WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Media Revision Notes

Key thinkers:

1) Fiske - Quiz shows
2) Bordieu - Cultural capital, education system
3) Saussure - Semiotics, language as a system (sign, signifier, signified) langue, parole
4) Pierce - Iconic and indexical
5) Barthes - Myth, culture as a system, denotation / connotation, myth in wrestling
6) Propp - Narrative in westerns
7) Wright - Narrative in Westerns
8) Eco - Narrative in Bond novels
9) Herman and Chomsky - The ruling class control the media and its effects
10) McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting

Agenda Setting:
* A version of the media effects theory
* The media define the "issues" and their level of importance
* The way in which the news is framed helps construct the preferred meaning

Mass culture:
* Standardised and formulaic, "tends to simplify the real world and gloss over its problem" Mass culture is popular culture produced by mass production. Marketed for a profit to a mass public of consumers.
* "Standardised, formulaic and repetitive products of mass culture are then sold to a passive audience, prone to manipulation by mass media"

What was the 'Golden Age'? It was a time in which authentic folk culture and a truly great high culture knew their places in an ordered world. The 'Golden Age' is very difficult to pinpoint geographically and historically.

Uses and gratifications - This theory holds that audiences are responsible for choosing media to meet their needs. The approach suggests people use the media to fulfill specific gratifications. e.g. Surveillance of environment, correlation of parts of society, entertainment.

Encoding / Decoding - Encoding is the process of constructing a sequence, decoding is the process of converting an encoded sequence back into its original form.

The media encode, audiences decode.

Fiske capitalist / class specific ideologies are embedded in quiz shows. He recognises distinction:

Games - Start equal, finish differential
Rituals - Start differential, finish equal

* Cultural capital, not money underwrites stratification
* Pretence of the role of the education system - promoting natural talent of individuals
* Education system promotes middle class values, particularly through myth

Semiotics - "The study of signs and symbols, especially as means of language or communication"

Saussure saw language as a system:
Sign = Results from the association of the signifier with the signified
Signifier = The form of which the sign takes
Signified = The concept it represents

Langue and parole are Saussure's descriptions of language as a system:
* Langue is the whole system of language that makes speech possible
* Parole is the concrete use of the language, the actual utterances. It is the usage of the system, not the system itself.

Iconic and Indexical signs - Pierce:

Iconic - The signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified
Indexical - Signifier directly connected in some way to the signified e.g. smoke and fire

Paradigm - The list of possible signs from which particular signs are selected and connected together to make syntagms. Coke adverts - Paradigms for age, nationality, gender etc.

According to Barthes, myth is a second-order semiological system. Myths are created when codes are naturalised. (Codes which are taken for granted and seen as not codes but as 'natural') Myths are also forms of popular culture.

Culture as a system - Barthes - Dennotation and connotation - According to Barthes, wrestling creates myth.

Below are a list of some of the key terms that we've looked at since beginning the media course:

* Dennotation - An object / image / sign
* Connotation - Shows what the dennotation means / shows / implys
* Diachronic - Change over time. The way in which something can change or shift
* Synchronic - A snapshot in time
* Iconic - Instantly recognisable and automatically associated with something else
* Syntagm / syntagmatic - A list of possible signs, which generate meaning
* Paradigm / paradigmatic - The way in which structure can be altered and give a different meaning
* Fabula - The fabula is the pattern that film spectators create through assumptions and inferences
* Syuzhet - This is the actual arrangement and presentation of the fabula in the film

What is narrative?
* A communicative act
* "Teller and listener"
* Involves sequence of events
* All narratives are constructed

Propp studied narrative in folk tales. Suggested that, although folk tales might have differences in plot, character and setting, they would share common structural features.

Wright looked at the narrative structure in Westerns

Eco focused on the work of a single authir - deriving a basic narrative scheme in relation to the James Bond novels

Stability - Disruption - Enigma - Resolution  /  Equalibrium - Disequalibrium - Equalibrium

Genre was orignally developed in relation to film. Means 'type' or 'kind'. A system of classification. Widely understood and used form of analysis. It's a signifying system, a paradigm.

[Polysemic = Multiple meanings]

Herman and Chompsky says that there is a ruling class that controls the media and its effects.

Hegemony - The dominance or leadership of one social group or nation over others. The media, for example, is a hegemonic force.

In terms of power, it's divided into 'hard' and 'soft':
Hard power = Control of capital, militancy, legal systems

Soft power = Symbols, discourses, etc.

Case example of media power - Murdoch's hegemonic prescence.

McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting, "An audience member exposed to a given media agenda adjusts his or her perception of the importance of issues in the direction corresponsing to the amount of attention devoted to those issues in the medium used"

New media and regulation: OFCOM regulates the BBC.

The internet saved us! This new media challenged the corporate ownership of the press. Government censorship does not work with the net. What are the changes from old media?

* Ability to produce content
* Ability to communicate

Chicago School model consists of: Law, markets, architecture

Law - Regulates us, punishes us if we don't obey
Markets - Through avaliability and price a product is made avaliable to produce or consume. Independant of laws / social norms but dependant on them for its ability to function.
Architecture - Forms of constraints that prevent us from doing something. There are preventive measures, constraints pre action.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Codes of Conduct

In our latest law lecture we discussed the various codes of conduct journalists are required to abide by. The following codes were discussed:

OFCOM - This code of conduct deals mainly with commerical TV (e.g. Sky, ITV) and also discusses the 'watershed', which starts at 9PM in the UK. The watershed continues until the early morning, and programmes shown within this time are rated 15+. A document of OFCOM's website, located HERE, discusses the watershed and the 'protection of under 18s' in more depth

 PCC - The PCC (Press Complaints Commission) code of conduct regulates British newspapers and magazines. Among the topics it discusses in its code are: Accuracy, opportunity to reply, privacy, harassment, intrusion into grief or shock, children, children in sex cases, hospitals, reporting of crime, misrepresentation, victims of sexual assault, discrimination, financial journalism, confidential sources, witness payments in criminal trials and payment to criminals.

NUJ - The code of the NUJ (which stands for the National Union of Journalists) seems to be made up of rules that have both the safety of journalists and those being reported on at heart.

Rule 1 sets a precedent for what follows, stating that "a journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards".

Rule 2 discusses the importance of avoiding 'distortion', essentially highlighting the need to avoid misrepresenting stories and facts which would lead to confusion amongst the public. It states: " A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the Press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship."

Rule 3 says that any information released must be true and accurate, which basically repeats the idea behind the rule before it. It also says that it's important a Journalist does not pass off comment as fact. Clearly, this would go against the 'professional' and 'ethical' standards discussed at the start of the code. Rule 3 says: "A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation."

