictures on the left shows both the new shaped ball and the goal.

The creators believe that the shape of the ball is more controllable than the round ones used in standard golf and due to the "amazing characteristics anddesign of the course" they have created three distinct game styles for players to follow. These are 'The Stroke Play' Game, 'The Tactical or Matchplay' Game and 'The One Hour Game'. You can find the differences between the three here:

GolfCross was officially launched in 2001, although the creator a New Zealander called Burton Silver began working on the game in 1989 when he created the oval shaped ball. There are now 8 fully open GolfCross courses in the UK, whilst also being playable in New Zealand, France, Denmark, Hungary, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Canada, South Africa, South America and the USA.

The game seems pretty revolutionary as isn't just a case of putting two sports together (a la ChessBoxing) it is a case of changing a traditional sport played by millions. ChessBoxing is different in the sense that it is just a combination of both Chess and Boxing whereas GolfCross is almost a different game, OK it uses the same equipment and most of the same golf rules but by changing the actual aim of the game it's like a new sport has been created, sort of.

I guess what my indecisive rambling above is trying to say is that I am rather impressed with GolfCross and would love to give it a go. I haven't been able to find any videos of the game being played so if anybody can help me out there I'd be very appreciative!

More information can be found at If anybody out there in the world wide web plays GolfCross or has played or is intending to play, please comment and let me know what it's like!

Monday, October 12, 2009



I have come across a rather bizarre sport this morning, that of chessboxing. It does exactly what it says on the tin, it's a gentlemanly game of chess combined with the bloody onslaught that is boxing!

The basics behind it are that chessboxers alternate rounds of chess for rounds of boxing in a boxing ring, whilst wearing full boxing gear. The only difference is that during the chess rounds they replace their boxing gloves and helmets for earplugs and headphones (to aid concentration.) The chess rounds last a gruelling four minutes followed by a tactical three minutes of boxing, after a one minute break. There a total of 11 rounds, six chess and five boxing, with the winner being the first to either checkmate or knock out his opponent.

The game was created in 2003 by Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh and even has WCBO (World Chess Boxing Organization) which "propagates the spread of chessboxing to all five continents." The WCBO motto reads :"Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board"

This all seems very bizarre to me, of all the sports to combine, chess and boxing?! But then again with the basic principles of the game being to combine a physically challenging sport with a mentally challenging sport to create the ultimate all round sport, it kind of, just kind of, makes sense!

Here is part of the first ever World Chessboxing Championship (check out for more videos) :

and part two:

If this has intrigued you, interested you, perhaps even made you consider a new sporting venture, then be sure to check out the WCBO website at: and be sure to leave me a comment letting me know what you think of the sport that "demands the most of it's competitors - both physically and mentally."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Student Rent Prices on the Rise...

Another article caught my eye this weekend, again in The Sunday Times, but this time about student accommodation costing as much as £548 a week, yep that's right, a week.

The accommodation that costs £548 is in London which doesn't come as a massive surprise as far as location is concerned, as housing in London is widely acknowledged as being more expensive, but as a student myself that sort of price is truly shocking. This halls of residence is run by a private company whose owner is endorsed by University College, London and is part of a growing trend where traditional halls of residences are being replaced by housing blocks managed by private companies.

This comes in the same week as an academic at Queen Mary College, Kevin Sharpe claimed that students had "posh pads" and wrote about their supposed 'high spending power.' But I can't imagine the students that are having to fork out £548 a week on rent, having much money left over!

This can only add to the worries of many students who leave home for the first time to move into halls of residence and even more so for international students who leave their home countries to come to university. This is something that many universities should be looking to resolve as it is their responsibility to make affordable accommodation available to all students. The vice president for welfare at The National Union of Students said in The Sunday Times that "universities should take this more seriously," and I couldn't agree more. Students already leave university lumbered with debt, and I know that this is something that we all accept and know before deciding to go to university, but surely these sort of rent prices are just plain ridiculous?

The article states that the move from university run halls of residence to those run by private companies has already "hiked rents by 8% in the past year alone." Edinburgh is the most expensive city outside of London with a maximum rent of £216 a week, according to The Sunday Times University Guide. Again an excessive amount for student, which for most, will only increase the debt they will leave with.

My rent in Winchester is expensive compared to a lot of my friends who go to university further north but surely something has to be done to protect students from extortionate rent prices?

Tweet Tweet


I read in the Sunday Times today that Twitter ( is set to add video to it's current social networking service.

'Video-tweeting' as it's being called, would allow users to broadcast their thoughts live via video and could prove very popular especially with regards to the number of celebrities using Twitter. Many celebrities use Twitter and have many followers and fans who follow their updates to see what they are up to. The site has also been used by footballers, such as Darren Bent, who displayed his feelings over his protracted transfer from Tottenham to Sunderland over the summer. Some of Britain's biggest Tweeters include Stephen Fry and the Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown.

I've never really used Twitter but I think the introduction of video-tweeting could tempt me to begin using as I think it offers a much more interesting option than just reading updates from friends or celebrities, sportsman or musicians I am interested in.

