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

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Showreel: September - December 2011





A collection of footage taken from my first term as reporter for WINOL, Winchester News Online. The stories covered in this montage include: Southampton strikes, Energy prices, Winchester 'Zombosium', Southampton photonics, London November protests, Sound Radio charity event and Southampton taxi policy.


WINOL - Week #10 Notes


WINOL - Week 10 Analysis

This week was slightly stressful to say the least, but I'm happy with the outcome. On Monday morning I came to the news meeting with two ideas for stories, neither of which were solid at that point as I was still waiting on some calls. I had a story regarding the University of Winchester and a grant they'd received, but admittedly it was pretty dull. I decided to focus my full attention on the taxi story, which was a genuinely interesting story to research further into.

I managed to organise an interview in Eastleigh with Kevin May, a local taxi firm director who had spent a large sum of money fighting the taxi camera policy in court. Kevin was a great interviewee. He gave some nice quotes and was clearly upset at the policy the council were enforcing. I wasn't particularly pleased with the location of the interview. In the end we ended up setting up in one of the offices at the taxi firm, but the shelves Kevin was sat in front of made it look like we were in a shed of some kind! It's a shame that we couldn't film the interview outside in front of some Taxi's, but at that point it was too dark to attempt that.

The sound from the interview was a good quality. My thanks go to Daniel Mackrell for helping me out throughout the day. Dan did well at framing the interview correctly and ensuring everything went smoothly behind the scenes.

My biggest issue this week was balance. I had pressed the council for a statement but I was getting sent from person to person and got the feeling nobody really knew who would be the best person to speak to.

Admittedly, I was a little disappointed at this point because I had a good interview but no balance from a council member. I heard that Louis was interviewing Royston Smith and asked him if he could grab me a statement on the issue once Louis had finished his interview with Mr Smith regarding his own story. A big thank you to Louis who managed to get me a video clip of Royston Smith arguing why the camera technology was so vital for the protection and safety of the public. If I hadn't got this balance, my story would have been a flop.

Totalitarianism - Seminar Summary

Totalitarianism refers to a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator. Ultimately, the movement revolves around the idea of complete power and control. Totalitarianism is a political system where the state in control believes 'everything is possible'. The main phenomena of totalitarianism  is that you are told what to believe. To enforce such a system, a policy of terror needs to be implemented. To drive fear into the heart of the public will destroy a sense of individuality, which is the vital first step to controlling the masses.

To shape a totalitarianistic society a single process of thought must be formed. Anybody that goes against this single thought must be punished and made an example of. Individuals that go against the single idea backed by the ruler are seen as enemies. In a sense, the public's perception of reality is altered somewhat, to the point where free thought is made difficult, if not impossible. Several links can be drawn between totalitarianism and Darwin's theory of the 'Survival of the fittest'. The supposed idea of an 'inferior race' is obviously linked to the Nazi party's justification of the holocaust. The holocaust is a clear example of how totalitarianism is used to strip people of their identity, rights and citizenship.

Hannah Arendt, born in 1906, was a German political theorist, believing in the individuality and the spontaneity of people. She wrote a number of articles for the New Yorker, also believing that no thinking person could be solely responsible for genocide. Arendt would argue that the only defence against totalitarianism was the idea of individuality. In her opinion, it wasn't necessary to possess wickedness in order to commit crimes. Her theory links well with Stanley Milgram's psychological study regarding authority figures, but I'll come to that later on. 


The Holocaust began in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany

Arendt wrote about a court cause concerning Adolf Eichmann, who was a key member of the Nazi party. Eichmann was one of the figures behind the planning of the holocaust, organising the process of the deportation of Jews. Arendt believed that Eichmann could be considered guilty, however not for the reasons proposed by the Court. She stated that his only crime was not thinking about his actions and serving whoever was in control with blind obedience. This links back to what I said earlier, which is the idea that no person on their own could be responsible for genocide. Instead, a number of people are involved. Eichmann was carrying out orders from a peer, not creating them himself.


A BBC Four documentary clip exploring Milgram's study

In 1963, Stanley Milgram published the results of his experiment related to the idea of obedience. The aim of Milgram's experiment was to investigate what level of obedience would be shown when participants were told by an authority figure to administer electric shocks to another person. In reality, the people the participants were 'shocking' were actors. 

The results were startling. All 40 of the Participant's obeyed the process up to 300 volts, at which point 5 refused to continue. During the study, many participants showed clear signs of discomfort. On one occasion, a participant had such a violent seizure experimenters had to intervene for the participants own safety.

Milgram summarised his findings in the form of a 9-point list. Perhaps the most relevant findings in relation to the holocaust were the following:

1) Participants believed the experiment was being carried out for a worthy purpose. They felt they were helping to advance knowledge and understanding of learning processes.

2) Milgram was arguing that an important factor influencing behaviour is the situation a person is in

3) We often believe a person has behaved the way they do because of their personality, when in fact it is the situation which shaped their behaviour

1984 by George Orwell tells the story of Winston Smith, a man living in a totalitarianistic society where he is made to re-write history (literally) by order of his leaders. The film links heavily with the themes explained at the start of my post. The world in which Smith lives is a world where citizens are told what to say, do and think. The citizens in this world cannot go against the thought of figurehead 'Big Brother', as to do so would result in severe punishment.


The flag of the ruling party in the film adaptation of 1984

The world in which Smith resides is governed by the Thought Police, a force whose Job it is to ensure members of society obey the rules set fourth by Big Brother. This force essentially enforces the idea that no individual is capable of thinking for themselves. Citizens in this world cannot act on impulse, they must act on the wishes of Big Brother. Smith goes against the body he serves, falling in love with a fellow citizen. In the world of Oceania, this is illegal. 

1984 is effective in showing the brutality of a totalitarianistic society. As is stated at the start of the film, "Those who control the present, control the past. Those who control the past control the future".

Friday, 9 December 2011

Existentialism, Politics and post-humanist morality - Raw Notes



Phenomenology:

* Closest to Psychology
* Deals with subjective perception of things

Romanticism - A pessimistic outlook at its core

Husserl - Duck, rabbit conundrum.

* Conciousness is intentional, and meaning is fixed subjectively
* Some knowledge / ideas have more priority than others
* Phenomenology and types of literary Journalism - looking at the familiar as unfamiliar and vice versa

Nazism - Links to Rousseau

Heidegger - A student of Husserl

* Wrote 'Being in Time'
* Interested in how the personality develops in time
* Before Heidegger, it was assumed the personality did not change
* Heidegger thought the personality is ever-changing
* Dread - You're concerned about what will happen next
* He thought highly of Hitler
* Third Reich
* Heidegger felt no guilt over his role in Nazi Germany

Time, for Heidegger, is a structure of being.

'Being' - The dasein

The past - Guilt
The present - Dread
The future - Unknown

Satre - Where does guilt / dread come from? Other people. ("Hell is other people")

* Satre's book, 'Nausea'
* 'No Exit' play
* Satre was imprisoned by the Nazi's. Famously stated: "I've never felt so free". No hypocrisy. He was a prisoner and that was that

Hell is other people, but at the same time we are other people - Collective conciousness, Carl Jung

Totalitarianism - Raw Notes




“Totalitarianism is a branch of phenomenology” - Hannah Arendt disagreed, describing the holocaust as 'normal'.

[ The main phenomena of Totalitarianism is that you are told what to believe ]

What is Totalitarianism?
  • “A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator ( not restricted by a constitution or laws )
  • A political system where the state in control believes that 'everything is possible'.
  • Strives for limitless power through the control of the public sector and the private sectors within it
  • Complete control over everything
  • Enforce it – A policy of terror needs to be implemented
  • Mass, senseless, reasonless slaughter. Drives fear into the heart of the public, destroy the sense of individuality
  • Needs to be constantly attacking and have no other purpose other than to destroy
Arendt's View
  • A critic of Nietzsche
  • Believed in the moral universe of Totalitarianism
  • Nietzsche’s 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' stated there was no such thing as 'supermen', and that we are just going about our daily Jobs as human beings
  • Arendt disagreed
  • Believed in the individuality and spontaneity of people
  • Wrote a series of articles for the New Yorker
  • No thinking person could be responsible for genocide. It's not necessary to possess wickedness in order to commit crimes.
Eichmann Case
  • Arendt wrote about a court case concerning Adolf Eichmann who was a key member of the Nazi party
  • She believed he could be considered guilty but not for the reasons stated by the court
  • She said Adolf's only crime was not thinking about his actions and serving whoever was in control with blind obedience
  • No thinking person could be responsible for genocide. It's not necessary to posses wickedness in order to commit great crimes
Milgram
  • Study to see how far people would go when receiving orders from an authority figure
  • Influenced by the events of the Holocaust
  • “Obedience to authority”
  • 33 out of 40 P's administered the full range of shocks up to 450 volts
  • 2/3 of all people undertaking the study gave the participant a shock which could kill
  • The holocaust is an example of how totalitarianism is used to strip people of their identity, rights and citizenship
  • Everybody blames Hitler, but was it just him at fault?
  • There's no one person that can mesmerise everyone and do everything, argued Arendt

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Update: New WINOL Page


I just created a new page on my blog specifically for keeping track of the WINOL episodes I've been a part of, and my thoughts on each one.

The page can be viewed by clicking on 'WINOL' at the top of the page or by using this link below:

http://tommorganwinchester.blogspot.com/p/winol.html

WINOL - Week #9 Notes


WINOL - Week 9 Analysis

This week was easily our biggest yet, in which WINOL attempted to broadcast live from Southampton as we covered the strikes on November 30th. I wasn't at Southampton HQ at any point during the day, but from what I've heard, I think we pulled it off!

Me, Flick, Becky and Greg headed off to London with the task of collecting interviews and GV's and sending them back to Southampton HQ. I knew this was going to be difficult. To send clips over the net you need a decent upload speed. Decent speeds cost money, so it was always going to be tricky finding somewhere in London that not only gave free WiFi, but gave free WiFi that was a decent quality.

We got there at around 10am and straight away we started gathering content. Within 20 minutes of arriving we'd already filmed an interview. We filmed some GV's of the location where the march was beginning but at that stage nothing particularly interesting was going on. As a result, we decided to head to McDonalds to upload what we had taken so far and would return to the march later on when the attendance was higher.

Straight away, we ran into problems. I tried to upload the interview footage raw and it came in at 800mb, which is massive considering we were also planning on uploading that. It would have taken hours. I tried to work out how we could overcome this problem because if we couldn't there was no way the Southampton HQ would be receiving any content from us at all.

I had taken my laptop with me on the day, which was vital. I decided to import our raw footage into an editing program called Camtasia Studio. From there, I re-rendered the footage into a smaller size using the video settings and output format. Using this method I was able to get an 800mb interview clip down to just 30mb. 

From that point on, we decided to go about filming in a slightly different way. We used the Canon 550D purely for interviews. When it came to GV's, me and Becky were uploading from our iPhones. On a 3G network, it took us about 30 seconds to upload a single GV, which was absolutely fine. Over the course of the day I sent about 20 GV's to my YouTube channel from my phone. Gathering GV's was fairly straight-forward using this method.

We got a nice variety of content on the day. Flick did a nice piece to camera, which gave us something different to use. Up until that point we had just been using GV's and interviews. We did have a slight issue with the sound from the 550D. Naturally, we were recording in a loud environment and at times it was difficult hearing what the interviewees were saying. I still think the footage was usable, however.

Overall, I'm pleased with how the day went. I'm extremely glad I worked out how to re-render our raw footage on the go into more manageable chunks so we could send it to Southampton. Having all that footage and not being able to show it off would have been a horrible feeling.

Well done to the WINOL team for a great job and thanks to the team that was with me in London. I also think a massive thankyou is owed to my friend Greg, who rented out the equipment for us, helped us carry things around London, and also showed us the best settings to use for the 550D.

WINOL - Week #8 Notes


WINOL - Week 8 Analysis

This week went fairly well in my opinion. I ended up covering Winchester Sound Radio's 24 hour broadcast for Children In Need. It was nice that the story was located on campus as up until this point I have been used to moving around, primarily to Southampton which I've visited a lot during the news gathering phase.

The piece featured 3 interviews, which I thought was great as it made the story more interesting to watch. Having more than 1 interview tells the audience that what's going on is a wide-spread project and it's not only going to support a worthy cause but its also got many people behind it.

All my interviewees came out with some nice sound bytes. I particularly liked the soundbite I used for the headline clip in the broadcast which featured Joy Carter, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester. She said: "It's a no-brainer, actually. People have to tune in!". I think it's important to have a member of staff at the University have their say as it gives another dimension to the story. I could have just used the viewpoints of students for the package but thought it would be a welcome addition to include Joy.

My only gripe with the package is my first interview. Aarran Summers was a great interviewee, but I used his audio interview over a GV of him talking into the radio mic in the studio. It looked odd, because the audience expected to either see Aarran in real time or have him turn to the camera and then continue talking, addressing the audience directly.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Keynes - Seminar Summary

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes is widely considered one of the most influential texts in the world of finance and economics. After it was published in 1936, it became a benchmark for future economic thought, exploring ideas including the effects of government intervention, supply and demand and the issues associated with unemployment. The text was revolutionary as it explained that full employment could only be maintained with the support of government spending and investment. 'Successful investing', as he described it, was nothing more than 'anticipating the anticipations of others'

Born in 1883, Keynes was a British economist. His father was also an economist, as well as a philosopher teaching at Cambridge University. His mother was educated at Newnham College and became the City's first female mayor. Keynes became one of the most respected economists of the century following the publication of his book 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace' in 1919. The fact that even today Keynes' theories and ideas are being revised and expanded is a true sign of the impact he had in the field.

Before looking further at the General Theory, it's worth clarifying the meaning behind terms that repeat themselves throughout the text. First of all - Capitalism. Capitalism, put simply, is a system (both economic and political) in which the trade patterns of a country are controlled by private owners for profit. Keyne's also refers to the idea of interest. Interest is defined as: "The fee paid by a borrower of assets to the owner as a form of compensation for the use of the assets." Keyne's himself described capitalism as "the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."



Spending money on the military is a way of injecting aggregate demand

In Paul Krugman's review of the General Theory, followers and supporters of Keynes' work are referred to as Keynesians. Keynesians believe that aggregate demand is influenced by a host of economic decisions. Aggregate demand is the amount of money people are willing to spend to satisfy 'wants', not needs. This will increase if wages increase and / or if savings decrease and / or if less is spent on investment and import. A good way of injecting aggregate demand is by spending money on the military and other public services. Education and the NHS are other strong examples. Demand can also be increased by convincing people to spend their savings, yet if interest rates are cut low, people will not save.

Keynesian's also believe that changes in demand have their greatest short run effect on employment, not prices. If something is less in demand, for example a product, then the workforce needed to produce the produce will be smaller. Furthermore, prices respond slowly to supply and demand and unemployment itself is also subject to demand.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was written during times of mass unemployment, in what some referred to as the 'interwar period'. The Great Depression was an economic slump that affected North America, Europe and a host of other regions around the world. It was the longest depression experienced by the Western World, lasting until around 1939. In Keynes view, the solution to the Great Depression involved reducing interest rates and exercising government investment in infrastructure. Many economists are of the opinion that only large rates of U.S defence spending in preparation for WWII ended the depression. Keyne's himself suggested that to lift the recession the US central bank would have to expand the supply of money.

Keynes also argued that unemployment could be solved with a 'narrow and technical solution', adding that adequate effective demand was achievable if government policies became less intrusive. Critics questioned the British economist when he said that free markets and minimal government intervention were the way forward. Krugman himself describes the General Theory as "a work of informed, disciplined radicalism". Government intervention can come in a number of forms. The idea of a minimum wage, for example, is a concept introduced through this manner. Classical economists would argue that any form of government intervention is the cause of unemployment, however.

In his review of the text, Paul Krugman summarises the theories put forward in the General Theory into 4 key points, the first of which states: "Economies can do and often do suffer from an overall lack of demand, which leads to involuntary unemployment". The idea here is that if a product isn't particularly popular, efforts to actually produce the product will slump, which means the workforce behind the product are likely to lose work.

The second point put forward says: "The economy's automatic tendency to correct shortfalls in demand, if it exists at all, operates slowly and painfully". This means that the long term effects of demand fall are severe, but the economy will stabilise the drop if its 'automatic tendancy' is present.

The next point adds: "Government policies to increase demand, by contrast, can reduce unemployment quickly". If the government increase the demand for something, the workforce related to this 'something' will need to be expanded to cope with supply and demand. Increasing the workforce will therefore create more Jobs and thus reduce unemployment.


Unemployment and the idea of 'demand' are closely linked

The final point says: "Sometimes increasing the money supply wont be enough to persuade the private sector to spend more, and government spending must step into the breach". Government spending has the ability to stabilise existing workforces and create new ones. These ideas link closely to John Hicks' analysis of the General Theory, where he explains his thinking behind the 'two curves'. Hick's states the General Theory can be interpreted in two curves: The IS curve (shifted by tax / spending changes) and the LM curve (shifted by changes in money supply)

Krugman also highlights issues with the General Theory. "He [Keyne] underestimated the ability of mature economics to stave off diminishing returns", he writes. He also describes how the economist failed to predict a future of constant inflation. This ultimately meant that Keynes was pessimistic about the future of monetary policy, which would have helped shape a number of his views.

Although some economists feels we've lost sight of the 'true Keynesian path', Krugman suggests otherwise. "The bottom line is that really we are all Keynesian now", he argues. A large part of what modern macro economists do derives from the The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by Keynes. This is a clear sign of the impact the British philosopher had on the world of economics. Even now his views towards finance and government control shape the thinking of experts today.

Keynes - Raw Notes



The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money - By John Maynard Keynes

Capitalism - "An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit".

Keynesian - Believe: A) Aggregate demand is influenced by a host of economic decisions
                                B) Changes in demand have their greatest short run effect on employment, not prices
                                C) Prices respond slowly to supply and demand
                                D) Unemployment is subject to demand

Interest - "A fee paid by a borrower of assets to the owner as a form of compensation for the use of the assets".

The Great Depression - Keynes' solution: Reduce interest rates / Government investment in infrastructure

Keynes


* British economist
* Considered one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century
*  1883 - 1946
* His father was also an economist, as well as a philosopher
* His greatest work (General Theory) published in 1936, became a benchmark for future economic thought

Keynes Message


* "Keyne's was no socialist - he came to save capitalism, not to bury it"
* Some of the theory was delivered in a witty style
* It was written during times of mass unemployment
* Keynes argued that the issue of unemployment could be solved with a narrow and technical solution
* He said that less intrusive government policies would mean the market economy could go on as before (It would ensure 'adequate effective demand')
* Some people have a clear reason to disagree with Keyne, who was saying that free markets and minimal government intervention was the way forward

Key points made within the General Theory:

1) Economies can and often do suffer from an overall lack of demand, which leads to involuntary unemployment

2) The economy's automatic tendency to correct shortfalls in demand, if it exists at all, operates slowly and painfully - Long term effects of demand fall are severe, but will fix

3) Government policies to increase demand, by contrast, can reduce unemployment quickly

4) Sometimes increasing the money supply wont be enough to persuade the private sector to spend more, and government spending must step into the breach.

[ "The general theory is a work of informed, disciplined radicalism" ]

The General Theory was written in an economy with interest rates already so low that there was little an increase in the money supply could do to push them lower.

Keynes and the Moderns


* John Hicks, 1937 review of Keynes- Hick's states the General Theory can be interpreted in two curves. The IS curve (shifted by tax / spending changes) and the LM curve (shifted by changes in money supply)
* Critics have issues with whether adding to the money supply is enough to restore full employment

Keynes' Legacy - Lost?


* Some economists feel we've lost the true Keynesian path
* They add that modern macroeconomic theory (which reduced Keynes to a static equilibrium model) is a betrayal of Keynesian thinking.
* One of Keynes strategic decisions, Paul Krugman states, is that he pushed the whole question of why investment rises and falls into the background

Krugman - "The bottom line is that really we are all Keynesians now" ( A large part of what modern macro economists do derives from the General Theory )

Criticisms


* Keynes mistook an episode for a trend
* 'Written in a decade where even a near-zero interest rate wasn't low enough to restore full employment'
* When the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve were unable to create employment despite raising money supply, Keynes assumed that the monetary environment of the 1930's would be the norm from then on.
* "He underestimated the ability of mature economics to stave off diminishing returns"
* Keynes failed to foresee a future of persistent inflation. Because of this, he was pessimistic about the future of monetary policy

Thursday, 10 November 2011

WINOL - Week #7 Notes


WINOL - Week 7 Analysis

Week 7 was a particularly ambitious week. Me and Ali went to London and attempted a live update over Skype. Unfortunately, that didn't work out due to issues with unclear audio, but the day was still really good fun.

It was a refreshing change of pace not having to walk through Winchester to interview a councillor or sit in on a meeting of some kind. Being in London with the equipment for an event that was genuinely exciting to be a part of was brilliant.

We started out early at Winchester Station and managed to get to the University of London Union building at around 11am. At first we had an issue with working out how we were going to set up the 'as live' piece. In the end we used Ali's laptop and rested it on the tripod we had which we set up near to the Union building entrance. This worked surprisingly well with Ali on the other side of the computer ensuring the camera remained steady as we filmed the 40 second piece to camera.

The atmosphere at the march was electric. People were clearly passionate about what they were fighting for and this really came across in the shots we gathered. The issue with many of the GV's was the fact I was forced to carry the camera instead of mount in to the tripod. When you're in the middle of a crowd you can't exactly set up there and then.

The 'as live' piece in the morning went well. Admittedly, it took a while to upload the footage using Karen's USB dongle (Thanks for that by the way!) but we managed it in the end. Becky text me asking for some GV's to use for a headline clip and I managed to capture footage from my phone and upload the clips to YouTube wirelessly surprisingly easily.

From there me and Ali made our way along the march route, looking out for a Starbucks as we went so we could set the laptop up for a live update at 3pm. Eventually, we found a store to set up in and got permission from the manager to broadcast inside. There was abit of waiting before the live broadcast which gave us a chance to practice. Unfortunately, the audio didn't work out in the end which was a massive disappointment because the practice runs went fine.

Despite the issues with the live update, the whole experience was great and we managed to get some some good GV's. I'd be very willing to do something similar to this in the future. It's just a shame the live update didn't work because I think that would have looked excellent.




Friday, 4 November 2011

Frege - Seminar Summary

During the 19th century, Philosophers began to focus their work towards the topic of 'meaning'. They wished to learn about the meaning of words and sentences and what they represented. The relationship between meaning and truth was also closely linked with this.

Gottlob Frege, born in 1848, was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher, studying the construction and ingredients of language. Frege's early work was focused on mathematics and geometry, yet his thoughts soon turned to logic and the philosophy of language. His paper titled 'Sense and Reference', written in 1892, was based upon the question: 'Is identity a relation?', in which he looked at the differences between the significance of an expressions.


Yes, they're clouds, but they're also natural signs!

Frege highlighted two approaches to the theory of 'signs'. Approach 1 claimed there was no relation between signs and what they stood for because, if that were true, when A=B is true then A=A cannot differ from A=B. Approach 2 claimed that on the other hand, there can't be a relationship between signs because names are arbitrary (Based on random choice rather than reason) If A=B expressed a relationship between symbols it could not express any fact about the extra-linguistic world.

Complicated, confusing stuff, but it can be explained in simpler terms. What is a sign? Signs are closely linked with what Frege referred to as a 'sense' and a 'reference'. Frege noticed a distinction between the reference of an expression (the object referred to) and the sense of an expression (the mode in which a sign presents what it designates). The German philosopher felt that all items were at three levels - Signs, their sense and their references.

When we use signs, we express a sense and denote a reference. When we understand a word, we have grasped a sense of the word. For Frege, it is not only proper names that have senses and references, however. Using the example of 'Odyssey', he explained that sentences in works of fiction lack reference. The reason this is the case is because they contain names that lack reference. In this example, it would be the word 'Odyssey'. It's worth remembering that if a name lacks a reference, that doesn't affect the thought. Fiction has sense but no reference, rendering it useless in terms of logic.


Frege is considered one of the founders of modern logic

Towards the end of his life, Frege became interesting in the idea of colouring. The scientific language we use is black and white, yet our expressions of feeling are capable of bringing colour to the sentence. Heartfelt language and sayings such as 'Oh my god!' and 'Alas!' would be examples of expressions that bring such colour.

Frege died in 1925 at the age of 76, ending a life of work that changed the philosophy of mathematics.

Now we move onto Charles Sanders Pierce, the founder of American pragmatism. To be 'pragmatic' is defined as 'dealing with things realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations'. Let's use the example sentence: "Hitler is evil". Pragmatics would argue this is true because it's conventional and widely believed.

Pierce took a great interest in physical science and by the age of 31, he has published a number of papers in the field of logic. He had also written about subjects including the history of philosophy, chemistry and religion. 

Bertrand Russell is a well-know critic of Pragmatism. In 1908 he published an article named 'Transatlantic Truth'. Russell wrote that to say "it is true other people exist" means "it is useful to believe that other people exist". He pointed out, however, that these two phrases are simply different ways of putting forward the same proposition. Russell claimed that one proposition could be true and the other false and in practice, it was much easier to find out if something is true than to decide if it's good to believe in it.

Pierce came up with the general theory of signs - semiotics. The theory states that there are 3 types of signs:

1) Natural signs - Clouds, for example, are a sign of rain
2) Iconic signs - Signified by resembling their objects. For example, sculptures or paintings
3) Symbols - Uniforms and traffic signals, for example. They're determined by convention but don't always resemble their objects

Since Pierce, theorists have divided semiotics into three disciplines:

1) Syntactics - The study of grammar
2) Semantics - The study of the relationship between language and reality
3) Pragmatics - The study of the social context and the purposes and consequences of communication

Pierce passed away in 1914 during a time in which he was still continuing work on his theory of logic.  At this point Pierce was fairly unknown to the public on a large scale. Following his death, his manuscripts were sold to Harvard University by his wife.

WINOL - Week #6 Notes


WINOL - Week 6... Analysis

I was pleased with how Week 6 went as I felt I produced a strong package with some interesting shots and a well-delivered script.

The hardest part about this week was taking a particularly complicated subject and making it simple to understand. The story was about the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre receiving a £1.4 million grant. Now obviously, this is already a mouthful. There were a couple of abbreviations in the piece in the end and that may have let the final product down slightly. I had to try and explain in simple terms the fact that this grant money would be used to run and fund projects that made use of very complex equipment.

I also had an issue with the way my interview was framed. My interviewee, Professor Rob Eason, was looking too far away from the camera. It was more a side-on shot than it was a head-on shot, which is a shame. Thankfully the things Rob said were interesting enough to ensure the interview was still usable.

I think it would have been nice to get some shots of the Southampton University campus just to break up the montage clips of the technology in the lab.

I felt the piece was quite heavy for an 'and finally' story, but I think I did a decent job at explaining a complicated story in simple(ish!) terms.



Frege, Marx, Nietzche,Freud - Raw Notes


[Marx, Nietzsche, Freud - Chronological order]

3 critics who killed enlightenment

Frege - "Sense and Sensibility"

* Individual proposition do not have meaning, they only have meaning in relation to other propositions.
* Without logic all certain knowledge from reason, as opposed to pure sense data, is bought in to question
* Sentential logic - Understand and explain the significance of:

1) The evening star is the same as the morning star
2) The present King of France is not bald
3) There was nobody on the road

* Frege is the final rejection of Syllogistic logic (Aristotle) as a path to truth

Neitzche:

Subjectivist epistemology - No universal truth, only subjective impressions of relative value

This is a rejection of:

* Judeo-Christian-Islamic outlook
* Rationalist secularist scientific approach of the enlightenment
* Kantian categorical epistemology and morality

Marx claimed to have discovered universal law of human social development. Used the language of the enlightenment.

(Marx was the least skeptical of the '3 critics'. Also the least subjective)

Nietzche and Freud come after Marx. 'God is dead'.

Nietzche has a number of famous quotes used widely in popular media. It's worth looking at some.

* Marx - Alienation / ideology - "The ruling ideas in every epoch and the ideas of the ruling class" - This is still an important idea in social science, in practical politics, in Journalism and in literacy criticism.

* At its extreme Marxian concepts of ideology lead to doctrines of separate or independent social consciousness.

* The Marxist and Nietzschean critique of Freud is that he lacks an anthropological basis for his theories or a political framework.

( Anthropology = The study of human behaviour, cultures and their development )

* Frederick Engles - The origins of the family, state and private property and the subject are of anthropology, asserts that truth and systems of morality are indeed subjective and transitory.

E.g - In one society cannibalism is taboo. In others, it's celebrated as a religious activity.

* Freud is with Nietzsche, Schopenhaur and hindu-buddhism in seeing the ego.
* Freud's psychotherapy is little more than people coming to terms with their role in life.

Nietzsche thinks will is good. He has has a big influence on popular culture.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

WINOL - Week #5 Notes


WINOL - Week 5 Analysis

Week 5 consisted of me being handed an interesting story and not really doing it justice.

The prospect of a 'zombie module' coming to the University of Winchester and a day of lectures discussing the undead and their impact on popular culture. It's something interesting, which is why it's a shame I didn't really get a nice rememberable quote from my interviewee.

My possibilities were limited when it came to GV's. WINOL goes out on a Wednesday and the Zombosium wasn't taking place until 2 days after that. From there my only option was to have some footage of the recent Zombie walk in Brighton.

I went to YouTube and messaged the account of a person who had taken some footage of the event. He gave me written permission to use his footage in my package, which was good. It gave the viewers something to look at other than shots of the campus. I don't, however, like using footage that wasn't shot by me. It's like cheating your way through a story, grabbing montage clips from various archives on the net. It's a shame the actual Zombosium event wasn't before the broadcast.

This week was a little disappointing.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Freud - Seminar Summary

Born in 1856 into an Austrian family, Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential and controversial thinkers associated with the twentieth century. His theories on sexuality and the application of therapy still have an impact on society today.

Freud initially trained as a doctor, studying what he referred to as 'brain anatomy'. In 1895, he published a work in partnership with Breur on hysteria, which presented 'an original analysis of mental illness'. The pairs book explained that every case of hysteria had a correlation with an individuals traumatic past experience. Freud was also of the opinion that sexual desires had a role to play here, but his mentor refused to acknowledge this theory.

Eventually, Freud stopped using hypnosis as a form of treatment and instead decided to turn to what he called psychoanalysis. In Freud’s own words, psychoanalysis was 'nothing more than an exchange of words between patient and doctor'. Patients were encouraged to talk about anything that came to their mind and the information revealed could then be interpreted. The approach furthers human understanding of the role of emotions in health, also stressing the importance that the past can shape the present. Freud would undoubtedly argue that as people, we are constantly engaged in a process of psychological development from birth.

From his work, Freud concluded that psychological trauma stemmed from Infancy. There was also a sexual element present. His ideas were a direct challenge to the age of enlightenment, a time fixated with the idea of rationality. Psychoanalysis is based on the concept that individuals are often unaware of their true feelings and the factors that determine these feelings and behavioural patterns.

Freud published a number of works during his life. In 1900, he wrote “The Interpretation of Dreams”. Freud opens the book with an introduction to dreams, writing: "In the following pages I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state."

In 1923 “The Ego and the Id” was released, then “The Future of An Illusion” in 1927. This last work was particularly controversial as it explored the idea of religion in great detail. Freud himself was an atheist, which shaped much of the content of the book and the way in which the subject was approached. Freud describes in his book how religionists cannot succeed in disproving the idea that the gods in which they place their faith in are more than products of their own minds, adapted to suit their needs. In 1932 in 'New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis' Freud stated: "Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires." Religion itself is a particularly good representation of the superego (In the way it's based upon a number of moral principles) but we'll come to that in a short while.


Freud suffered from mouth cancer since 1923 and was told his condition was inoperable

Freud believed the unconscious was manifested from a combination of three elements. The first of these he called 'everyday trivial mistakes'. In Freud's view, these 'mistakes' were not actually accidental. Instead, they revealed hidden motives of the unconscious. Forgetting to remember a name or a slip of the tongue, for example, could actually just be referred to as a 'Freudian Slip'. The second element Freud discussed was the conclusions drawn from reports of dreams. The final ingredient concerns the symptoms of neurosis, a psychological and behavioural disorder in which anxiety is a primary characteristic.

Freud also published his theory concerning sexual development. The theory states that from birth to our first year, we are within the 'oral stage'. During this time period, there is a fixation on the mouth and all pleasure is focused on the mouth. Next, between the age of 1 to 3 years, comes the 'anal stage'. At this point in the time line of sexual development, there is a primary focus on controlling bowel and bladder movements. The final stage is referred to as the 'phallic stage', where the child focuses or their own penis / clitoris.

Now we come to the Oedipus Complex. The theory states that a young boy will focus sexual desire on his mother. Furthermore, the child resents his fathers possession of his mother. The child’s anger towards the father leads the child to fear castration from the father's retaliation. Freud had no doubt in his mind that there was a female equivalent, but this was something that he never fully explored. For the complex to be overcome, Freud explained,  the child would have to identify with the same-sex parent.


