Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Critical Consideration - Photojournalism

In order to complete this task successfully I needed to research into the topic of photojournalism, including the history of photojournalism and how it is used now within the journalism profession.

To do this I visited a variety of website, with the added aide of Jules’ PowerPoint presentation which I found very helpful.

I found the topic of photojournalism very interesting and it is definitely something that I would consider doing as an addition unit in the future.

Photojournalism is in my opinion a good way to express person’s feelings about a certain topic or to draw immediate attention to a story, which is used well in tabloid newspapers such as: ‘The Mirror’ or ‘The Sun’

Critical Analysis - Photojournalism Lecture

Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story.

This often leads to people making their own about a photo, which often causes political and heated debates within society. These types of photographs often have a metonymy effect in tabloid newspapers.

For example the image of Saddam Hussein’s statue falling in Baghdad created meaning on its own without the need of a caption to tell its reader what has happened.

French literary critic and semiotician, Roland Bathes thought that viewers looking at photos ultimately believed that: ‘The thing had been there’ (Camera Lucida: ‘Reflections on Photography, 1982) in other words photos depict ‘what-has-been’ by bringing real life events into the public realm.

Using Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotic approach, Roland Barthes also thinks that an image itself is fundamentally ‘polysemic’, open to multiple interpretations,

However if the image is ‘anchored’ by a specific textual message, the reader can be encouraged to view an image in a certain light.

For example various images depicting the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue has created numerous arguments such as: ‘Was the fall of Saddam's statue a U.S. staged media event?’

This is also an example of an ‘iconic image’. This is when specific photographs become symbolic of a particular event, triggering the public’s memory, feeling and emotions about that period in time. These images are often used as enduring historical icons.

Also drawing on his structural roots, Barthes suggested that the press photograph should not be regarded as an isolated structure.

Semiotic analysis’s of cultural myths, on the other hand allows us to deconstruct codes in popular cultural texts, revealing how certain belief systems may be legitimised at the expense of others.

Word Count: 297

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Writing For The Media - News Writing Assessment 7

Students at the University of Runningham shocked staff on Thursday evening by barricading themselves into the Vice Chancellor’s office over the issue of top-up fees.

Around six of the University’s 4,200 students took part in the sit in, following the Vice Chancellor to agree to meet representatives of the students’ union next week.

Amanda Donne, president of the university’s student union, said: “We have been lobbying for weeks and so far he has refused to meet us. Certain members of the student body obviously felt so strongly about this that they decided to take positive action”.

The University is now charging students the maximum of £3,000 a year in top-up fees, potentially increasing students debts to £15,000, stretching the period of time it will take students to repay their debts.

James Robbins, a third year Photography student said: “I think it’s great that these students decided to make a stand to demonstrate how serious the issue of student finance has become. At last the Vice-Chancellor has agreed to talk to us”.

Students will be eligible to start repaying their loans once their annual incomes pass the £15,000 threshold.

Once students are earning over that figure around 9% will be taken from their salaries each year, until the loan is paid back in full.

Police were called to the incident after an emergency call was made at approximately 9pm by security staff after an alarm went off in the main administration building at the lower end of the campus

A police spokesman confirmed that six students were taken to Woolley Green police station, but were released later without charge.

The students have not been named but are believed to be studying Fine Art.

The college has since launched an enquiry into how the six students gained access to the area.

Word Count: 299

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Guest Speaker: Kirsty Newton

Editor of ‘Cornwall Today’, Kirsty Newton today revealed her magazines aims and ambitions to eager first year journalism students.

Kirsty, who has been in the journalism profession for 10 years told students that, “Cornwall Today is looking at the younger end of the market”, for its target audience in comparison to previous years.

Since Kirsty took over as editor of ‘Cornwall Today’ over a year ago she has made many changes to the magazines content, including the addition of many new features.

Amongst the new features added to the magazine is a property and leisure section. These features have been bought in to attract a younger audience.

Regular features in the magazine already included: a home and gardens section, a food and drinks section and a wildlife section as well as various articles on village life in Cornwall.

