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The State of British Journalism

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We live in a strange world. Twelve months ago I moved to the UK in the hope of learning from the most talented and experienced broadcasters and producers in one of the most celebrated media environments in the world, which is the BBC.

Over the course of the time spent being enlightened and taught by former BBC employees in a well structured and informative masters at the University of Sheffield, which included a brief stint at BBC Leeds I was shown the true might and broadcasting standards that made Britain a world media leader.

The Olympics shone more light on the ability of the UK to deliver top quality broadcast content to a global audience yet two scandals can never take away from the now tarnished image of British Journalism. Hackgate and the exposure of Jimmy Saville have set the reputation of British journalists and UK media, back decades.

I spoke briefly on the Rony Robinson show on BBC Sheffield a year ago about the challenges facing trainee and wanna be journalists in Britain as celebrated journalist Piers Morgan and media mogul Rupert Murdoch were connected to the Leveson inquiry. Little did I know how much damage the phone hacking scandal would cause, with Journalists seen as scum and lying deceitful members of society.

While at BBC Leeds I was exposed to the true might and skills of employees that upheld the title of one of the most extensive broadcasters in history, yet it is shocking to imagine that it was at the station’s former studios that Saville, a celebrated BBC and British media icon abused young children.

There is a saying in this world we live and work in, that there is no such thing as bad PR, well when it involves phone hacking journalists and broadcasting institutions that protect serial paedophiles, that is bad PR!

It is also down right disgraceful, the obsession with fame and celebrity that existed from beatlemania onwards in the western world has helped create the very people who become untouchable in media spheres. Those who abuse and take advantage of innocent civilians to shift copies of newspapers or protect iconic employees from being exposed for who they really are, is revolting.

British journalists and media in the UK has some of the most talented, producers, presenters and reporters to have ever graced our columns and channels but there are no excuses for Saville and Murdoch.

What has happened in the exposure of these power houses of British media was not only required but must now set a precedent moving forward. With the advances of social media and blogging has come a whole new strand to western journalism, with the naming and shaming of racists in sports journalism via the internet and the larger wealth of opinions and content allows for greater exposure of scenarios that must never be repeated.

Governments and the media should be kept separate as history has shown, however politicians and those in power must now answer the call of the people who have been fooled and lied to for too long.

The only way for journalists and media professionals in the UK is up and the only way to do that is to expose those who are unethical and abusive and help clean up the profession they and i earn our living in.

Heaven’s got a plan for You

The Swedish House Mafia’s individual and combined success has struck the world by surprise and they are actually doing what few musical acts never did, they are bowing out on top.

Musical icons have passed from this world at their peak and are immortalized due to this, Kurt Cobain being one of those at their greatest. The Mafia are leaving the music scene as one of the most successful trance groups in history, cementing their status with a song that screams of anthemic melodies and is echoing across clubs and radio playlists from Stockholm to Sydney and Brussels to Beijing.

The song in question is Don’t You Worry Child, which is more than just a sing-a-long fist thumping club anthem but has a very strong message behind it, which is eternal acceptance in the world we live in. We are frenetic, demanding and expecting so much from everything and everyone in our daily lives and the song touches on this chord.

“There was a time, I used to look into my father’s eyes
In a happy home, I was a king I had a gold throne
Those days are gone, now the memories are on the wall
I hear the sounds from the places where I was born”

Very few songs released today, touch upon so much forgetting and realism in our western culture, the song is simple and catchy but also clever and inspiring and as we face into more economic uncertainty, a shaky US election and new chapters in Space exploration, a time should be spent remembering these words

“My father said
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child
See heaven’s got a plan for you”

Jesus the Social Networker 2012

Was he a prophet or was he the messiah, regardless of what role the big J played in the world over the past two centuries he would be very different about spreading ‘the good news’ if he appeared today and used social networking or would he?

@jesuschrist would be an Official Twitter account with regularly daily updates on the path to live righteously, he would be followed by hopefully more people than Justin Bieber or One Direction and would not need to hashtag due to the influence and originality of his tweets.

Youtube would allow Jesus to stream live to more viewers than Felix Baumgartner could ever have imagined for his fall from above and am sure you would be allowed to comment and like and dislike uploads.

Would Jesus use Google Plus for hangouts? More than likely yes, with the apostles, as it is probably easier than dealing with Skype group chat and being recharged constantly unaware to one’s own existence but then Jesus would not worry about money as he needed little, relying on donations like Wikipedia.

Facebook would recognize that Jesus would have a lot more subscribers than Neal Mann and Vin Diesel put together and would recognize the value in letting him remain offline and monitor his wall posts. You could not tag yourself in his pictures but he could tag you.

Jesus may not have a Linkedin Account as his role as a spreader of the gospel would not deem him useful to many job matches but may allow for significant references and endorsements if he chose to get Linkedin.

Tweetdeck would be of use, so Jesus could keep track of his Foursquare and Myspace as well as his other accounts and only have to deliver his message once to multiple platforms.

Finally Jesus would do all this from an android unless he did a clever endorsement deal like U2 with apple but one doubts this would be of interest to him.

Jesus the social networker would generate vast trends, forum threads, Google news results and be Bing friendly.

His audio clips would be on Soundcloud or Audioboo for those to listen and share and he would also be linkedin to Amazon and Kindle so you could download his WordPress blog posts and e-books.

Who knows what Jesus or any of the other prophets would have used if they walked among us today and as the song goes,

“What if god was one of us, just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home?”