The site proved very popular when it first came to the forefront of social networking sites and currently has around 54 million users worldwide, every month and is reportedly hoped that the introduction of video-tweeting will keep users interested and perhaps attract more users to the site.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Powerful Blogging...


Since starting this blog I been interested in trying to improve it, regularly update it, make it more popular and increase the number of hits it receives a day. I have also taken an interest in blogging in general and have started to research different blogs and have started to realise how these free blogs, available and accessible to a majority of the world, can have a large impact on everyday life.

In truth, the first time i realised blogs could be powerful was last year at university when being told about Mayhill Fowler and her scoops in America, using the very popular Huffington Post blog website ( Here is an article from LA Times explaining what Fowler managed to do using her blog...,0,4901600.story.

But tonight I discovered a BBC article from Thursday showing how blogs in Cuba are causing a concern for it's communist run Government. In a country where only 2.1% of the population have access to the global Internet, it's impressive that ordinary Cuban citizens can cause this sort of fuss using just online blogs.

This also displays how freedom of expression can even exist in an country like Cuba and quote from the BBC article sums this up well;

"The emergence of independent bloggers is "evidence of a generation shift, a sign that even a country as isolated as Cuba is slowly moving into the 21st Century," Daniel Erikson, an expert at the Washington-based organisation Inter-American Dialogue said recently on US-based" Here's the BBC article i got this from:

As the BBC article says, these blogs have been causing a bit of a stir with the Cuban government due to people speaking their minds and beginning to question aspects of the communist state. But the power these blogs can hold is shown by the fact that a blog from the Cuban blog community GeneraciĆ³n Y ( was named as one of the best 25 blogs in the world by Time Magazine.
It's impressive stuff, feel free to post any blogs you find interesting in the comment section below. Blog on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Tories "Public School Boy" Image

David Cameron
After watching Question Time on the BBC last night and reading this morning's Times, I have started to dislike the stick The Conservatives get for their reputation of being from wealthy, public school backgrounds.

To make it clear, I didn't go to public school, I went to a State School with a shoddy reputation. But after watching the programme last night and reading the newspaper this morning I've decided that "The Tory background" is something that I 1) Don't envy them for, 2) dislike them for or 3) use against when it comes to politics.

During Question Time last night a member of the audience stood up and asked The Shadow Chancellor George Osborne how he could say that; "Britain was in this together" when he was the heir to a multi million pound fortune. I'm sorry but how does that make the slightest bit of difference? If anything, his father who owns a very successful fabric and wallpaper business will have been hit hard by the credit crunch, which is shown here:

Does this boil down to just jealousy? George Osborne's family have loads of money so he doesn't know what it's like is the usual excuse made by people. And yeah ok maybe he doesn't know what it's like to be short of money or not being able to afford things but so what? I fail to see how this would affect his role as Chancellor. His Dad has earnt the life he has and it certainly shouldn't be held against George Osborne, after all they have both lived in Britain during the recession and witnessed the effect it can have.

There was a similar tone in the The Times this morning with regards to what David and Samantha Cameron were wearing at the Conservative party conference. A lot of the papers show pictures of Samantha wearing a £65 M&S dress whilst David is wearing a £1,185 suit, I wasn't aware what they wearing had a bearing on how he would perform as Prime Minister? "Samantha Cameron may stock her wardrobe from the high street, but her husband has more lavish taste" reads the caption, did it occur to people that maybe Mrs Cameron happened to just like the dress regardless of the fact that it was "less than £100." If anything that's a good thing and demonstrates wise spending in tough economical times.

The country should give The Tories a chance by listening to their policies and ignoring all this public school boy stuff and perhaps focus on the fact that he could be a good Prime Minister. His background or Mr Osborne's background is not a reason to vote against them.

There is of course another option, slate Cameron for wearing a nice suit and vote for Gordon Brown. I know which I'd prefer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rule of Thirds

As an up and coming Journalist being 'multi-skilled' is becoming very important and a key aspect of this is transforming froma a standard journalist into a videojournalist (VJ). A key lesson we have been going over recently was the rule of thirds when interviewing or filming shots for our news packages.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds: Splitting your screen into thirds like the image on the left is important as it gives you four main
focus points. You should place your subject into one third, with their eye or nose crossing over one
of the lines (see image below). This should leave your interviewee with two thirds looking room. The subject's looking room should be in the direction of the reporter who should be stood to the side of the camera (this also helps to encourage the interviewee to look at the reporter and not into the camera.)

Rule of Thirds

This video here helps explain the rule of thirds but more from a cinema/film making point of view, although the same principles still apply:

The user 'video maker' on youtube has numerous videos with hints and tips for making films etc which may be of use to journalism students so you can check some of them out here:

Hopefully they can be of use to some fellow students!

American Advert Slots...

American Politics Poster
After a comment on my blog post, 'The Power of The Sun', I started looking into how American television is used to attack political candidates in the Advertising Slots.