The magazines target readership is an ABC1 readership audience in relation to the NRS Social Grading System. An ABC1 readership is stereotypically defined as the upper middle classes.

Also since Kirsty’s arrival the magazine has rose from 40 to 216 pages an issue, which according to Kirsty, “has allowed for a broader range of advertising”, which has also increased the magazines income per issue.

The majority of the magazines articles are written by freelance journalists, whose work on average is valued around 10 pence per word.

On average 16000 copies of the magazine are printed each month, a 1/3 of which are subscribers who live outside of Cornwall.

Despite this ‘Cornwall Today’ also has around half a dozen competitors in the South West that rival the magazine on a monthly basis, including: ‘Inside Cornwall’, ‘Taste of Cornwall’ and ‘Devon Today’.

Before taking up the role of Editor of ‘Cornwall Today’, Kirsty worked as a trainee for the ‘Western Morning News’ in Plymouth, before becoming Deputy Editor for ‘Devon Today’.

Word Count: 307

Critical Consideration - Gatekeeping

Since writing and researching about the subject of Gatekeeping in the profession of journalism I felt might see questioning its future in journalism.

For instance, how does the rise of citizen journalism affect the established journalistic industry? Some journalists have already started to dismiss citizen journalism as being journalism without its credibility aspect.

Some media outlets are using citizen-participants in journalistic processes, from simply inviting their commentary on published news stories to providing them with access to the processes of news publishing themselves.

An example of this is the BBC who frequently ask viewers to send in photos/videos of particular news events or comment on their website about news stories that they are interested in.

Critical Analysis - Gatekeeping

The term ‘gatekeeping’ in the world of journalism is used to describe the flow of information to its audience.

The theory of ‘gatekeeping’ was first instituted by German social psychologist Kurt Lewin in 1947.

In the news world, the gatekeeper decides what news you will read and when you will read it. The gatekeeper’s ideology influences what news he or she is willing to let go to print, and this sometimes plays a role in whose opinions are printed.

An example of this would be an ongoing political news story and which side the newspaper leans towards i.e. labour or conservative.

A in a small town with only one source of news is ill-served because only one gatekeeper controls the towns news stories. An example of this would be the Falmouth Packet.

This can often lead to one person’s point of view being distributed; leading residents to only get one interpretation of the week’s events.

The more sources for news, and the more viewpoints expressed in the community, the more residents will be able to make decisions about the area’s future. The more avenues that exist for members of the community to be connected with their neighbours and the news, the more constructive and informative public debate becomes, often leading to a better quality of newspaper for that particular local area.

In my opinion residents in local areas are better served with multiple gatekeepers, and so are national broadsheets and tabloids. Studies show that in areas with multiple newspapers, its readership tends to increase.

Also the presence of competition is also good for newspapers, and even better for advertisers. If the newspaper is not good, people will not read it, leading to a decreasing readership. Readers always have alternatives in the world of newspapers, whether it is broadsheets or tabloids. This forces newsrooms to strive for excellence, balance and thought-provoking coverage.

Word Count: 311

News Writing Assignment 6 - Revisied Version

A man died and a policeman was also seriously injured late night as two cars collided in the centre of Moonville

The accident happened at the junction of Scar Road involved a police car crashing into the Moonville War Memorial and a V.W. Golf smashing into a Video Shop on the high street.

Josephine Rockwell, witnessed the policeman trapped, as the driver of the Golf draped motionless over the wheel as his passenger frantically attempted to recover his rucksack laying on the back-seat.

“I ran to see if I could help and saw a man get out of the Golf and try to open the back door – he seemed really agitated.”

The driver of the Golf was pronounced dead on arrival at St Monty’s hospital.

The police are now carrying out a forensic examination of the rucksack uncovered from the car whilst a search for the missing man is underway.

Word Count: 153

News Writing Assignment 6 - Extended Version

Around £47,000 worth of drugs was seized by Police today after being found in a VW Golf which was involved in an accident last night.