Rule 4 explains the need to rectify any harmful inaccuracies. It states: "A journalist shall rectify promptly any harmful inaccuracies, ensure that correction and apologies receive due prominence and afford the right of reply to persons criticised when the issue is of sufficient importance." If you explore the web, it's fairly easy to find a story about how a newspaper has been forced to apologise following a blunder. This one HERE describes how the Sunday World (an Irish paper) had to apologise to Christy Burke, Dublin City councillor following a story they published which stated he knew convicted rapist Christy Griffin.

Rule 5 says that a journalist must only obtain information by straightforward means. For example, don't steal pictures from the family of the individual you are writing about. If you wish to publish a photograph identifying the individual that you are discussing, you must get permission. The code states: "A journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straightforward means. The use of other means can be justified only by over-riding considerations of the public interest. The journalist is entitled to exercise a personal conscientious objection to the use of such means."

Rule 6 tells Journalists to steer away from intruding on a story that may cause grief to family. You must be particularly weary of taking pictures at a funeral, for example. Again, this requires permission. The code states: "Subject to the justification by over-riding considerations of the public interest, a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private grief and distress."

Rule 7 emphasises the importance of protecting confidential sources of information.

Rule 8 discusses the danger of accepting bribes. Doing such a thing would lower a Journalists reputation, and would certainly go against the 'ethical standards' mentioned in the first rule. Rule 8 states: " A journalist shall not accept bribes nor shall he/she allow other inducements to influence the performance of his/her professional duties."

Rule 9 says that a Journalist must not distort the truth because of advertising considerations. For example, reviewing a product particularly well because it was somehow related to one of your sponsors would be considered bias, and therefore a distortion of truth. The code states: " A journalist shall not lend himself/herself to the distortion or suppression of the truth because of advertising or other considerations."

Rule 10 says that personal information, such as gender / age / race must only be discussed if it is relevant to the story. In some instances, mentioning an individuals race or religious background when it's clearly not needed could be considered gratuitous, which would look bad for both the paper and the writer. The code states: "A journalist shall only mention a person's age, race, colour, creed, illegitimacy, marital status (or lack of it), gender or sexual orientation if this information is strictly relevant. A journalist shall neither originate nor process material which encourages discrimination, ridicule, prejudice or hatred on any of the above-mentioned grounds."

Rule 11 warns of the dangers of photographing children without consent from the parents. " A journalist shall not interview or photograph children in connection with stories concerning their welfare without the permission of a parent or other adult responsible for their welfare."

Rule 12 describes that editing a picture to frame it in a particular way can often be deceptive to audiences. However, if the paper states that the picture has been edited it may be placed within the paper. The code states: "No journalist shall knowingly cause or allow the publication or broadcast of a photograph that has been manipulated unless that photograph is clearly labelled as such. Manipulation does not include normal dodging, burning, colour balancing, spotting, contrast adjustment, cropping and obvious masking for legal or safety reasons."

Rule 13 says that information a Journalist gathers privately through their work must not be abused. It states: "A journalist shall not take private advantage of information gained in the course of his/her duties, before the information is public knowledge."

Rule 14 is concerned with advertising. It essentially says that a writer can't 'plug' a product unless it's particularly relevant to what it is they are writing about. The code states: " A journalist shall not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial produce or service save for the promotion of his/her own work or of the medium by which he/she is employed."

Lecture 6 Summary

Our latest HCJ seminar involved alot of discussing how to eat babies, which was a refreshing change of scenery. We looked at two passages in detail this week. The first, 'Of The Different Progress Of Opulence In Different Nations' by Adam Smith (1723-1790) studies the relationship of commerce between towns and countries.

Smith begins by highlighting the fact that towns are heavily reliant. Countries supply the town with food and material for manufacture, but Smith identifies this as only a minor issue. He writes, "We must not, however [...] imagine that the gain of the town is the loss of the country" The towns are able to produce and sell on materials issued from the country, which is advantageous to both parties. The writer also goes on to add: "The inhabitants of the town and those of the country are mutually the servants of one another". Smith repeatedly highlights this relationship, also picking up on the importance of labourers. He states that the loss of  "assistance of some artificers" would result in "inconvenience" and "interruption". Labourers are in need of assistance to one another, meaning they naturally settle together to form small towns and villages.

Commerce is a key theme to the passage and Smith goes into some detail as to the state of North America's economy. At the time of writing, North America was still developing and was not as heavily involved with trading as other nations. In other words, there was more of a focus on personal production than selling produce to others. According to Smith, a growing society is first directed towards agriculture, then to 'manufacturs' and finally to foreign trade. Egypt and China in particular are identified as nations that attained 'high degrees of opulence'. Smith explores the relationship between war and economical growth, writing that conflict leads to a significant drop in the quality of cultivation. For example, the German and Scythian nations overran Western provinces of the Roman Empire, which left towns deserted and the country uncultivated. Inevitably, this led to poverty.

Smith discusses how the increase of manufacturing towns led to improvement and cultivation of countries to which they belonged in. He starts by stating that the wealth acquired meant poor land could be purchased, cultivated and improved. Obviously, regenerating land to give it money-making potential was useful to both the towns and the country in an economical sense.

The second piece, 'A Modest Proposal' by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is a satirical essay that was actually published anonymously in 1729. The fact that Swift calls his proposal 'modest' (when it's clearly not!) summaries the tone of the passage well. At the time of writing, Ireland was stuck in heavy poverty, which had a massive impact on the quality of life of the lower classes. Swift's use of 'we' and 'our' makes the audience feel involved with the proposal.

Swift begins by stating that the sight of poverty actually upsets him, leading readers into thinking his proposal will have the poverty-stricken families at heart. He writes: " It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms" Swift goes on to propose that the children be eaten, which comes as a surprise as Swift sounds genuinely concerned over their welfare at the beginning of the passage.
Swift highlights the advantages to his proposal:

 1) "It would greatly lessen the numbers of papists (catholics) with whom we are yearly overrun" - Swift targets the Catholics due the fact they tended to have large families. He also goes on to refer to them as 'our most dangerous enemies'. At the time, there was significant social hatred for Catholics.

 2) "The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own"

 3) "The money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture"

4) "The constant breeders, beside the gain of 8 shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their childrens, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the 1st year"

 5) "This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns"

6) "It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babies, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead of expense"

If anybody can find a good use for the beggars children, Swift states, then they should be respected and worshipped. Swift goes into detail over the figures concerned with his proposal. He says that of the 120,000 Irish children born every year, 20,000 should be kept for breeding (1/4 of these are male) and the remaining 100,000 should be fattened and sold on.

Lecture 6 - Raw Notes

Adam Smith

Subject of economics, about rationing scarce resources, empiricist activity

An objective way of measuring human behaviour e.g. money is a clear, objective measure of people. Adam Smith - often said to be the founder of economics

Smith knew Hume, published Hume's book after he died.

James Watt - Inventor of the steam engine, without it no urbanisation. Smith was Scottish. Prior to Adam Smith, dominant economic theory was mercantilism. - Medieval thinkers, state control of the economy, they would says it's Gods will to make some countries rather than others.