This example is the one posted on the comment of the famous Willie Horton ad used by Bush The First in the 1988 election; The Slots in America are used similarly to the tabloid newspapers here to support or attack political candidates, however the tabloid newspapers in the UK seem friendly compared to some of these ads.

These adverts are just pure negativity from one campaign team against their rivals. In the same way that The Sun has power to make readers vote for a particular candidate, these adverts can draw in the same people (in America) but over the bigger medium of television.

Here's a recent one from President Obama's campaign team against his then rival candidate John McCain:

You'll notice at the end they are personally approved by Barack Obama making this sort of thing common place and a fundamental tactic for American politicians. Due to regulation in the UK, television channels are prohibited from doing such adverts or programmes promoting either side of the political debate, hence the use of the tabloids like The Sun where they don't have to be balanced.

The first link of the Willie Horton ad is probably the most famous but here are some more that I've found...

This one is a news report showing a McCain ad against Obama

The ever popular Mr George W Bush attacking rival John Kerry:

I think I'd take a dressing down by The Sun anyday of the week, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brown Comes Up Short....

Sir Richard Dannatt

After reading a few newspaper websites this morning I came across a story from the former head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt.

He claims that Gordon Brown refused to send an extra 2000 troops to Afghanistan against military advice, although this has been denied by Downing Street. Sir Dannatt has repeatedly spoken out against supply shortages and had finally had enough when he had to borrow an American Black Hawk Down helicopter to complete his farwell tour of Afghanistan, clearly demonstrating a lack of UK helicopters.

The lack of supplies and personnel is something General Dannatt has spoken of before and is something he pursued right up to his retirement in August 2009. Here's an article one month before his retirement:

I'm sure Mr Brown and his government are doing their best to help the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line for this country, but I think when there are clear shortages of supplies and personnel then they need to step up and support the troops at all costs.

After all, Brown isn't fighting a war everyday, he's just fighting to save his position as Prime Minister.

Here are some of today's articles:,

Monday, October 5, 2009

President Blair

Tony Blair

A lot of the recent news coverage over the last week and so far this week has been about Tony Blair heading towards becoming Europe's first President. The main jist of it, as predicted, are the pro's and con's of him taking on this role.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkl, was supposedly against Mr Blair due to his decisions not to back EU projects such as the euro and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. However it is rumoured that Ms Merkl has since softened her opposition, whilst French President Sarkozy has reportedly decided that Mr Blair is the best candidate.

However, the main opposition, again as predicted comes from The Conservatives. William Hague, The Shadow Foreign Secretary and former leader of The Tories who suffered a heavy defeat against Blair in 2001, has slammed the decision, labelling it "the worst option for Britain" (The Times). But although it was fairly obvious that The Tories would be against a Blair Presidency due to his obvious Labour connections, I find myself having to agree with a lot of their reasons.

If, the people of Britain vote in favour of a Conservative government, I can't see there being many happy voters if there is a member of the party they have just ousted in charge of Europe. And with all due respects, Mr Blair wasn't the most popular figure at the end of his reign as Prime Minister.

It certainly creates an interesting debate and is something I will look to pursue as the coverage continues.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ridiculous Side to The Sun...

My last post was about The Sun's power in UK's politics with regards to who is to become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain, but today the same newspaper demonstrated and reminded me of the sort of journalism that it is regularly capable of.

For those of you with today's copy head to page 45 where the headline reads "Are we Gaydees?". Here The Sun is talking about Little Britain's David Walliams and friends posing for a photo after watching fellow Little Britain star Matt Lucas' new theatre play. The main point of this story is that the newspaper's "gay-o-meter" is detecting how homosexual these two are along with celebrity friends Mika, Graham Norton and Sir Ian Mckellen.

A little more info than just five lines about the theatre play might have been useful too!

This just adds to my surprise that the power it has over the race to Number Ten, I shouldn't really be surprised that this type of story is in The Sun, but perhaps I should stick to The Times!

For those of you without a copy of The Sun, check out the story here:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Power of the Sun...

In today's lecture we were discussing today's newspapers and in particular The Sun's decision to attack the Labour government. I was aware of The Sun's power in the race to Number Ten, however I do find it strange that it is a tabloid that holds this power.

As our we discussed in the lecture, The Sun doesn't necessarily support the Conservatives instead of Labour but it does attack Labour and the performance of the Labour government over the last twelve years. So through negativity towards Labour it sways viewers towards the Conservatives.

The reason The Sun holds has this influence on the political battle in the UK is because many of the newspaper's readers aren't particularly interested in politics and therefore perhaps don't have a particular allegiance to one political party and therefore come general election day will vote the way of The Sun.

But what surprises me most is that it's the tabloid that holds the power, not the broadsheets like The Times or The Guardian, that's what interests me. I realise that most broadsheet readers read that particular paper due to their political allegiance and therefore are unlikely to be swayed by the newspaper but for a tabloid, mostly renowned for it's page three nudity, to become a key player in who becomes the Prime Minister of Great Britain is an interesting fact nonetheless.

Yesterday's article in The Sun: