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, 27 April 2011

William Cobbett and Rural Rides - Seminar Summary

In our latest seminar we took a look at William Cobbett, a rather miserable, moany radical. It's worth taking a quick look at Cobbett's life in the form of a timeline to help understand why he developed the views he did and what actions he took to uphold these beliefs.

Cobbett was born in 1763 in Farnham, Surrey. He grew up in the countryside. It's likely his place of upbringing led to his love for nature. I remember studying John Clare in the past and him and Cobbett are similar in terms of their views towards the negative impact industrialisation can have on the country. Anyway, that's a tangent.

In 1792 he wrote an article in the 'Porcupine Gazette' which was an attack on pro-French Revolution ideals of 'Rights of Man' author, Tom Paine. Unfortunately for Cobbett as a result of what he wrote he was financially ruined when heavy libel damages were put against him.

In 1799 he returned to England (from France) and started his own newspaper, the Political Register. At first he supported the Tories but gradually became more radical.

In 1815 newspaper taxes meant a drop in sales for Cobbett's Political Register. He decided to publish his work in the form of a pamphlet instead. It was mainly read by the working class which, in the governments eyes, made him a dangerous man. He fled to the U.S.A after hearing the government planned to have him arrested for sedition (which essentially means resisting lawful authority)

In 1830 Rural Rides was published, which is a record of British town and country life in the early 19th Century. It takes the viewpoint of a social reformer / farmer. His travels in the book allowed him to see the effect industrialisation was having on Britain's countryside. Cobbett was distrustful of the governments description of the state of agriculture, so decided to see it for himself.

In 1831, Cobbett was charged after writing an article in support of the Captain Swing Riots and died 4 years later of Influenza.

Within Rural Rides, Cobbett explores themes such as estate ownership, corn laws, taxes, parliament and the Enclosure Policy. Lets take a quick look at the Corn Laws. Cobbett was heavily against these laws, which were in fact designed to protect corn prices. The Law was introduced in 1804 and saw duties being imposed on imported corn. While the law ultimately helped to protect British farming from foreign competition, it caused distress to the poor as bread prices rose as a result.


At the time of Rural Rides, there was an influx of people moving to the city in the search for work. Returning soldiers from the Napoleonic war found no work in the countryside.

Cobbett was a radical through and through, meaning he strived for complete political / social reform. He realised agriculture was declining and so used Journalism to spread a message. If you take a look at Rural Rides you'll see a lot of the time Cobbett will address local townsfolk and discuss land ownership and local government. It seems to me like Cobbett was travelling the country and trying to help encourage improved rights for farmers and labourers. At the time of writing, the Enclosure Policy was another problem for farmers, who were forced away from the country and into the city as a result of its arrival.

Cobbett's views on land ownership are somewhat similar to Rousseau's theory of the state of nature. However, whereas I think Rousseau would be against land ownership and human intervention of any kind (a typically romantic idea) Cobbett would perhaps not be opposed to local farmers owning the land. For Cobbett, the problem is industrialisation and mechanisation.

Cobbett's aim of his travels, in his words, were "to see the country, to see the farmers at home, and to see labourers in the fields." As I said earlier, Cobbett's journey gave him a first hand look at the state of British agriculture its relationship with land ownership.

Being a radical, it's not surprising some of Cobbett's views are delivered in such a blunt fashion. I quite like this approach though; it's refreshing. He says, for example, that Middlesex is 'ugly' because it's 'dirty' and 'full of shabby dwellings of labouring people'. He also mentions Surrey, saying: "It has some of the very best and some of the worst lands, not only in England, but the world." Cobbett also explains his issue with estate ownership, saying: "Because of fraudulent paper-money, loan-jobbers, stock-jobbers and Jews have got the estates in their hands." Cobbett argues it is the 'system' that is taking estates away from landlords and giving them to 'people of dead weight'.

It was interesting to read what Cobbett got up to when he headed to Winchester. It turns out he went to a local inn and made a moany speech about how taxes were sucking the life out of the farming industry. Interestingly, the 'manifesto concerning the poor' had been recently issued when Cobbett visited. During his speech at Winchester, Cobbett says: "I mean to speak of all that mass of wealth which is vulgarly called church property, but which is, in fact, public property". He also goes on to add: "It is the taxes that are taking away the rent of the landlord and the capital of the farmer". The Parsons were afraid to see tax reduced because it would mean that their 'interest of debt' couldn't be paid. Cobbett adds: "They wish the taxes to be kept up and rents to be paid too".

A modern day take on Cobbett's Rural Ride. It's taken the internet by storm, generating 51 views in 4 years.

I liked reading Rural Rides because Cobbett's constant winges and satirical personal judgements of both the towns he visited and the folk within them were quite amusing to me. I think the fact he was a radical helped shape his extreme opinions and therefore this lead to an enjoyable read. I think Cobbett would make a good stand-up comedian, actually. I'd like to see him do a set on 'people of dead weight' and 'tax gatherers' at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Break Post Summary

Here's a quick list I've decided to throw together of all the posts I put up over the Easter Break. There's some nice variety there!

15.04.11 - Nintendo Goes HD? - "According to Game Informer, 'multiple sources' have confirmed that gaming giant Nintendo will be unveiling a successor to the massively popular Wii console"

16.04.11 - Could New Super Glasses Save Brazilian Police?- "Thanks to the arrival of new 'Robo-cop style' glasses with scanning capabilities, Police forces may be able to identify criminals quicker than ever before."

17.04.11 - #TwitterJokeTrial - Comedians Join Forces for Paul Chambers -"Chambers was found guilty under the Terrorism Act of sending a menacing communication via Twitter, stating he was going to 'blow up' an airport after hearing his flight had been cancelled due to poor weather conditions."

19.04.11 - iPhone 5 Rumours Surface Once More - Can They Be Trusted? - "As if talk of the eventual release of the white iPhone 4 wasn't enough for Apple fans, a steady flow of iPhone 5 rumours have been hitting the web recently too. Some are believable. Some, in my opinion, aren't."

19.04.11 - YouWed - YouTube Streams Royal Wedding Live - "Unsurprisingly, YouTube has confirmed it will be live streaming the royal wedding when it takes place on April 29th"

20.04.11 - Sony PSP Go Dead Already? - "It's only been 2 years or so and already evidence is suggesting that production of the electronic giants latest handheld is stopping"

20.04.11 - UPDATE - PSP GO Production Ceases, Says Sony - "It has now been confirmed by Sony Computer Entainment that production of the portable gaming system has been stopped for good."

22.04.11 - New York Times in Paywall Breakthrough - "Opinion was split when the New York Times first announced its plans to charge for a digital copy of the publication, yet sceptics have been silenced after news the publisher has sold over 100,000 subscription within 3 weeks of its launch."

22.04.11 - Apple in Phone Tracking Controversy - "Security researchers have discovered a hidden feature within the iPhone that shows the gadget keeps track of users' movements, saving geographical details to a secret file on the device"

Friday, 22 April 2011

Apple in Phone Tracking Controversy

Security researchers have discovered a hidden feature within the iPhone that shows the gadget keeps track of users' movements, saving geographical details to a secret file on the device.

The file in question, which is named 'consolidated.db', has sparked controversy across the web. Apple are yet to respond to accusations that the data breaks privacy policy.

It's believed that the sneaky feature has been a part of Apple's product since iOS 4.0, which was published in June 2010. This means that some phones could potentially contain almost a year's worth of data plotting customers positions.

Pictured above: an example of how the data plotted by the phone is displayed visually

Billy Hawkes, Data Protection Commissioner, demands an excuse from Apple for having a feature that logs positioning without alerting phone users. Another popular Apple product, the iPad, is also a victim of the undercover file.

Two British programmers, Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, have set up a web page that offers a free downloadable application that lets users see what location data their phone is holding. Allan (who is also a former Apple employee) suggests encrypting your iPhone backups via a change of settings within iTunes. Worryingly, anyone who can access your iPhone or iPad can access this geographical information as the files are not password-protected in any form.

Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, also questions Apple's actions. He said: "The ability to extract information from a wide number of iPhone users is especially disturbing given that the government maintains databases of information on activists under the guise of tracking prospective domestic terrorists."

For now, Apple remains silent on the matter. I'll keep updating the blog as the situation develops.

New York Times in Paywall Breakthrough

Opinion was split when the New York Times first announced its plans to charge for a digital copy of the publication, yet sceptics have been silenced after news the publisher has sold over 100,000 subscription within 3 weeks of its launch.

Original reports claimed the Times spent $40 million to construct the paywall, however the companies chairman, Arthur Sulzberger, told the media this was not true and the system in fact cost 'much less' to implement.

The Times paywall has been given mixed reviews, but it's still early days

Responding to criticism that the service is slightly complicated, Sulzberger stated: "I don't agree that it's too complex. It's new. Let it breathe for a bit before you make judgment."

Admittedly, the paywall is still within its early stages. It'll be interesting to see how subscription numbers change as the paywall system becomes more established. Subscriptions to the online service vary from $15-$35, with different plans offering consumers different levels of access to the site.

As a side note, I wrote an article a while back looking at the paywall in further detail. You can have a look at that post by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

UPDATE - PSP Go Production Ceases, Says Sony

A couple of hours ago I posted an article that questioned the future of Sony's handheld gadget, the PSP Go.

It has now been confirmed by Sony Computer Entainment that production of the portable gaming system has been stopped for good.

In an interview with a Japanese website named 'Impress', a Sony spokesman confirmed that any units still in warehouses will still be distributed with retailers.

Not surprising news for me. 

Read my original article HERE

Sony PSP Go Dead Already?

It's only been 2 years or so and already evidence is suggesting that production of the electronic giants latest handheld is stopping.

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEP) has confirmed it will be ceasing production of the Sony PSP Go as the company places its full attention on the arrival of the 'Next Generation Portable' (Sony are referring to it as the 'NGP') product. The company has planned an end of the year release for the next gadget, sources claim. As a side note, it's likely we'll receive some more news on this new handheld at this years E3 conference. If you're not fully aware of what E3 is, take a quick look at a post I wrote HERE.

Will Sony's 'NGP' (pictured above) accomplish what the PSP Go could not?

The remaining units of the Go are expected to be distributed through retailers until the stock is exhausted. At this stage, Sony says, customer support for the product will continue yet these stocks will not be replenished.

Launched in January 2009, the PSP Go suffered poor sales statistics from the offset. It's likely the hefty price tag (the product retailed at around £220) put people off as other handhelds on the market offered similar features for a more affordable price. It seems consumers weren't willing to spend an amount of money on a handheld that wasn't much less than that of Sony's flagship console, the Playstation 3.

It's worth noting that Sony Computer Entertainment are yet to officially confirm these rumours of the PSP Go's production halt, yet a source from gaming site 'VG247' claims a message displayed on the company's Japanese homepage read "shipment ended".

In my view, I can't see the Go making a big comeback. It seems to me like Sony's experimental handheld proved to be just that - an experiment. I'm assuming they'll realise what made the PSP Go a market flop and keep that in mind when releasing the NGP. It's not all doom and gloom, though. Many of the features Sony implemented into the Go made it into their new phone, the 'Xperia Play'. They'll be pleased to know sales for that product are looking healthy!

UPDATE - It has now been confirmed by Sony Computer Entainment that production of the portable gaming system has been stopped for good. Read my follow-up post HERE

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

YouWed – YouTube Streams Royal Wedding Live

Unsurprisingly, YouTube has confirmed it will be live streaming the royal wedding when it takes place on April 29th.

This isn't the first time the online video-sharing site has streamed world news live. I remember watching the recent events in Egypt via Al Jazeera's integrated live stream on their YouTube channel page.

A screenshot of the royal family YouTube page

The wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton will be available to access via the official channel of the British Royal Family. For some reason, the thought of the royal family having their own YouTube channel makes me smile. Are we going to get some hilarious home videos too? Prince William slipping on a banana peel? Maybe not.

A Google spokesman stated: “We're thrilled that the Royal Household has just announced that footage of the entire ceremony will be live-streamed on their official YouTube channel”.

Streaming of the event will begin at 9am GMT April morning and will also feature commentary and “insights into the occasion”, which will be offered throughout the broadcast. The live video feed will also be accompanied by additional photos, Twitter updates and a historical background to the event.

The broadcast can be accessed at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel

iPhone 5 Rumours Surface Once More - Can They Be Trusted? [Gadget News]

As if talk of the eventual release of the white iPhone 4 wasn't enough for Apple fans, a steady flow of iPhone 5 rumours have been hitting the web recently too. Some are believable. Some, in my opinion, aren't. Talk of a 3D screen, for example? Not likely at all in my opinion. Apple are always trying to boast about their impressive 'retina display' for the iPhone (which is still considered fairly new tech in Apple's line-up) so why get rid of it already? Having said that, I'll look like an idiot if the iPhone 5 ships with 3D enabled now, wont I?

According to the Wall Street Journal, its 'in-the-know' (their words, not mine!) contact believes the new member of the iPhone family will adopt a new design in an attempt to address issues that many customers had with the iPhone 4's antenna. It's worth reminding ourselves that many users were having signal difficulties which turned out to be caused by the phone's outer stainless steel shell. It's almost certain the iPhone 5 will address this issue.

What will the new product look like? Opinions remain mixed across the web

In an interesting interview by the Wall Street Journal with Sony CEO Howard Stringer, it was revealed that the company that manufactures Apple's iPhone cameras was badly affected by the recent tsunami in Japan. Stringer stated that it may be left up to Sony to pick up the work of OmniVision, the company hit by the natural disaster. Could this mean Sony have a hand in the integrated camera for the iPhone 5? Potentially, yes. Many sources claim that the product will feature an 8-megapixel camera, which would be a vast improvement to the previous iPhone's 4-megapixel snapper.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concorde Securities (who has correctly predicted Apple's releases in the past) states that the iPhone 5 will feature "slight modifications" from its predecessor, also predicting production to begin around September. It's also thought the product will run off of the A5 processor, the same engine that powered the iPad. If this is the case, we can expect a much smoother, faster experience than that offered by the iPhone 4, which runs off a different, less powerful chip.

For now, there's alot of 'maybes', but that's rumours for you.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

#TwitterJokeTrial - Comedians Join Forces for Paul Chambers

Remember hearing about the case of Paul Chambers and his controversial 'tweet' around May last year? If not, lets briefly remind ourselves of what happened.

Chambers was found guilty under the Terrorism Act of sending a menacing communication via Twitter, stating he was going to 'blow up' an airport after hearing his flight had been cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Paul's original tweet said: 

"Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, or I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" 

The ranters tweet about Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, meant he was required to pay a fine of £385 and £600 costs after being found guilty in a magistrates court. As the 27-year-old accountant continued to fight his corner, he racked up over £2,000 in legal costs.

 Stephen Fry has over 2.4 million followers on Twitter

Stephen Fry, an individual who has confessed his love for the social networking site many times in the past, was said to be 'outraged' by the conviction. Chambers had stated clearly his post was meant in a light-hearted manner, yet this wasn't a good enough excuse in the eyes of the law.

In an attempt to raise money for Mr Chamber's appeal fees, Fry himself and several other high-profile comedians came together to perform an exclusive gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 15th April. Among those taking part were Graham Linehan ('Father Ted' writer), Katy Brand and popular entertainer Al Murray. Fry took to the stage and made his views clear, saying: "This (verdict) must not be allowed to stand in law."

It doesn't end there though. Fry went on to add he would be 'prepared to go to prison' to support Mr Chambers, even showing a willingness to republish the original joke and face court himself if needed. Members of the public have also shown their anger at the outcome of the case, re posting Mr Chamber's original 'tweet' onto their own profile pages in protest.

Clearly, there's an underlying theme of oppression here. On a personal note, I think Graham Linehan summed up the importance of protecting Twitter and freedom of speech online beautifully when he said: "We've got this incredible tool and we should fight any attempt to take it out of our hands."

It is likely Chamber's appeal will go before the High Court later this year.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Could New 'Super Glasses' Save Brazilian Police?

With the 2014 World Cup on the horizon, the development of improved security methods for Brazilian officials is at the top of the agenda. Thanks to the arrival of new 'Robo-cop style' glasses with scanning capabilities, Police forces may be able to identify criminals quicker than ever before. Reports state the fitted camera is able to analyze 46,000 biometric points on up to 400 faces per second, which could prove vital in the fight against crime.


Major Leandro Pavani Agostini, of Sao Paulo's Military Police, pointed out one of the reasons why the technology may prove to be so key in the apprehension of criminals, saying: "It's something discreet because you do not question the person or ask for documents. The computer does it."

"I can insert into the database a supporter who was involved in a brawl on the field and even with the old images, he can be located in the future," he added. 

The glasses can supposedly be used from a great distance. Statistics released to the media show that the glasses have a zoom function, meaning they can pinpoint an individual from up to 12 miles away. Police state the primary goal of the technology is to help scan faces in large crowds from a closer distance of approximately 50 metres.

There are still many unanswered questions associated with the glasses facial recognition ability. A user on Engadget had an interesting point with regards to face paint, writing: "For a criminal it would be enough just to paint his face like the rest of 10,000+ fans".

Will this technology prove itself during the events set for 2014? It will be interesting to see how the technology develops and whether it will be as effective as the Police force say.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Nintendo Goes HD?

Earlier today I was having a look through Twitter and found that this post by E3 caught my eye.


For those who are unaware, E3 (otherwise known as the 'Electronic Entertainment Expo') is the name of a conference that is held yearly in Los Angeles that takes a look at the gaming industry's up-and-coming projects. For tech nerds like me, it's fairly exciting stuff. The E3 experience sees developers, buyers, distributors and industry representatives (all the console companies have their own conference which is streamed live across the Internet and through various gadget and gaming networks) come together to reveal the latest in electronic media.

E3 was originally an open event, however since 2007 the convention has become more exclusive, only allowing those with a direct link to the industry (for example, journalists) access to the presentations. Over 80,000 people attended the original show, making it one of the largest trade show launches in history.

Now this brings me to the post E3 featured on their page. According to Game Informer, 'multiple sources' have confirmed that gaming giant Nintendo will be unveiling a successor to the massively popular Wii console. Admittedly, the Wii was marketed towards the more casual gamer, but to deny it of its success would be a mistake. Figures state that as of December 2010 Nintendo had sold over 84 million units, which towers over the figures of the Xbox (Approx. 50 million as of January 2011) and the Playstation 3 (Approx. 47.9 million as of December 2010)


At this time there are conflicting reports over the graphical power of the supposed 'Wii HD', although Game Informer has stated that its sources have revealed the console will be capable of high definition output far superior to the 1st-gen Wii, which has now been on sale since 2006. At this time, features associated with online connectivity are unknown, as are details relating to how the system will be controlled. Recent news that Nintendo could potentially be dropping the current price of the Wii could also suggest there's a new system on the horizon. Are Nintendo trying to ship more Wii's to make way for its new HD brother? We'll see.

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