The VW Golf, which was involved in an accident with a Police car in the centre of Moonville had a rucksack full of cannabis resin and cocaine.

In the press conference Detective Chief Superintendent Angelica Stripes said, “A rucksack and its contents have been taken away by the drugs squad, which is investigating the matter.”DCS Angelica Stripes also revealed that the passenger of the VW Golf fled the scene soon after the incident.

She added, “The man was described by witnesses as slim, short-around 5 feet 8 inches tall- with a pale complexion and dark spiky hair. He was wearing red converse shoes, skinny jeans and a brown leather bomber jacket.”

The accident was caused when the VW Golf span out of control when it saw the oncoming police car, resulting in the death of the driver of the VW Golf and the injury of a police officer.

Soon after the incident the both cars at the scene were cordoned off, leaving on coming traffic needing to find an alternative route through the town.

A post mortem is being held on the driver of the Golf, who has not been identified yet.

Meanwhile PC Rodgers, the injured police officer, has been suspended on full pay after suffering a fracture of the nose and left leg.

The Police would like members of the public to come forward if they have seen the man fitting the description or if they know him.

The police hotline for anyone who knows anything about the accident is: Moonville- 212121.

Word Count: 279

Monday, 19 November 2007

Critical Analysis - Tabloidisation

The tabloid press can be dated back to the decline and of the Bourgeois Public Sphere.

The break down of space between the state and civil society, in conjunction with rising economic imperatives lead to the rise of mass communications.

In modern day Britain the national press is divided into two forms: the broadsheet and the tabloid. Stereotypically the difference between each form is defined by the newspapers quality and whether it is seen as being ‘mid-market’ or ‘down-market’.

It could be argued that relationship between the tabloids and the broadsheets is linked by ‘good and bad journalism’.

Broadsheets are seen to obtain a set of ‘good’ values. These values include the newspaper being: informative, objective, accurate and running stories that are ‘newsworthy’.

Tabloids, on the other hand are seen as portraying sensationalist views whilst being ‘dumbed down’ in terms of the language it uses.

Other ‘bad’ characteristics of the tabloid are that the majority of its ‘news’ is ‘pseudo news’ (celebrity news) which relies on rumours, which can often cause stories to have some inaccuracies.

However according to figures published by the ABC (the independent audit watchdog service for printed publications) tabloid papers are outselling broadsheets.

‘The Sun’ for instance has a circulation of 2.9 million and ‘The Mirror’ also has a large circulation of 1.8 million.

It could be argued that the so-called ‘bad’ tabloid values are dominating Britain’s culture, posing the argument that Britain is producing less educated people, as less than a ¼ of the population either look at or buy broadsheets on a regular basis.

A large part of the tabloids success is down to its: ‘Tabloid Tales’,

Tabloid Tales’, are comprised of: sensationalism, emotionalism, human interest, personification and a pictorial focus.

Sensationalism provides the tabloids to use verbal or graphic media to create striking or shocking impressions that are intended to excite interest or create attention e.g. the headline: ‘Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster’.

Similarly emotionalism has the tendency to display emotions freely or place too much value on emotion. A modern day example of this could be the on running Madeline McCann story which would provoke an emotional response from its reader.

In relation to the current UK press circulation figures, I think that the tabloids outselling broadsheets will continue, unless broadsheets take on more tabloid values.

Word Count: 384

Friday, 16 November 2007

Media Law Article

A woman was today jailed after being found guilty of manslaughter, after the death of her husband.

Mrs Horton Smith, mother of two, was sentenced for an initial 18 months before today’s verdict, 9 of which had already been served.

The court heard how Mr Horton-Smith was found dead at the family home on the night of the 27th May with a single shot gun wound to the chest and a single shotgun would to the back.

PC South was the first officer to arrive at the scene at approximately 11.41pm, “She (Mrs Horton-Smith) was sitting on the stairs”. South added, “I could see the gun and the cartridges”.

Pathologist, Mr McKenzie told the court how the victim may have had a slim chance of survival, however only with specialist treatment, “No treatment, no chance”.

The Defence Council told the jury how Mrs Horton-Smith married her husband after the birth of their daughter.

The couple then moved into Manor Farm where Mr Horton-Smith had lived during his childhood.

According to Mr Prestwick Mr Horton-Smith became depressed due to his father paying for his children’s tuition fees, leading to violent outbursts.

Mrs Horton-Smith added, “He punched me, kicked me and tried to strangle me with a blue dog lead”.

On the night of Mr Horton-Smiths death, the jury heard how Mr Horton-Smith arrived home in a foul mood after a failed business venture.

Mr Horton-Smith put the blue dog lead onto the kitchen table, then Mrs Horton-Smith ran to get her husbands shotgun, explained Mr Prestwick.

During this incident Mr Horton-Smith shouted, “You’ve had it this time bitch” to his wife.

The Prosecuting Council highlighted how there was a 20 second delay between the first and second gun shot.

Ms Cloves proceeded to tell the court how Mr Horton-Smith’s brother was the only person to have seen result of Mr Horton Smith’s violent actions towards his wife.

Mr Horton-Smith’s brother, Robert was, “Appalled and upset” after seeing Mrs Horton-Smith’s bruises but denied Mrs Horton-Smith’s allegations that the pair were having an affair.

The Prosecuting Council informed the court that Mrs Horton-Smith would receive ‘£1.2 million’ of her husband’s estate.

The initial sentence remained, causing Mrs Horton-Smith to see out the remaining 9 months of her sentence.

Word Count: 375

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Pendulum 'Slam' into The Stannary

Falmouth and Exeter students are buzzing at the news that Drum and Bass outfit, Pendulum are heading for The Stannary this Saturday.

The Australian ‘Wall of Sound’ hailing from Perth are best known for their hit singles: ‘Slam’ and ‘Tarantula’ taken off this 2005 debut album ‘Hold Your Colour’.

The group were originally scheduled to play at The Stannary last Saturday night but, due to a last minute hold up have had to reschedule the date for this coming Saturday.

English and Creative Writing student Alex Harrod said, “I think it’s great that Falmouth have attracted such an artist”.

The event is part of Oxjam’s music events which are taking place throughout the country for the rest of November. All the money raised from these events will go to the charity Oxfam.

FXU Entertainment Officer Greg Curtis said, “Having both Lethal Bizzle and Pendulum within a few weeks of each other is amazing for Falmouth!”
Despite the fact that the groups debut album ‘Hold Your Colour’ hit the shelves in 2005, a late reissue in July of this year bought them back into the mainstream.

The reissue contains two new singles, ‘Blood Sugar’ and ‘Axle Grinder’ replacing the songs ‘Another Planet’ and ‘Still Grey’ from the albums original release.

Pendulum originally started out as a trio before adding guitarist Perry Ap-Gwynedd and drummer Kodish who complete the groups current line up.

Pendulums first single ‘Slam’ is still the bands biggest hit within the UK, having entered the UK singles Top 40 at number 34.

The group have also produced various remixed of other mainstream artists, including their remix of ‘Voodoo People’ by long serving UK Electronica outfit, The Prodigy.

Students will also hoping that the groups DJ Set includes new single ‘Granite’ which is released on November 26th.

Tickets for the event are still on sale at a cost of £12.00 each and are available from The FXU Offices at both Tremough and Woodlane.

Word Count: 324

Monday, 12 November 2007

Critical Analysis - Journalistic Markets

Ben Bagdikian, a journalist of Armenian decent published ‘The Media Monopoly’ in 1983, which has since been renamed ‘The New Media Monopoly’.

Ben fears that by 2010 there will only be five major owners controlling the media market in North America.

This is due to wealthy owners merging or buying out smaller corporations for financial gain.

An example of this in today’s journalistic market is media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch who owns the News Corporation.

News International is the main UK subsidiary of News Corporation, which owns: ‘The Times’, ‘The Sunday Times’, ‘The Sun’ and ‘The News of the World’.

News Corporation owns a variety of other media outlets, including BSkyB, Fox Broadcasting Company and Sky Italia, which currently has four million subscribers.

In 2005 News Corporation’s assets were valued at $55 billion, whilst in 2004 its newspaper revenues increased from £686 million to £831 million.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail and General Trust are one of the largest media companies in the UK. In 2004 the Daily Mail and General Trust made profits of £234 million resulting in a turnover of £2.1 billion.

he company currently owns: ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘Mail on Sunday’ and the ‘Evening Standard’.

Northern and Shell PLC, founded in 1974 by Richard Desmond, owns UK based newspapers: ‘The Daily Express’ and ‘The Daily Star’ as well as popular lifestyle magazine ‘OK!’.

Northern and Shell plc was once notorious for publishing dozens of pornographic titles, prior to their sale to Remnant Media in 2004.

In 2004 the company made a turnover of £20 million, making profits of £1.4 million.

Dominant media ownerships have reaches throughout the world, but even smaller single title companies can have their titles bought in many countries around the world. This is thanks to political, economic and technological factors that have resulted in new globalised cultures.

Globalisation is not a new occurrence. European imperialism resulted in successful world markets by the end of the 19th Century.

Since then this process has become much faster, due to the factors mentioned above.

In the book ‘Media in Global Context’ (1997) Annabelle Sneberry-Mohammedi felt that globalisation is helping aid developing countries and in doing so has created a hyperglobalist market, suggesting that these nations are seeing a disappearance of their state.

In my view this could eventually seep through to the rest of the world, leading potentially to a world governed by stereotypical media values.

Word Count: 398

Guest Speaker: Nick Mazur

The Deputy Chief Executive of the Periodical Publisher Association today revealed the wealth of the magazine industry to Falmouth’s first year journalism students.

According to Mr Mazur magazines and business media have an annual turnover of around £7 billion, with the majority of magazines gaining revenue from circulation and advertising.

Consumer magazines tend to rely on their magazines gaining over half of their revenue from circulation (65%) whilst only 35% of revenue comes from advertising.

In contrast business magazines rely heavily on advertising as 82% of revenue comes from this. The remaining 18% is gained from the magazines circulation, a statistic that has changed within the last 10 years.

“10 years ago this was a different picture, as both consumer and business magazines relied equally on advertising and circulation revenue”, explained Mr Mazur.

Mr Mazur then went onto mention that there were around 8,500 magazine titles within the magazine and business media sector 10 years ago. Approximately 5,108 were made up of business magazines, whilst 3,366 were consumer magazines.

Since then the number of magazine titles has increased by 22% over the last decade.

The increase in magazine titles co insides with a 52% rise of consumer’s expenditure on magazines, described by Mr Mazur as, “The changing landscape of the magazine industry”.

The consumer magazine sector has also benefited by this statistic having experienced a growth of 56% over the past five years.

According to Mintel International Group Ltd, who specialise in consumer, media and market research there is an £531 million turnover expected within the consumer magazine sector by 2009.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Writing For The Media - News Assignment 4

London is still the identity fraud capital of the UK, according to research released today into identity fraud trends.

Experian, the global information solutions provider, revealed that those living inside the M25 are more than three-and-a-half times more likely to be victims of identity fraud.

Kensington residents however, are almost five times more likely to fall victim to fraudsters, which is higher than the UK national average.

Commuter towns outside of London also feature amongst the highest risk areas.

Residents of Guildford, Slough and St Albans are also more than twice as likely to fall as pray to fraudster predators compared to the rest of the UK.

Around 2,570 victims of identity fraud have contacted Experian in the first six months of this year, representing a 68% year-on-year increase of identity fraud activity.

Present address fraud, continues to be the most common ID fraud offence, accounting for 39% of frauds reported during the first six months of the year.

The Experian Victims of Fraud Dossier Part III also revealed that cases of forwarding address fraud raised the most from 22% in the second half of 2006 to 32% in the first six months of 2007.

According to Experian’s CreditExpert each fraud case on average costs the financial organization involved around £680.

Mail order companies were hit harder than most in terms of fraud volumes, accounting for 68% of all new cases.

However it is loan providers that suffer the most financially. The average cost per case for fraudulently obtain loans has risen to £6,138 in comparison to the figure £4,797 reported in the second half of 2006.

Helen Lord, Fraud and Regulatory Compliance Director at Experian, comments: “Some people are more likely than others to become a victim and consumers are more aware of the threat than ever before”.

In addition to the dossier, Experian have offered tips to help consumers protect themselves from fraudsters.

According to Experian consumers should: “Destroy documents showing personal details before throwing them away”, using a shredder to destroy documents such as: bank statements, utility bills, application forms and chequebook stubs.

Word Count: 346

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Guest Speaker - Helen Gilchrist

Helen Gilchrist spoke to first year journalism students about her rise from a freelance journalist to a successful entrepreneur.

In August 2003 after working for various national newspapers, Helen came up with the idea for Stranger in August 2003 and moved back down to Cornwall in May 2004 in order to make her idea a reality.

According to the magazines website, Stranger is a bi-monthly publication produced from non-depletive, sustainable resources, presenting a mix of local and global lifestyle, environment, music, surf, news and current affairs features mixed with striking illustrations.

Since its launch in 2004, Stranger magazine has already won 2 awards at the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Hub Youth Business Awards, which were Best Promotion of Cornwall and Best Marketing Strategy.

This is an amazing achievement, considering the magazine is still only a small independent company with four full time and two part time members of staff.

Helen also went onto say that that magazine has 30+ contributors a month including local writers and illustrators working on a freelance basis, as well as nationally and internationally acclaimed writers, illustrators and photographers.

Helen also emphases how competitive the magazine industry has become, she said, “There are 1000’s of new attempts to set up magazines, but only 1 in 3 tend to make it though.”

Since the magazines introduction, Stranger’s website has had around 400,000 hits a month.

According to Google Analytics and Stranger’s web server this equals out at least 900 visitors a day, from 83 different countries/ territories.
The highest number of visitors to the website was from: London, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield, whilst Falmouth which has the most number of stockists came in at number 38.

Helen concluded her talk by giving students practical tips and the best ways to approach editors of magazines. One tip Helen gave students was making the editor feel that you are targeting their publication specifically.

Helen said, “It’s no good submitting an article supporting open border policy to the Daily Mail and expecting a front page.”

Word Count: 336

Critical Analysis - Producing The News

News values are essential to a journalist seeing an every day event as news.

Firstly the frequency of the event is questioned e.g. does this event occur regularly. The events threshold is also questioned along with its composition and finally its continuity.

Some events can be bought to life through personification e.g. an individual’s experience of an event. An example of this would be a person who was involved in the 9/11 bombings, giving their account on the event.

In order for journalists to be organised to produce news they must first go on: ‘The Beat’.

‘The Beat’ has a history beyond those who are currently working it. It is therefore important for a reporter to be assigned to a project but not own it e.g. working a sports related story.

It is also important that a journalist understands the structure of different news values.

Firstly a story must be able to hold an audiences attention. A story could do this be either being important/relevant to current activities in the news or by being entertaining.

A story must also be accessible. In order to do this the story must be prominent to attract attention. An example of this in a local area could be the proposed plans to build a new supermarket.

Finally the story must fit in with the pragmatics of technical and organisational production.

A potential news story must also through a production cycle, which is comprised of: a planning stage, a gathering stage and a selection and production process.

The planning of a story must be able to predict long term events and therefore be able to be continued or added to. An example of this could be the disappearance of Madeline McCann.

Information must then be gathered by various correspondents. The story then goes through a selection process where it is culled, collated and edited.

Finally the story is organised into a form that fits audience’s expectations. These expectations would differ between the broadsheets and the tabloids.

Word Count: 331