Smith was a liberal - Thinks the point of economic activity is to enrich yourself, to further your own wealth.

British Isles was economically undeveloped until trading took full effect. English Civil War - 1641 to 1651

Before the war, every merchant had to pay a 'ship tax'. Furthermore, every merchant involved in the slave trade had to use the King's ships. State manufactured ships - Merchants hated this! Preferred Dutch ships. The war was fought from free trade.

Free trade - Each person set free to enrich themselves as best they could.

1651 - The Navigation Acts (war with the Dutch merchants) lasts almost 100 years. Locke - Life, liberty, property. Liberty also relates to religious freedom.

Battle of the Boyne - Last Catholic uprising on British soil. 1698 - Royal Africa Company chartered (Slave/penal labour trade "privatised")

The theme of economy can be related to the Royal Exchange.

Darien Scheme (Mercantile Scottish colony - bankruptcy)

1729 - Irish famine - Swift, a Modest Proposal
1745 - Battle of Culloden (failed Jacobite revolt - end of tribal society in Great Britain)

'The Wealth of Nations'

'The Zong Case' - 1783 - English law holds that slaves are not people, but livestock. Judge ruled it wasn't murder after slaves were thrown overboard.

1815 - Waterloo - Defeat of Napoleon. After this, England becomes a dominant world power.

Parliamentary Reform Bill - Political power shifts to the manufacturing towns, the North. Votes given to the middle class. Vote is also extended to merchants as well as landlords.

1846 - The end of the mercantile system. Repeal of the corn laws. Cheap bread, complete ruin of British agriculture

Smith's 1st book was on morality - He's a pure empiricist - There's no good, no evil, only desire.

Nations are wealthy when government doesn't prevent people selling to one another. Smith thinks that if people are left to trade, the hidden hand of the market will force them to sell what they specialise in. Everybody left to their own devices will do something to fend for themselves

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Guardian and Absolute Radio - Journalism Now

Founded in 1821 by John Edward Taylor as the 'Manchester Guardian', the Guardian's original intention was to promote liberal interest following the 'Peterloo massacre' – a gathering of radicals demanding parliamentary reform, whose efforts ended in tragedy after troops cut their way through the crowds, killing 15 people and injuring 500 others.

In 1999 the Guardian 'Unlimited' was launched, essentially serving as the online home of the newspaper. The site provided readers with extensive coverage of all the stories discussed in the main paper. It was not until 2004 that a full online edition of the paper was available. The website encourages interaction from readers with features allowing the audience to sign up and voice their opinions on the stories covered.

The new design was first printed on 25th September 2005 in its new 'Berliner' format. Before the changes, the paper was classified as a broadsheet. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger stated: “The new look Guardian will have colour on every page of every section but one thing will remain the same – our reputation for supplying first class news, features and comment”. The Guardian is part of the GMG (Guardian Media Group) which also includes the Observer.

The Guardian's offline readership is split fairly evenly when it comes to gender. Approximately 53% of readers are male. This equal split in gender is reflected through the adverts contained within the Guardian. For example, the paper advertises technology and sport as well as jewellery and items relating to skincare. In terms of political stance, the Guardian is considered a left wing paper. The Guardian adopts a liberal attitude, meaning it has a belief in liberty and equal rights. It is because of this that the paper would support the idea of gay marriage. Guardian editor Ian Katz confirms the papers stance, admitting: “It is no secret we are a centre-left newspaper”.

The Guardian's front page will nearly always relate in some way to politics or the economy as these are both areas that a large percentage of Guardian readers have a heavy interest in. Further financial news is located towards the back of the paper, discussing market patterns and foreign economies.

The Guardian's online readership is slightly different, particularly in terms of social grade. 63% of offline Guardian readers belong in the ‘AB’ category. Online, this falls to just 36% of readers. These statistics prove that the online readership is more varied in terms of social grade. It is likely that the variety of content featured on the website encourages readers of different social backgrounds to log on. The website features music videos, sports articles, entertainment news and TV highlights. Furthermore, there is a greater mention of celebrity lifestyle and culture on the Guardian’s website which also results in increased social diversity.

Based in London, Absolute Radio is one of the UK's three independent radio stations, broadcasting a variety of music including 80s hits, 90s hits and modern rock. Absolute Radio was officially launched in August 2008 as part of a rebrand by the 'Times of India Group'. The station was formerly referred to as 'Virgin Radio'. When asked why the name had been altered, a spokesperson for Absolute stated: “Our new name, which we own, means we are free to do what we want, and it also says that we're re-inventing ourselves”. 

Absolute Radio's lineup of presenters embody what the radio station is all about. Those involved are fun, humorous and able to make current events accessible and easy to understand for younger audiences. The show includes personalities such as: Christian O'Connell, Geoff Lloyd, Frank Skinner and Ian Wright. Many of these team members, particularly Christian O'Connell, become figures of light-hearted ridicule during the broadcast, mainly during the Breakfast show which develops an informal style similar to that of 'The Chris Moyles Show'. 

Absolute Radio's tone and presentation proves that the vast majority of Absolute's listeners are in their 20s/30s. In terms of social grade, Absolute's audience primarily lie in the BC1 category. The station's YouTube channel in particular targets a younger audience, featuring: humorous interviews with celebrities, live music sets, film news, festival coverage and technology reviews. Furthermore, the advertisements before the news broadcasts (which often last no longer than 4 minutes) reveal more about who's tuning in. For example, adverts for brands and companies such as Best Buy, Samsung and Toshiba are featured repeatedly, targeting an audience that is familiar with the latest gadgets. The overall tone of the station leans towards a young viewership, with puns, jingles and competitions being used to full effect.

A large amount of the stories reported on by Absolute take place within the capital, which is justified as the station is based in London. At the time of writing (September 2010) the student protests have been mentioned repeatedly within the news segments, as have London's hopes to host the 2018 World Cup. Whereas Absolute Radio has paid a great deal of attention to the incident in New Zealand, the Guardian have only given the story a small write-up near the middle of the paper. The Guardian and its readers favour financial and political news so it makes sense that the Irish economy is discussed in depth. Another very recent Guardian front page, for example, looked at the political climate in Korea .


1) The Guardian - 'Demographic profile of Guardian readers' -

 3) The Guardian's New European Look - 

My presentation can be accessed in full using the link below:

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

David Hume – Seminar Notes and Lecture Summary

Born in 1711, Hume was an empiricist who believed events in the universe are actually constructed in our minds through sense experiences. Furthermore, as an empiricist, Hume thought that all our knowledge comes from experience, which goes against the idea of innate knowledge.

According to Hume, the idea of 1 thing happening after another exists only in our head. Any relation of causation you see is not in nature, it's purely a mental phenomenon. Essentially, the idea here is don't jump to conclusions. This idea can also be related to Hume's discussion with regards to what he calls 'miracles', where he states: “Wise men proportion their belief to evidence”. You can't technically prove causation, which leads into the Billiard Balls analogy / Sun analogies. Just because the sun rose today and yesterday does not guarantee that it will rise tomorrow. It could just be a coincidence. In other words, it's never possible to say that it will happen again in the future.

'Induction' is defined as an act or an action that sets in motion some form of events. Hume believed that statements could be either synthetic or analytic. A synthetic statement can be verified, as long as the axiom is accepted as true. For example, 'All humans are mortal, I am human, therefore I am mortal' is an example of such a statement. On the other hand, an analytic statement is where the conclusion can be derived from the subject, which means they're self evident. Hume wasn't an admirer of the concept on induction as he felt there was 'no place' for it in the world.

Hume's Epistemology:
Hume believed that sense impressions only exist in our minds, and we use knowledge as building blocks in order to imagine more complex concepts. For example, we can imagine an angel by combining our knowledge of a human and a bird. This action is called synthesising, as we're building our knowledge using simpler elements. Building a tower, for example, is a synthetic action.

In his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume elaborates on the idea of synthetic actions. He states: “When we analyse our thoughts or ideas, we always find that they resolve themselves into such simple ideas as were copied from a precedent feeling”. Here, Hume highlights the idea that original ideas are actually combinations of previous pieces of knowledge. He goes on to say: “All ideas, especially abstract ones, are naturally faint and obscure: The mind has but a slender hold of them”, showing that when we are faced with a complex concept, we break it down and relate it to simpler ideas that we are familiar with in an attempt to further our understanding.

This idea of growth of knowledge could be linked to Hume's discussion of a blind man . He says: “A blind man can form no notions of colours”. Give a blind man sight, and he forms new ideas and perceptions of the world around him. This also brings forward Hume's opinion with regards to sense experiences. However, Hume seems to suggest there's a limit to human knowledge in his enquiry, writing: “Nature has kept us at a great distance from all her secrets, and has afforded us only the knowledge of a few superficial qualities of objects”.

The Verification Principle:
Hume felt that anything that can't be verified is gibberish. Instead, any truth statement must be capable of independent verification. Hume categorised statements into the following:
  • Statements which can be verified as provisionally true (e.g. Non contradictory)
  • Statements that can be verified as definitely true (e.g. Contradictory)
  • Statements that cannot be verified – Gibberish!
The Bundle Theory
Hume's bundle theory describes how there is no such thing as an actual object; it is instead made up of properties. If you strip it of its properties, it becomes non existent. The YouTube video below discusses this concept and touches on some more of Hume's theories too. This clip discusses the philosopher in a humorous but intelligent manner. I recommend subscribing to CollegeBinary's channel because the other videos they post are also particularly good.

The Freedom of Information Act

In our latest law lecture, we discussed the Freedom of Information Act. This act is of particular interest to Journalists because, if used correctly, it can be a particularly useful means of gathering interesting data and stories from organisations in the public sector. Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be told whether the authority holds this information and is also entitled to see it. Finding interesting information using this act is perfect for constructing newspaper stories that are of genuine interest to the public.

Unfortunately, a large majority of the act is taken up by exemption. Any information on the military / national security, for example, cannot be obtained. As Journalists it's particularly important to steer away from anything that could be defined as a security risk. Confidentiality is also another hurdle.

When the act came in so too did the idea of a 'sofa government'. Essentially, this meant that vents of importance were discussed rather than printed in reports. This is a hindrance to Journalists, as they can only ask for information that has been recorded in some form. In the lecture, we ran through the process one must go through to gather information using the Freedom of Information Act:
  • In the Act, every organisation needs a Freedom of Information officer
  • Step 1 will consist of writing a letter to this individual, asking that under the information act does he/she/ keep documents on ______ and if so can you see it
  • At this point, you could easily be denied such information. There are a number of reasons why this could be the case. The organisation has a right to say that they could gather that information if necessary, yet it would be too costly to justify.
  • To reduce the chances of your request being rejected, think about getting information that isn't too expensive to gather
  • If denied, you could appeal. The appeal is handled by the Information Commission.

'Law for Journalists' - Chapter 17 Raw Notes


What is protected by copyright? - Copyright is referred to as a 'branch of intellectual property', protects the product of peoples skills, creativity, labour, time.

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the following are protected:
  • Literary work
  • Dramatic work
  • Artistic work
  • Musical work
  • Sound recording
  • Film
  • Broadcast
  • Typographical arrangement
When referring to news stories, it's important to note that there is in fact no copyright in facts, news, ideas or information. However, when news reporting, lifting facts from other papers may be infringement. This is because the writers and researchers of the paper where the information came from have input skill and labour into their report.

Publication without permission of a photograph of the whole or a substantial part of a television image is an infringement under Section 17 of the Copyright Act.

Copyright in Speeches – Under Section 58 of the Act, it is not infringement to use the record of the words for reporting current events, subject to the conditions below:
  • The record is a direct record and not taken from a previous record or broadcast
  • The speaker did not prohibit in making of the record and it did not infringe any existing copyright
  • The use being made of the record, or material taken from it, was not of a kind prohibited by the speaker or copyright owner before the record was made
  • The use being made of the record is with the authority of the person who is lawfully in possession of it
Who owns the copyright?

The first owner of a copyright work created after 31st July 1989 is the author but in the case of work done in the course of employment the employer is the owner, subject to any agreement on the contrary.

Social networking – Downloading pictures from an online profile – Downloading and publishing an image from a social networking site may infringe the copyright of the owner of the picture or the site itself.

Parliament and the courts – There is no copyright infringement in reporting Parliament, the courts, or public enquiries. Furthermore, there is normally no infringement in copying material which must be open to public inspection by Act of Parliament.

Public Interest Defence:

A court would be entitled to refuse to enforce copyright if the work was:
  • immoral, scandalous, or contrary to family life
  • Injurious to public life, public health or safety, or the administration of justice
  • Incited or encouraged others to act in a way injurious to those matters
Lion Laboratories Ltd v Evans [1985] was such a case

Length of Copyright:
  • Is currently 70 years from the end of the year of the author's death
  • Copyright in broadcast is 50 years
  • In 2008 the Government was considering extending copyright on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years
Innocent infringement – If the infringer did not know and had no reason to believe the work was subject to copyright, the copyright owner is entitled to an account of profits but not to damages.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Guardian - Audience Demographics

The Guardian has some information on its demographics for both their online and offline readers. I thought it would be interesting to place these statistics side by side and see how the online and offline readership vary.

The chart shows that in terms of gender, the Guardian has a higher percentage of male readers online; at 63%. The statistics show that only 37% of the online readers are female. When we look at the offline statistics for gender, they're more or less even. 53% of the offline readership are male.

The picture above shows the online and offline statistics side by side (Click the picture  to enlarge)

The age statistics show that younger readers are more likely to read the news online than older readers, which makes sense. The younger generation are likely to be more familiar with the Internet and its features. The online site also features more stories that are orientated around celebrities than the offline paper, which again shows that the online site may target a slightly younger audience. Obviously, the Guardian Online doesn't dwell on these celebrity stories to the extent that the tabloids do, but there are some dotted around.

In terms of social grade, 63% of 'offline' Guardian readers belong in the AB category. Online, this is slightly different, with  the AB category only containing 36% of readers. Clearly, the online readership is more varied in terms of social grade. Looking at the website in more detail it doesn't come as a major surprise to me that it's attracting a wider variety of people. It probably helps that the Guardian Online is free too!

The website features music videos, sports articles, entertainment news and even TV highlights. There's even an article on the X Factor, something which I can't really see being talked about in the offline Guardian. I could perhaps see it in being slipped into 'G2', but certainly not in the main paper.

Lecture 5 (Raw Notes)

Hume Lecture Notes

David Hume, 18th century writer and philosopher - Looked up to Newton in many ways. Often referred to as the most intelligent person to come out of the British Isles

The Vienna Circle / Logical positivism - Modern philosophy of science (Based on the work of Hume). Underpins social science.

Hume was openly an atheist but didn't say so as he would have ultimately been executed for it.

Personalities of the movement - Moritz Schlick discussion group for scientists, particularly theoretical physicists. To study philosophy and philosophers to learn the methods and recent discoveries in theoretical physics - 1924 to 1936.

Logical positivism - Don't believe in certain, absolute knowledge. Everything is a matter of probability.

1) Hume and Causation - According to Hume, the idea of 1 thing happening after another exists only in your head. Any relation of causation you see is not in nature, it's in your head, says Hume. You can't show causation - Don't jump to conclusions is essentially the underlying idea here.

2) Hume and induction - Logic is a specific science. Method for analysing truth claims. Use logic to determine - Is it internally consistent?

2 types of logic:

Synthetic - Only true if the axiom is true
Analytic - The conclusion is derived from the subject - The starting point in a chain of synthetic knowledge e.g. All men are mortal.

3) Hume and Locke's epistemology - The Anglo Saxon empiricist school - impressions and synthetic ideas

4) In morality - The "is ought" problem - no morality in phenomena - no teleology.

Synthesise = To build up from simpler elements. Building a tower, for example, is a synthetic action. Hume thinks the synthesising act of the mind is dangerous in some ways.

Morality - (is/ought dichotomy) - You can't say it is cold today but it should be warm - There's no logical path there.

5) Inductive vs synthetic logic

6) Bundle theory of self

7) Method of social science


The Verification Principle - Any truth statement must be capable of independent verification. (Most important aspect of the movement) You can only deal with statements that are verifiable. Metaphysics has to be separated from science.

Statements that can be verified as provisionally 'true' (i.e. non-contradicting)
Statements that can be verified as defiantly true (i.e. contradictory) - For example, 'the moon is the sun' - Clearly false.
Statements that cannot be verified - "gibberish"

The Verification Principle can be linked to how a computer works. For example, if and only if (Object A) is (Object A condition) then (Object B) is (Conclusion)

Karl Popper - The Verification Principle is not scientific. He goes back essentially to Hume, just because an event is repeatable does not mean it will always be repeatable. A statement which is unfalsifiable can never be scientifically valid.

"All men are mortal" cannot be falsified, because there is no finite number of observations - It is always possible that the next person to be born is infact "immortal".

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Blogging Frenzy

Lecture 4 Summary

Our fourth lecture looked at two texts: 'The Royal Exchange' and 'The Spectator 476'.

Lets start with the Royal Exchange, a text that explores the concept of communication and world trade. Addison's general outlook on the Exchange is a positive one, using language to explore the idea of multiculturalism. He describes himself as a 'citizen of the world', also going on to explain the advantages of trade between nations. Addison creates a link between the natural world and international communication, implying that nature seems to have spread its 'gifts' to create connections and bonds between countries. He writes: "Nature seems to have taken a peculiar care to disseminate the blessings among the different regions of the world".

The writer also picks up on how each country seems to bring its own unique produce to the Exchange. France is referred to as 'our garden' and the Chinese are referred to as 'our potters'. Addison shows that England is somewhat dependant on other countries for produce and he even goes as far as referring to England as 'barren'.

Addison's account of the Royal Exchange is somewhat humorous in parts. The writer picks up on the idea that England as a nation is lucky as it doesn't have to deal with extreme climates, yet at the same time is able to reap the rewards from other countries who grow their produce within these conditions. He states: "Whilst we enjoy the remotest Products of the North and South, we are free from those Extremities of Weather which give them Birth".

The second text, The Spectator 476, discusses how people go about portraying their ideas and feelings. The text explains how the way in which ideas are portrayed has an impact on how they are received. If the description of an idea is overcomplicated, its true meaning is lost/misunderstood. Addison relates this idea to the construction of essays and writing in general. For example, he writes: "The advantages of a reader from a methodical discourse, are correspondent with those of the writer", essentially stating that if a writer is methodical, his ideas are easier for readers to interpret for themselves. I think this relates to the thought patterns of history's great philosophers. It may be particularly difficult to explain a complex philosophical concept or idea, which proves the way in which a theory is worded/set out is the key to ensuring it is understood.

Addison uses 2 rhetorical devices (In the form of Tom Puzzle and Will Dry) to prove his point. Tom Puzzle is an individual whom is particularly well-spoken. As Addison states himself, "This makes Tom Puzzle the admiration of all those who have less sense than himself". The writer is explaining how people take notice of Tom Puzzles elaborate language and assume he is a figure of knowledge. Ultimately, Tom Puzzle is intelligent enough to question the world around him, but not to resolve the questions it is that he is asking. In contrast to Tom is 'Will Dry', a concise individual of few words. As Addison describes him, Will Dry is 'a man of a clear methodical head, but few words'.

Lecture 4 (Raw Notes)

Addison background:

Born 1672, keen traveller - Liked to travel around Europe. Also influenced heavily by Jonathan Swift, poet.

'The Spectator' was a daily publication and had a big impact on the public. It was popular and widely influential. Also showed off Addison's love for social commentary. The 'Royal Exchange' that he discusses was the head of international trade.

[Royal Exchange]

"Rich assembly of countrymen and foreigners"

Addison seems to approve of the work the royal exchange - It brings cultures and nationalities together. He explores the theme of multiculturalism - "Citizen of the world"

He links nature with trade and communication, implying that it's like nature spread its 'gifts' to encourage communication between countries - "Nature seems to have taken a peculiar care to disseminate the blessings among the different regions of the world". Also goes on to talk about food and other produce and how to gather it we must communicate.

Addison talks about how he loves the cultures of different countries but then says his own country is 'barren'. Our climate limits what can be grown so it is imported via the exchange. Addison hints that England relies heavily on other countries:

France is our "garden"
"[The] Chinese our Potters"

"Nature indeed furnishes us with the bare necessaries of life, but traffic gives us a great variety of what is useful"

Themes of Puritanism - Puritans obsessed with death and religion
The importance of trade - Merchants "knit mankind together"

[The Spectator 476]

Discussing how people portray their ideas - Starts by saying that doesn't do any of the things he goes on to criticise!

The way in which ideas are portrayed has an impact on how they are received. If the description of an idea is overcomplicated, its true meaning is lost/misunderstood - He relates this idea to the construction of essays and writing in general.

"The advantages of a reader from a methodical Discourse, are correspondent with those of the writer" - If the writer is methodical, his ideas are easier for readers to interpret

Tom Puzzle and Will Dry - Rhetorical devices?

Tom Puzzle - Uses elaborate language. Well-spoken. "This makes Tom Puzzle the admiration of all those who have less sense than himself". People take notices of Tom Puzzles elaborate language and assume he is a figure of knowledge.

Will Dry - A concise individual. "Dry is a man of a clear methodical head, but few words"

Absolute Radio - A Quick Introduction

Seeing as I've been asked to look at Absolute Radio for a recent assignment, it's worth writing up a small introduction about the station and what is does.

Firstly, I've never listened to Absolute Radio before, but judging from the list of presenters (located here) it looks like a nice, light-hearted show. The chief executive seems to agree with me too, describing the station as a 'brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious'. Frank Skinner, Iain Lee and Christian O'Connell (who, from what I gather, is essentially the frontman) seem like a funny bunch. I'm not too keen on Ian Wright though, but that's probably not very relevant, is it? The station produces a podcast, which suits me just fine as I'm quite a fan of various podcasts.

Absolute Radio was officially launched in August 2008. The station is based in London and is one of the UK's three independent stations. An interesting article (located here) explains how Absolute Radio was once referred to as 'Virgin Radio'. Back when the change was announced, Virgin Radio listeners were pretty anxious following news that the company had been handed over to a new owner. The 'Times of India Group' made some changes to Virgin's format, and thus Radio Absolute was born.

An article produced by the Telegraph last month (located here) goes on to explain how the station is actually losing money. Radio Absolute's revenues in 2009 went from £22m to just £14.8m. The article blames the 'advertising downturn' for the fall in revenue, which would make sense as a poor advertising campaign is hardly going to draw in a large amount of listeners. The fact that not everybody was made aware of the name change may also have affected listener figures to some extent. Thanks to the 'Time of India' and its strong financial backing, the station currently has no debt.

Clearly, Radio Absolute aims to target younger, 'trendier' audiences through its use of other digital services. For example, iPhone applications and podcasts (also mentioned earlier) are in the works and the website in association with the station boasts an impressive variety of features and social networking integration. There is also a huge variety in the music played by the station, with 'Absolute 80s' being particularly popular, reaching a peak audience of around 380,000.

I'll be posting further notes and articles on Radio Absolute over the coming days.

'Law for Journalists' - Chapter 28 Raw Notes

The Public Authority Act 2000

In total, around 100,000 major and minor bodies in the public sector are covered by the act, including:
  • National government departments and ministries
  • The House of Commons, the House of Lords
  • The armed forces
  • Local government authorities
  • National park authorities
  • Universities, colleges and schools
The UK's security and intelligence agencies – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – are exempt from the Act, and so are not required to respond to FOI requests

Courts and tribunals are also not covered by the Act, though some information gathered or created in their functions will be available if an FOI request is made to the relevant government department which holds it, e.g. the Ministry of Justice

How does the act work?

If a 'public authority' receives a request for information, it must normally make a response within 20 working days, either supplying the information or explaining why it cannot be supplied. It may be that:
  • The public authority does not hold the information, in which case the Act's effect is that in most circumstances this must be made clear
  • or the request would exceed the cost limits for the provision of free information
  • or that the information is covered by exemptions under the Act, and therefore need not be supplied
Advice and Assistance

Public authorities are required by section 16 of the Act to give someone proposing to make a request, or somebody who has already made one, 'advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so'
  • The public authority should tell you, before you make the request what information of the type you may be available
  • The public authority should give you guidance to avoid your request breaching the cost limit for such information to be provided without charge
Absolute exemptions

Some exemptions are 'absolute, I.e. the Act the public authority does not have any reason for not disclosing the information, beyond stating that the exemption applies because of the nature of the information. These absolute exemptions include the following categories of information

Sector 21 – Information reasonably accessible by other means
Section 23 – Information supplied to the public authority by or relating to bodies dealing with security matters
Section 32 – Court records
Section 40 – Personal information

'Law for Journalists' - Chapter 23 to 33 Raw Notes

Breach of Confidence

Elements of a breach of confidence:

Mr Justice Megarry, giving judgement in 1968, said there are three elements in a breach of confidence:
  • The info must have 'the necessary quality of confidence'
  • The info must have been imparted in circumstances imposing an obligation of confidence
  • There must be an unauthorised use of that information to the detriment of the party communicating it
Obligation of Confidence

An obligation of confidence can arise in a variety of ways:

Contractual relationship – The most frequent is a contractual obligation. People working for others may have signed a contract to say that they will not reveal their employer's secrets, but even if they not there is an implied term in every contract of employment that the employee will not act in a way detrimental to the employer's interests

Disclosure – Under the process of disclosure in legal proceedings, parties have to disclose relevant documents to the other side.

Third parties, such as a journalist – The information may have been obtained indirectly from the confider. A third party, such as a journalist, who come into possession of confidential information and releases it is confidential may come under a legal duty to respect the confidence

Unethical behaviour – it was once considered doubtful whether an obligation of confidence could arise when information is acquired through unethical behaviour, because of the reprehensible means used.

The party communicating – By 'the party communicating it' is meant the person communicating the information originally, that is, the person to whom the confidence is owed.

But how are the media affected?

Injunctions – A person who passes information to a journalist may have received it confidentially. If the person to whom the confidence belongs discovers, before the paper is published or the programme is broadcast, that the information is to be disclosed, he/she can try to get a temporary injunction prohibiting publication of the confidential material

Fines – Disobeying an injunction can result can result in an action for contempt of court. The News of the World was fined £10,000 for publishing a story headlined 'Scandal of Docs with AIDS'

Order to reveal source – A court can order a journalist to reveal the name of his informant, as happened in the Bill Goodwin case

Delivery up – A court can order that confidential matter be 'delivered up' or destroyed

Account of profits – A person misusing confidential information to make money may be asked to account for the profits to the person who confided the information, i.e. the person whose confidence was betrayed.


Article 8 of the Convention: The wording of the article suggests it gives protection for privacy only against a 'public authority', but in fact it gives protection also against the media because under the Act a court in the UK is a public authority and must take into account of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights


If a journalist is using copyright letters, other documents, or photographs snatched from a family album there is the possibility of an action for infringement of copyright.