Freud's work has contributed to our understanding of clinical psychology and human development

Next up is the idea of the Freudian Personality. This consists of three elements: The Id, the ego and the superego. The Id is the animalistic part of our personality. Primarily, it is driven by sex and aggression, which are dominating forces. The ego (our self) is the weakest part of our personality. It serves as a voice of reason, constantly battling the Id. The superego comprises of internalised rules from both our parents and society as a whole.

Freud outlined a number of coping mechanisms, however didn't really recommend them as they were merely temporary fixes. These included intoxication, isolation and sublimation. The first two are fairly self explanatory, but the theme of sublimation can be explored a little further.

Sublimation refers to the idea of finding a socially acceptable way of releasing our aggression. Ultimately, sublimation gives us a way of unleashing our animalistic qualities (our Id) without punished for doing so.

Freud - Raw Notes



Freud to Derrida

* Kant and Hegel were a massive influence in British Universities
* Very few philosophers described themselves as 'Freudian'.

Freud


* Born 1856
* Died 1939 - Lethal injection that he requested
* "Born into an Austrian family of non-observant Jews"
* Trained as a doctor, initially to study brain anatomy
* 1886 - Private medical practice
* 1895 - Published a work with Breur on hysteria - "presented an original analysis of mental illness"
* Freud stopped using hypnosis as a form of treatment and instead decided to turn to what he called psychoanalysis
* Psychoanalysis - "Nothing more than an exchange of words between patient and doctor"
* Patients were encouraged to talk about anything that came to mind
* Decided psychological trauma stemmed from Infancy. Had sexual content.
* 1900 - Published "The Interpretation of Dreams"
* 1923 - Published "The Ego and the Id"
* Atheist
* 1927 - "The Origin of Illusion" - Controversial account of the origin of religion

The Unconscious


Manifested through:

1) Everyday trivial mistakes
2) Reports of dreams
3) Symptoms of neurosis

Sexual Development


1) Oral (birth-1 year) - Pleasure focused on the mouth
2) Anal (1-3 years) - Pleasure focused on controlling bladder / bowel movements
3) Phallic (3-6 years) - Child focuses on own penis or clitoris

The Oedipus Complex 

The theory states:

* Boy focuses sexual desire on mother
* Resent father's possession of mother
* Child's anger towards father leads child to fear castration from father's retaliation
* Because of this, boy abandons sexual feelings towards his mother and learns to identify with the father
* Freud had no doubt there was a female equivalent, but this was never fully explored

Ego / Mental Disorder


"So long as the ego is in harmony with the Id, all will be well". If harmony is not there, mental disorders will develop.

Freud's Attacks


Against Plato:

Followed Plato's idea of the tripartite self - Reason, spirit, desire.
* Plato = Believed reason could rule the other
* Freud = Reason was the weakest because people are irrational

Against Marx:

* Marx = Believed of the infinite potential of human nature and its ability to develop
* Freud = Rejects this. It's too idealistic

Freudian Personality


1) Id - The animal part of our personality. Sex and aggression are dominating forces
2) Ego - (or our self) The weakest part of the personality. The voice of reason. The ego constantly battles the Id
3) Superego - Internalised rules from our parents and society. Unrealistic standards imposed.

Copying Mechanisms


1) Intoxication
2) Isolation
3) Sublimation (finding socially acceptable releases for anger)

WINOL - Week #4 Thoughts



WINOL - Week 4 Analysis

So week 4 has been and gone and it was easily the most stressful week I've had since we started.

My original plan was to pursue a story about a local war memorial set to be erected at the Peninsula Barracks. The plans for the monument itself hadn't been called off, there was another reason I couldn't carry on with that story. I was unable to follow the story further after I spoke to somebody at the area who informed me the curators of the project were based in Kent. I'm sure I could have organised an interview over the phone, but I wouldn't have been able to get a video interview and therefore it couldn't have been in the bulletin.

I was then given the admittedly not-as-fun task of taking the national story about rising energy bills and presenting the story on a local level. This was certainly easier said than done. At this stage it was Tuesday afternoon and I had no footage, no nothing. I tried to keep a level head about the whole situation and managed to do this in the end, but it was particularly difficult being so close to the deadline and having no content at all.

After pestering and pestering and pestering a certain group I was able to organise an interview on Wednesday morning. The person I interviewed even told me that I was 'only there because of my persistance'. I took this as a good thing as, at the end of the day, I'd managed to nab an interview with about an hour to go until my deadline.

In the newsroom, it was just as stressful. My footage went from OOV to VT, VT to OOV. Back and fourth, back and fourth. Eventually, I found myself as the second story which was admittedly completely unexpected. Considering I had nothing on Tuesday afternoon / evening I thought I'd done well to find a minute of footage from somewhere on Wednesday morning. 

The package itself was far from perfect and I'm fully aware of that. I think it would have worked better as an OOV, perhaps. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford to have another OOV in the bulletin as there were already a couple.

Summary? A Stressful week and a decent package that was thrown together terrifyingly close to the deadline.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

WINOL - Week #3 Thoughts


Winol - Week 3 Analysis

Another week at Winol and things are slowly starting to look better. First of all, I thought the overall bulletin as a whole was our best one so far. It wasn't without its issues, but it was a vast improvement on Week 2.

My video package was decent. Not amazing, really. There are a number of things I thought I did poorly. It was pointed out to me that some of my sequences were quite dull. I think that's a fair criticism. I think my main issue with getting stories is I never collect enough GV's. It's much better to have a large selection of shots to pick and choose from rather than just afew that you have to repeatedly use or slow down to give the viewers something to look at.

I'm going to aim to get alot more GV's to pick and choose from in the future. Another thing I thought was pretty silly was how I ended my package with "Only time will tell..". It seemed unprofessional and it sort of just left the story in the air. It didn't really give the package a solid conclusion. That needs fixing.

I'm still yet to produce something I'm really genuinely pleased with, which is frustrating. I suppose if there's anything positive to take away from my experiences so far is that I'm certainly learning from the mistakes I'm making. I'm starting to get into the swing of things in terms of timing, editing and approaching new stories. Saying that, however, my story balance needs improving.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

WINOL - Week #2 Thoughts


Winol - Week 2 Analysis

So we've just had our second week of WINOL and it certainly wasn't an easy ride.

Obviously, we're still fairly new to the whole procedure, but that's no excuse for not getting the bulletin out on time. On a personal note, I could have done a couple of things better that would not only have helped me out, but also the rest of the team.

Firstly, my drone package. I thought it was a promising piece. There were some nice 'sequences' tucked away in there and some good footage courtesy of the University of Southampton that I was able to use with permission. As was pointed out, however, the fact that I didn't name my interviewee was slightly fishy. It's clearly an issue because it leads people to question where I got the quote from. Obviously, I know the source is genuine, but the audience don't.

I've since spoken to Rachel (The name of the girl I interviewed in the package) and she has given me permission to use her full name. Better late than never, I suppose. I've taken advantage of this and put her full name in my written version of the package. I may re-record the link for the video version of the story so It's safe to upload to YouTube or wherever else.

Secondly, my audio. In terms of levels, it was a big improvement from last time. The volume remained at a steady level and there were no sudden dips in the quality of my voice either. Frustratingly (I'm still kicking myself for this) the audio captured from my Skype interview would not transmit through the sound system in the gallery. It was completely unexpected because the audio was fine during editing and even after being rendered / exported. I checked the package multiple times before handing it over to the production team, and was bloody annoyed when it wouldn't work in the studio.

I still have no idea why this happened so I'll look into it. Strange. My only guesses to potential solutions would be to either render the Skype interview audio separately or alternatively save it in a different format. Either way, it's too late now and that's really disappointing.

Fingers crossed next week runs a little smoother. Although I had issues with my audio, I thought my video was miles better than my first piece for WINOL.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Tabloid Nation - Seminar Paper (October 2011)

Alfred Harmsworth, also known as Lord Northcliffe, was an incredibly influential man in the world of Journalism, demonstrating a vast knowledge of the industry and an ability to write content that would appeal to a mass market. Harmsworth knew what would sell papers and what would get people talking. This, ultimately, was the key to his success.

Harmsworth was the son of an English barrister and was born in 1865 near Dublin. He was particularly close to his mother who he idolised a great deal. The Daily Mirror offices, 'Geraldine House', were named after her.

Academically, Alfred was nothing special. It was not until his first publication 'Answers' that his career in the newspaper industry truly began to gather momentum. Answers to Correspondents on Every Subject Under the Sun, or 'Answers' for short, was his very first magazine.

Published in 188, It was a quirky publication looking at facts and figures from around the world. A year after its arrival, Harmsworth launched a competition which gave readers the chance to win £1 a week for life. To be in with a chance of winning, readers had to guess the value of gold and silver in the Bank of England at the time, which clearly, was near impossible. Nearly 750,000 postcards from hopeful readers were sent in, which proved the competition was a massive success for the paper. Sadly for 'Answers', however, it was decided the following year that prize competitions based merely on readers guessing was illegal.

The magazine was home to some peculiar articles, one of which included: 'Why don't Jews ride bicycles?'. It was this unusual but intriguing formula that slowly began to draw people in. Soon enough, the magazine began to grow. People found offers of free money and the promise of gifts attractive, and 'Answers' reeled in these characters. 


Pictured above: Daily Mail founder Sir Alfred Harmsworth

Harmsworth's first involvement with a national newspaper was for the Daily Mail. It went through several stages of vigorous planning and testing on potential buyers before it was launched in May 1896.

It was decided articles in the paper were not to exceed 250 words. Addressing his staff, Harmsworth explained that State-funded board schools were 'turning out hundreds of thousands of boys and girls annually who [could] read'. He added that such people had no interest in 'the ordinary penny newspaper', instead favouring news that was interesting and 'sufficiently simple'.

The paper did particularly well at its launch, selling almost 400,000 copies on its opening day. Alfred soon became editor-in-chief, working alongside editor Kennedy Jones, who was famous for his writing on the Dreyfus Affair. Jones, also known as 'The Chief', introduced a women's section to the paper, which did so well it led to the arrival of a daily morning paper aimed at women - The Daily Mirror.

The Daily Mirror was struggling for a number of reasons, mainly because not only were there too many people working on the paper, but there were also doubts over the quality of the writing.

It was Hannen Swaffer that made it his job to transform the struggling women's paper into something fresh. Soon the disastrous ladies paper was transformed into a 'picture paper'. Sales shot up to just under 1 million in a few years. Shaffer, although seemingly unapproachable and out-of-control, managed to sway around the office half drunk and still get things done. He was a heavy drinker, a left wing-man supporting the labour party his whole life.

In 1904, Hamilton Fyfe hired Swaffer for the relaunch of the Daily Mirror into the 'Illustrated Daily Mirror'. Circulation shot up after the paper published shots of King Edward VII with his wife and children. From there, the new-look paper continued to sell well, and Fyfe was soon replaced by Alexander Kenealy. Swaffer made it his role to focus on what was written, while Kenealy stuck to finding the best photographs.

Swaffer always had a want and a need to publish the best, most exciting pictures, telling his team without hesitation to get into dangerous situations if it meant grabbing an exciting action shot. The paper struck gold after managing to get pictures of King Edward VII on his deathbed. Naturally, this was massive news. The paper printed a front page photo of the King's head as he lay peacefully. The paper sold out as soon as it went public, and even after special editions had been printed there was still not enough to satisfy demand. It was massive news for the paper, which was then selling a world record of over 2,000,000 copies.

Following the action by the paper, the question was raised as to how the royal family would react to the pictures going public. Amusingly, Swaffer and Kennealy were not phased as a backlash would only make news and therefore improve circulation.

The stress of running such a high demand paper took its toll on the team on more than one occasion. Swaffer's arguments with both Northcliffe and Kenealy became frequent. Following news of the sinking of the Titanic, Swaffer rushed out to buy photos of the ship before news of the disaster became widely known. Swaffer felt that the pictures should be showcased all over the paper, but he was overruled by Northcliffe who felt the photos should be complimented by a written piece.

Swaffer and Northcliffe continued to argue which led to Swaffer sacking himself and joining rival publication, the Daily Sketch. After Northcliffe's death in 1922, Swaffer went on to publish a book explaining how he was not to blame for any of the pairs disagreements. Interestingly, the book featured a conversation with the deceased chief, which was unsurprising as Swaffer had chosen to embrace spiritualism.


Above: An issue of the Daily Sketch, which was founded in Manchester

In 1905 Harmsworth took the title of Baron Northcliffe after donating money and giving his political backing to the Liberal party. At the age of 40, he decided to pursue the world of politics instead of newspapers, yet still saw the advantages in controlling the newspapers from behind the scenes. In the same year, Northcliffe purchased the Sunday Observer. 3 years after that, The Times was also his.

At this point, the Mirror meant little to Northcliffe. He pointed out how it was predominately read by women who couldn't even vote, describing it as 'a good paper for cab drivers'. Northcliffe began to distance himself from the paper on 1910 until 4 years later when he sold the remaining shares to his younger brother, Harold Harmsworth, also known as Lord Rothermere.

Under Rothermere's management, the paper began to crumble. There were issues with budget cuts and editorial interference, and World War I took Rotheremere's attention away from the paper due to his roll as first minister of aircraft. The War was a blessing in disguise for the paper, however, with iconic photographs of the event keeping circulation at a steady pace. Despite a large readership, though, Rotheremere failed to give the paper the attention it needed.

Northcliffe passed away in 1922 following a period of mental deterioration. Leading up to his death, Swaffer was reported to have said: “He was a different man. The fires that burned within him had burned too fiercely all those years. People who knew him knew it was the end.”

Rothermere began to develop extreme right-wing political views, joining Lord Beaverbrook in 1929 to launch the United Party and supporting the cause of extreme fascism in 1931. He described Hitler as a 'perfect gentleman', supporting what he believed was Hitler's desire for 'peace in Europe'. Both the Mail and the Mirror supported the first fascist movement and the Blackshirts until Rotheremere stated in public that he could no longer support a movement centred around dictatorship. However, this was merely an excuse to cover internal issues with advertising revenue.

When Harry Guy Bartholomew took control of the Mirror, circulation was dropping. Rotheremere died in 1940 and at this point, The Daily Mirror had been under the control of Bartholomew for 4 years.Cecil Harmsworth King, Northcliffe's nephew,along with Rothermere, formed an allegiance to become the eventual lords of Fleet Street.

For me, reading about the rise and fall of Northcliffe's empire was particularly interesting. I can't imagine how much pressure must be associated with running a newspaper, keeping things fresh for newcomers and also maintaining the interest of existing readers. Tabloid Nation is a window into the cutthroat world of running a newspaper behind the scenes and the ongoing struggle to be the best.

Friday, 30 September 2011

WINOL - 'Dummy Week' Thoughts

Winol - Week 1 Analysis

So earlier this week I got my first taste of the WINOL experience. It was an interesting experience all around, really. I knew the role of reporter would be tough, but you don't really get a sense of the pace and stress of the job until you actually start giving it a go.

I think overall the package I produced was OK. Not awful, but by no means brilliant. By far, the best thing about the dummy week was the fact that it pointed out the mistakes and flaws in what I had produced. Disappointingly, the majority of my footage was either too bright or too dark. The opening shot was well lit, but from there it seemed to get slightly shaky.

My interview was OK, I feel. Councillor Lucille Thompson was very knowledgeable with regards to what I needed answering and the framing of the shot was fairly good. The lighting wasn't that bad in that shot, either. At the start of the interview the microphone was in view slightly, so that needed fixing. I'll bare that in mind next time I'm conducting an interview. Obviously, you can slightly zoom into the image using Final Cut, but I think the quality of the image dips slightly when you tamper with it like that. I'd rather not have to tamper with zoom functions at all.

Another BIG problem I had was audio. The audio was captured correctly, but I hadn't adjusted the audio levels so they remained consistent throughout the piece. What I ended up with was a clearly delivered opening and a very quiet, muffled ending.

For my next story I intend to get more shots without me in front of the camera. That way it'll be easier to transition between shots smoothly and give the package a more professional feel. I like the idea of being able to pick and choose from a big selection of shots. That wasn't really the case this time around.

The talk we had after the WINOL broadcast was useful too. I jotted down some tips that will help me improve in the future:

* Don't start with a piece to camera
* Don't say: "I talked to.."
* Up the quality
* WHITE BALANCE!
* Use a range of shots
* Never use a grab from an interview more than 12 seconds long
* Keep audio levels consistent
* No 'mediocre' shots
* Get other people to read quotes

My first piece was far from perfect, but I intend to fix all the problems I encountered in the next piece I produce.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Facebook F8 Conference 2011 - As It Happened

Today Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed  fellow engineers and social media entrepreneurs at the F8 conference, discussing the latest features to hit his website. Held in San Francisco, F8 is an event that gives the team behind Facebook a chance to explain the changes that are on the way in great detail.

There was an abundance of news and features announced today. let's start with 'Open Graph', a term that I heard over and over again as I watched today's live stream. Essentially, Open Graph enables application developers to integrate web pages into a social environment. Ultimately, this means developers can allow Facebook users access to their websites without the users having to leave Facebook at all. Of course, Open Graph is far more complex than this, but this is merely an introduction to what the technology can achieve.


Open Graph appeared incredibly versatile in the tech demo shown this afternoon. "Every piece of content in Open Graph has a picture associated", said Zuckerberg. This means that the feature can provide you with a greater insight as to what your friends are doing. The Facebook founder used the example of 'Words With Friends', a popular online game. Zuckerberg was able to see his friends playing the game together in real time via updates delivered to the 'ticker' on the profile page, all thanks to Open Graph.

Clearly, Facebook is to undergo a complete facelift. The profile page alone is to experience a redesign, along with the iconic 'ticker' (A real time update feed at the right hand side of a Facebook user's profile page)

Perhaps the star of the show was the new 'Timeline' feature. As the large projector screen at the convention centre showed, Timeline gives users a more personal news feed than ever before. There's now even more ways to interact with your Facebook friends. It has also been confirmed that Timeline will be fully supported on handheld devices. Timeline lets you share information about films, television, books, people, music, events and more. As Zuckerberg put it, Timeline is 'The story of your life with a completely new way to express yourself'.

Netflix CEO Reed Hasting's took to the stage to briefly discuss the new NetFlix app. Netflix, founded in 1997, is an American provider of online streaming media. Hasting's explained how the NetFlix app will be integrated into Timeline and Open Graph yet was reluctant to disappoint the crowd after revealing the feature will not be available in the US at launch. Primarily, this is due to 'a law (The Video Privacy Protection Act) banning the sharing of video rental information'.

Personally, I feel the Spotify application will be a real crowd-pleaser when it arrives along with the newly polished Facebook. When you're listening to a song through the Spotify client a person on your friends list can also join you as you listen to your music, all in real time. As a side note, I imagine this has really gotten the team behind iTunes worried. It'll be interesting to see how Facebook's new Spotify feature and iTunes compete with each other as the Spotify application gathers momentum.


Zuckerberg also addressed the world of Facebook gaming. "Games have been the most successful [applications] on Facebook and we think Open Graph will take them to the next level by allowing you to discover even more of them." Presented to the audience was a graphic showcasing a number of games developers thought to be developing new applications for the website. The list included a number of notable publishers including the likes of EA and Playfish.

'Lifestyle Apps' were also discussed, with a quick glimpse of a Nike application that lets you track routes you run and the time in which it took to complete the run. Now combined with Open Graph and the Timeline, the application allows your friends to see when and where you have run recently. Facebook's motto behind the Open Graph feature is a simple one: "Frictionless experiences, real time serendipity".

This year's F8 conference ended with some important dates. Zuckerberg announced that the Timeline feature is now available for developers, yet public Facebook members must apply to test it out. The beta starts today, with Zuckerberg announcing soon after that the Open Graph feature will be available once users have had time to learn their way around the new Timeline feature.

It was an action-packed F8 this year with lots of interesting discussion points. How will Facebook users cope with the changes made to the website they've already learnt to navigate? Perhaps the beta period will go some way to answering this question.

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