If he was trying to make his way home he would be using Google maps unless he had an iPhone 5.

A Southern View

 

Here in Tennessee uncertainty and debate reign supreme as the state aims to break early voting records unsure of how much an impact it will have in playing a role in deciding the fate of the United States of America.

One thing can be sure, Romney is not truly in touch with the plight of regular Americans nor is he truly aware of foreign policy requirements. However what we are seeing are many Republican voters unable to connect with a man who is worth a quarter of a billion dollars while they struggle in middle income families but also find Obama having done very little for them or their college-loan struggling children.

It has become a case of the lesser of two evils, do you go with the man who made the money or do you carry on the way America is going with increasing debts.

Like many of us in the UK and Ireland, Americans have come to accept and embrace the here and now world we live in, a society of consumerism and expectation where actions deliver consequences and results, rapidly and effectively. Obama has failed to do that over his four year term, yet only three post war presidents have failed to get a second term in office and we are facing a bizarre scenario where Mitt Romney may win the popular vote and Obama the electoral vote.

It is hard to believe but out of uncertainty breeds rash decision making and this contest has shown that it’s breeding confusion, retraction or views, contradicting and bickering.

With time ticking for both candidates the future and fate of the most powerful country in the world and that of so many here in the valleys and plains of the Volunteer State remains uncertain.

Reel em in with a Showreel

Damn hard thing making a showreel, well it’s not the initial gathering of content that is the issue, it’s how to sell yourself in the best possible light without being cheesy or over the top. Striking the balance is a challenge!

I have truly accepted that a showreel should be the best of the best and after that links to the rest if required. Less is more is relevant with ten or twelve second clips being strong enough to convey your presenting or reporting style convincingly.

Variety and the dreaded dip in the middle was something I found happening as editing progressed, keeping a viewer engaged and focused for three or four minutes is hard never mind when it is entirely the same person talking about a platter of random topics in varied environments.

All in all the debate is truly out on what makes a great showreel, as I look back at mine I feel it is merely a tool to use to get someone’s attention or to compliment an interview scenario.

Regardless don’t rush your editing and don’t dismiss anyone’s perspective, as many opinions as possible are integral.

Is this Life or Debt?

“Running into debt isn’t so bad. It’s running into creditors that hurts”
With the lack of job prospects in the UK affecting so many, hundreds of Britons are being forced to turn to alternative means to get enough money to get by, week in week out.

The Sheffield Debt Support Unit has found it’s resources pushed to the limits over the past twelve months as the number of debt related issues get more common and more complex. The main issue with the cases Steve Wilcox and his team are dealing with seem to be with money lenders who charge inflated interest rates to those who are desperately in need of pay day loans and emergency loans.

With banks getting more restrictive and credit ratings plummeting, the uptake in online loans and demands on doorstep lenders is getting to the point where the bubble has to burst.


Debt Advice

Getting advice and good advice at that can either bring you out of debt quickly and effectively or push you further in. With debt advisors popping up across the UK and online, getting impartial and full advice seems to be the key to moving forward. Yet many advisors are only in the game to prey on those who are vulnerable and tie them into five and six year debt management plans that leave many in a far worse situation than when they started.

Ralph Keene, is a debt advisor with charity Christians Against Poverty and feels that debt is an issue that can easily affect any or all of us in our lifetimes.

 

“Internet is the quick and easy option”

With mounting debts and the current recession showing few signs of recovery, Jacqueline Halliwell of Sheffield Credit Union feels Yorkshire and the UK needs to curb over spending and cut down on a lifestyle that British citizens take for granted due to credit cards and loans. She says she has found that the internet is proving to be the get out card for people in Sheffield and beyond when they owe money to loan sharks. She said the Credit Union has found that they are now dealing with clients who not only owe money to doorstep lenders but money to e-loan websites to keep the doorstep lenders at bay.

Future

With stricter licensing laws for money lenders and caps on interest rates may come the suppression of lending at the outrageous rates of over 100% apr that have affected so many in the past few years. Yet it seems as though while as soon as the Office of Fair Trading shuts some lenders down others will appear or the previous ones will reappear under different names. As long as demand exists for quick loans and we continue to buy beyond our means then loan sharks and shrewd debt advisors will continue to practice.

Asylum fight Ending

The photo-journalist from Cameroon who grabbed national headlines has come back to his wife, Sharon in Sheffield and told the Huffington Post that he is “fine and it is so good to be home“, Bernard added that “being with your family one week and then in detention the next was just emotionally draining“.
The fate of Bernard is yet fully unknown however with recent support from Amnesty international, he is looking to gain full family status as a husband and father of British citizens and his wife Sharon stated “things are moving forward and finally looking up”.

Pending judicial review, Bernard should have leave to remain in the UK and has been released without bail and both Sharon and Bernard say “this would not be possible if it was not for the support of so many”.

Bernard’s case is bucking a trend, where previously those entering the UK illegally would have to return to their countries if not granted continued asylum.

The Immigration Act 1971 section 3 allows the Secretary of State to have people in the UK deported, who are not British citizens, if the Secretary of State deems that to be conducive to the public good.

However, this can be appealed under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 on the basis that deportation would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, with Bernard facing potential torture, mutilation and or death on returning to Cameroon due to his taking of photographs of protests against the Cameroonian government, his case has some weight and it is yet to be seen what the final outcome will be.