The Ofcom code and privacy:

Private lives, public places – Broadcasters should ensure that words, images, or actions filmed or recorded in, or broadcast from, a public place, are not so private that prior consent is required before broadcast from the individual or organisation concerned, unless broadcasting without their consent is warranted

Surreptitious filming or recording:

Surreptitious filming or recording should be used only where it is warranted, and normally it will be warranted if:
  • There is a prima facie evidence of a story in the public interest
  • There are reasonable grounds to suspect that further material evidence could be obtained
  • It is necessary for the credibility and authenticity of the programme
The Local Government Act 2000

When cabinets meet in public:
  • A cabinet meeting must be held in public when a key decision is to be made. A key decision means one that is likely:
  • to result in the local authority incurring expenditure or making savings that are significant having regard to the local authority's budget for the relevant service or function, or
  • to be significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards
Papers that must be available

'As soon as reasonably practicable' after a cabinet meeting, either in private or public, at which an executive decision has been made, a written statement must be produced. The statement must include:
  1. A record of the decision
  2. A record of the reasons for the decision
  3. Details of any alternative options considered and rejected
  4. A record of any conflict of interest and, in that case, a note of any dispensation granted by the authority's standards committee
Powers to exclude the press:

Even when key decisions are being discussed, a cabinet can exclude the press and public in three situations:
  1. When it is likely that if members of the public were present, confidential information would be disclosed
  2. When the cabinet has passed a resolution excluding the public because otherwise it is likely exempt information would be disclosed
  3. When the cabinet has passed a resolution excluding the public because otherwise it is likely the advice of a political adviser or assistant would be disclosed
A person who has custody of a document that is required to be available for inspection by members of the public commits an offence if he/she intentionally obstructs any person exercising a right conferred under the regulations to inspect the documents or make a copy of it, or if he/she refused to supply a copy of it

The Journalists Sources

Judges – In common law judges have the power to order disclosure of the identity of wrongdoers

Requests by officials – Sometimes the person asking the journalist for a source will be a tribunal chairman or an official.

Requests by a police officer – Sometimes the person asking the journalist for his source will be a police officer. Like other citizens, the journalist has no legal duty to provide information to the police for their inquiries except in special circumstances

Statutes giving disclosure power:
  • The Criminal Justice Act 1987
  • The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
  • The Financial Services Act 1986
  • The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
  • The Criminal Justice Act 1993
  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
  • The Police Act 1997
  • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • The Pensions Act 2004

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Online Newspapers Taking Over?

Edit - An interesting video that links well with this blog post. The video looks at the 'paywall' and both sides of the argument. LINK HERE.

Peter Cole's account of the modern press produced for the Guardian provides a useful insight into the world of demographics, media influence and readership.

Cole states that figures for newspapers suggest that an increasing number of people are turning away from printed word, instead accessing news online. An article I looked at talking about the Times, however, seemed to disagree. It's now possible to buy digital copies of newspapers for a small sum of money via the Internet. The Daily Star, for example, gives readers the ability to download a digital copy from their computers, which is titled the 'e:edition'. Reading Cole's article, I became interested in how online newspaper sales have impacted the sale of hard copies.

To try and get an answer to my question, I looked at the Times' 'paywall', which charges viewers to view certain articles. Before the viewing charge was introduced to the website, approximately 21 million unique users were recorded on a monthly basis. Following the alterations to the site, this figure plummeted to 2.7 million last month. Clearly, people aren't as willing to fork out the money for digital copies as they are for paper copies, but the newspaper knows this. Executives for the Times said that they actually expected to lose 90% of their online readership anyway. Figures gathered in the last few years prove that tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Mirror have also lost a large number of readers.

As the newspaper I will be looking at for the news agenda lessons is the Guardian, I will focus more on what Cole had to say about it.

He starts by discussing 'format changes', saying that the Guardian's subject matter and tone has secured itself as the most serious of the four 'quality titles'. Cole says: "As it always has, the Guardian agonises over the human condition and cannot quite understand why the world isn't a better place". Cole also points out that the Guardian appears to 'believe in the power of the governments to sort things out'.

The Guardian also features a magazine, "G2". This part of the paper is clearly aimed at a younger audience and seems to be more willing to deal with celebrity culture. Looking at the copy of G2 I've got at the moment, it's actually quite good. I've never read it before but it seems to be holding my interest!  The fact that the first story deals with goats that are able to climb dams in northern Italy also helps.

Useful sources:
Source A
Source B
Source C

Friday, 29 October 2010

Journalism Now - Emile Zola

Photojournalism: 19th century origins / Emile Zola

Before exploring photojournalistic patterns and trends of the 19th century, it's worth establishing what photojournalism truly is. Essentially, it is the art of capturing a moment in time and crafting a story through the use of photographs. A true photojournalist, therefore, has the ability to capture a significant historical moment in time, using pictures that communicate to their audience exactly what took place. Many individuals look at a successful photojournalist the same way in which they would an accomplished artist. Emile Zola, a famous French political journalist and amateur photographer, famously stated: “I am an artist. I am here to live out loud”.

Emile Zola, who was born in 1840, made a significant impact on the world of Journalism with his open letter titled “J'Accuse”. The letter, addressed to the President of France FĂ©lix Faure, discussed the events surrounding the controversial conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an artillery officer pronounced guilty of treason. Zola's open letter ends in a series of blunt accusations, explaining that, in his opinion, Alfred was an innocent man. He writes: “I accuse the first council of war of violating the law by condemning a defendant with unrevealed evidence”. Zola's 'ignited protest', historians argue, spurred such a degree of public debate at the time that no other article published since has had the same effect. Before long, his open letter became one of global interest, leading to changes in both law and society as a whole.

As well as contributing to the world of political journalism, Zola was also a keen photographer. For him, there was one subject in particular that he loved to photograph – his family. There are a number of reasons why Zola's collection of photographs are so valuable, but primarily it is the fact that around the time they were taken the concept of amateur photography was yet to catch on. Incredibly, Zola was thought to have taken around 7,000 pictures in total.

Towards the end of the 19th century, technological advancement had a huge role in shaping photojournalism in the way in which we see it today. The arrival of technology such as roll film, smaller cameras, quicker lenses and portable light sources helped photographers to capture the pictures they had envisioned. With these new tools at their disposal, photographers could take pictures in areas which were previously impossible to shoot in. Locations with minimal light and subjects in fast movement could now be captured with ease, giving photojournalists the opportunity to capture the world with greater detail.

The halftone printing press process, which produced photos in full tonal range, completely altered the way in which photographs were printed. Prior to the arrival of the printing press, photographs could not be transferred directly onto a printed page. Magazines and other publications eventually took full advantage of the printing press, of course; using the technology to publish photographs reproduced to a particularly high standard. The Canadian Illustrated News, for example, is reported to have been the first publication to print halftone images.


1) 'Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach' – Kenneth Kobre
2) 'Chameleon Translations'
3) UGA Law

Saturday, 23 October 2010

WINOL 20th October Thoughts and Feedback

This is my second review of the WINOL broadcasts, and I can see that our feedback over the last show on the 13th has had a noticeable effect on this weeks edition.

Above all, the audio last week let the side down. This week, however, the sound is greatly improved. I can hear clearly what everybody's saying, both by the presenters and the reporters. Last week, there was also a slight lack of enthusiasm from some of the reporters. This week, this has been greatly improved. The reporters sound like they're genuinely interested in what it is they're reporting on and it makes the subject matter far more engaging for me as a viewer.

Continuing on the theme on sound, the audio from the Interviews conducted in this weeks broadcast was fantastic. Furthermore, the visual displays that introduce the interviewees remained on the screen for longer than in the last broadcast. I could clearly identify who was being interviewed, which was great.

I have 2 small points to make about the interview with Councillor Harry Verney. Firstly, the location of the interview is slightly odd. Perhaps it would have been nicer to use a more professional-looking or interesting setting. Secondly, Mr Verney is cut off mid-sentence at the end of the interview which meant I had trouble hearing the last bit of the feature.

As with last week, there was a nice variation in the stories discussed. This was a very well polished broadcast. Nicely done!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

John Locke - Seminar Notes


 "Idea is the object of thinking" - Locke doesn't believe that when we are born there is something already present in our brain. Locke is against the idea of innate knowledge, whereas Descartes believes the opposite. Locke does, however, believe in God. He states that God has given mankind the ability to discover knowledge.

"All ideas come from reflection" - Locke refers to the mind as 'white paper' and argues that knowledge comes from experience. "Observation (of external objects and internal operations) supplies understanding". It is from observation that knowledge originates.

"The object of sensation one source of ideas" - Locke is essentially saying that our senses act as the source from which ideas stem. It's all about our senses and what we conclude from what is it they show us. Locke calls the source of most of our ideas which are affected by our senses 'sensation'. If we use our senses, we will discover.

 "The operations of our minds the other source of them" - Knowledge comes from how we perceive and how we translate our own thoughts. Essentially, how we interpret our internal operations is linked directly to knowledge and understanding.

 "Not on the mind naturally, imprinted, because not know to children, idiots" - Children and idiots have no understanding. Locke basically argue that you can't imprint something onto somebodies mind if it isn't fully understood or perceived correctly. Something cannot be imprinted without you being conscious of it to some extent.

Locke - Knowledge comes from experience [Against innate]
Descartes - Innate ideas are placed by God at your creation [For innate]

Descartes said there are 3 substances - God, mind and matter. Spinoza disagreed, saying that thought and extension were both attributes of God.

We have the tools to learn from birth, but we learn from scratch.

"All our ideas are of the one of the other of these" - External objects 'furnish' the mind and how we perceive them shapes our understanding. New born = lack of understanding. As we get older, we develop our own ideas and sense of understanding.

Locke also mentions the 'soul' on occasions.

- The soul thinks even during sleep, but the memory does not retrain what is thought
- The soul is always thinking
- The soul has ideas that aren't derived from reflection

The soul holds the senses together. Locke seems to lean towards the idea that the soul and the mind are the same thing.

Locke thinks it's better to find something our for yourself rather than read it from a book and automatically take it to be true. He also states that our ideas are derived from

- Sensation
- Perception

Since we think by means of ideas, and ideas come from experience, it's clear that knowledge can't come before experience. "Perception is the first step towards knowledge"

- Knowledge of our own existence  is instinctive
- Knowledge of God's existence is demonstrative
- We have no knowledge except by intuition, reason and sensation

Social contract:

Linked to the idea that peoples dominate passions are aggressive (see links to Hobbe's points against a 'state of nature') The social contract explores the idea that higher powers such as the Government and the public have particular roles. Based on the concept that society favours having order and structure to being free and ungoverned.

State of nature / natural law:

By nature every man has a right to punish attacks on himself or his property, even by death. Laws of nature - A ready made knowledge of right and wrong. Suggests that the human race should aim for peace. Locke says that if a man has succeeded in killing your brother, you have a right to kill him. But where the law exists, you lose this right.

Life in state of nature is described as 'nasty, brutish and short'. If there were no government or law, we would experience 'the natural condition of mankind'. Hobbe's saw 3 reasons why a state of nature would result in constant war and conflict

- Without government, resources would be scarce, resulting in conflict.
- Individuals would try to pre-empt these attacks
- People would realise the advantage of having a reputation for strength.

Hobbes recommends / backs the idea of a dictatorship. Locke disagrees. The idea of having our rights stripped away is wrong.

'Law for Journalists' - Chapter 17 Raw Notes

Meaning of Words

  • An inference is a statement with a secondary meaning which can be understood by someone without special knowledge who 'reads between the lines in the light of his general knowledge and experience of wordly affairs'
The test of what words mean is again the test of the reasonable person. NOT the meaning intended by the person who wrote the words

The words must be read in full and in their contest. Juxtaposition is a constant danger for journalists, particularly for sub-editors and those dealing with production. Those editing footage must take care how pictures interact with each other, and with any commentary

  • An innuendo is a statement which may seem to be innocuous to some people but which will be seen as defamatory by people with special knowledge
The libel claimant who argues that he/she has been defamed by an innuendo must show not only that the special facts or circumstances giving rise to the innuendo exist, but also that these facts are known to the people to whom the statement complained of was published

Bane and Antidote

Just as a defamatory meaning may be conveyed by a particular context, so a defamatory meaning may be removed by the context. A judge in 1835 said that, if in one part of a publication something disreputable to the claimant was stated that was removed by the conclusion, 'the bane and the antidote must be taken together'

Lord Nichols, another of the law lords, warned that words in the text of an article would not always be efficacious to 'cure' a defamatory headline. 'It all depends on the context, one element in which is the layout of the article. Those who print defamatory headlines are playing with fire'

Why might a media organisation be reluctant to fight a defamation action?
  • Uncertainty of how a jury will interpret meanings: The statement that seems to one person quite innocuous may, equally clearly, be defamatory to another
  • Difficulty in proving truth: Even if a journalist and his/her editor are convinced of the truth of a story, they may be unable to prove it in court. Witnesses may be reluctant to give evidence, for example
  • Huge damages could be awarded if trial lost: Libel damages are normally determined by a jury. We do not know how such juries reach their decisions, but there is little doubt that in general they find it a difficult and confusing job and some how awarded huge sums
  • Huge costs: The damages award is frequently exceeded by the legal costs, which are generally met by the loser
  • It may be better to settle out of court: Faced with high figures for costs and damages, some may decide to settle out of court by payment of agreed damages
Errors and Apologies

Sometimes publication of the words that cause the libel problem are not the result of a conscious decision but the result of an innocent error.

This results in a solicitors letter from 'the other side' which may lead eventually to a High Court libel hearing

Sometimes, publishing an apology or an inadequate correction can itself, in certain situations, create a further libel problem

The most common cause of libel actions against media organisations is the journalist's failure to apply professional standards of accuracy and fairness. The best protection against getting involved in an expensive action is to make every effort to get the story right

It's often useful to approach stories like so. Remember:
  • Who am I writing about, will they sue?
  • Is what I am writing potentially defamatory?
  • Do I have a defence?

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