5 05 2010

We started with a question regarding Cameron’s impression of Clegg. Hague was quick to claim victory for the Tories and slag Brown about his lack of agreeing with Nick. Campbell loved having his boss in the limelight and spoke of how the media have ignored him but all the Lib Dems knew he was great for years. Ann Leslie, even though she is a Tory voter, did stick the boot into Cameron and had a bit of a go at Clegg for being a bit of a nobody then praised Brown for managing to remain standing. The Welsh lad said they were all just the same person, agreeing about pensions, the Pope’s visit, Afghanistan and the expenses scandal. Yvette cooper took on a strong pro-Europe stance, funny that it was Cameron’s weak point.

Anyhow a question was asked by a gentleman called Otto who I had got talking to outside and I knew what he was going to ask, I was determined to be heard. “Following the stories of donations going straight into Nick Clegg’s bank accounts, are the Lib Dems really any different to any of the other parties?”

This gave Hague another chance to go for the jugular, claiming Clegg had no right to carry on his holier than thou attitude. Campbell defended it (weakly) saying the donor hadn’t been given a peerage, but the money is now spent and that Clegg did give copies of his accounts to the House of Commons authorities.

Look at the screen while this point is been made and you see me, hand aloft itching to get stuck in. Then at 24mins and 55secs in my big television debut. I decide to compliment Gordon Brown on his performance in the debate before asking why he talks about cleaning up politics while still putting up candidates who were caught up in the expenses scandal.

Yvette Cooper was given the opportunity to reply and I was so excited about having just been on telly I forgot to listen. When she finished talking there was a round of applause which, instinctively, I joined in on. Having since watched it back I realise she just avoided my question and I should have really stood up and shouted at her.

The next topic was: Will a hung parliament be damaging to the UK? Campbell straight off with a no and saying Ken Clarke shouldn’t be saying such. Hague tried to counter this but Campbell kicked his arse. He did raise a couple of sniggers but his judo skills didn’t help in this verbal affray.

A great comment from the audience followed when discussing economic recovery that taking money from small business’ and giving it to the state was such a waste we may as well burn it (how dare this man try to upstage me on my big night).

Leslie was complaining that her vote didn’t count where she lived because it was such a strong Labour seat; Sir Menzies was quick to point out that if it wasn’t a first past the post system this wouldn’t happen. Cooper very nearly stumbled but caught herself in time before uttering when Gordon was elected Prime Minister (that never happened Yvette hee hee).

So who won well in this order:

1-Sir Menzies Campbell

2-That fellow from Wales

3-Hague and Cooper drawing

5-The frightful right-wing hack.



3 05 2010

My overall group blog experience was a good one; this is mostly down to the fact I had the privilege of working with a motivated intelligent group of people. We limited our number to four and although there were requests to join our blog such instances were swiftly dealt with.

My job was editor and chief and then we had a production editor, a social media person and a blog page enforcer. I don’t wish to upset anybody so I shall refer to these people as Mark, Victoria and Sophia.

My task was to inspire my people to write, there would be no problem here as everyone was brimming with ideas. Mark was asked to work out a time table to make sure posts were going up every day; I don’t think he needed to worry too much on that front. Vicky got us a page on Facebook which at its peak had 61 members and, director of decorations, Sophia spent an entire day in her back garden in the sunshine setting up the page.

I’m very proud to say that a number of other blog groups told me that they thought theirs and ours was the best. The page did look wonderful and everyone was brimming with ideas. By the end of the week my most difficult task had been to decide if I should allow a couple of little swear words slip through. I love swearing and I’m very good at it but I never like to see it in print. In my capacity as the leader I chose to let the swearing go, it wasn’t gratuitous and added a certain passion/humour where it was used.

As well as my posts, which I always tried to keep to the 300 word mark, I stuck up a few cartoons and after a while began crediting them (don’t want to get sued and lose my student loan). After having it explained to me 400 times I also learned what the difference between categories and tags is, I think.

Editing posts was my other task, luckily my team were mature enough to be open minded and listen to ideas. This was very much a two way thing and our final post on Camilla Chafer was written and re-edited by all of us.

An enjoyable experience and if I was required to do another group exercise I would imagine we’d get the old team back together.


3 05 2010

I joined Facebook, set up Google news and reader, hell I even started a blog (you’re reading it) but Jim has pushed us to the limit this time and insist his minions all sign up for Twatter, sorry Twitter.

I put a post up on FB to inform people I had a Twitter account and within hours three people had responded. I elected to follow all three and one of them was an avid tweeter. now any-time I blow the dust off my Twitter account I have a ready update off where he’s drinking coffee, what shop he might buy a shirt in, who he may meet for a pint later and on and on and on.

Sometimes I’ll get an email to inform me that a complete stranger is following me on Twitter so I pop on the site, have a look and usually tweet something about how I feel Twitter is an awful waste of life.

When we set up our account in class initially I followed BBC and Sky Sports News and the usual suspects but the big boys flood Twitter with updates and take over your homepage. This meant a more tactful approach and I selected various journalists to follow instead.

I know Sky News have a full-time Twitter correspondent which must be a frightening prospect every morning on the way to work. “Dear God I have to spend another day sifting through mountains of horse shit just in case one of these needy people happen to be near anything newsworthy.” The best example of this is the plane that flopped down in the Hudson river and all the big media companies got their images from Twitter.

But I’ve decided tweeting is not for me, I’m going to go to my Twitter account now and make that public knowledge.


25 04 2010

So today we’ll have a quick look at video links on media websites and we shall begin with a little peek at how they do it over the pond.

With the video link on the top of the home page The New York Times make it very easy to access their online videos. When you get there the page looks very professional and it is a navigating treat, with the main sections listed down the left, pick one and then a large number of videos appear for that link.

Plenty of choice for categories, you want technology? No problem. Science? Health? Style? Interviews? That’s a little taste of the 23 main options available.

Click on sport and there are 115 separate videos, environment 94, travel 90. These can then be broken into smaller categories, business breaks down into: Dealbook, CNBC, Green Inc and Your Money. Arts: Music, Movies, Urban Eye etc. It is clear that the NYT take this part of their web operation very seriously.

Comparing it to The Times in the UK where if you click on their sport link there is a choice of 8 videos, there’s no need for a sub-section as all the videos are there in front of you. I’m sure there’s more on offer but I just can’t see a link with ‘MORE’ on it. Click latest video and of the eight on display six are on the same topic. Two even use the same thumbnail.

If the Times in the UK dedicated the effort their namesake in New York did it would be marvellous because all those sport videos would be about football instead of baseball.



24 04 2010

In my capacity as your guide through the madness that is the election campaign I put myself on the front line for you all, jumped on the grenade by agreeing to be in the same room as William Hague, and attended Question Time in Greenwich.

QT Sudio

I was required to get there at 18:00 to watch the leaders debate before hand, this didn’t start until 20:00 so I stuffed myself with BBC cheese and pickle sandwiches for two hours. Then into the studio with approx 150-200 others to watch round 2 of the debates on Sky.

The biggest laugh of the evening from the crowd went to David Cameron’s outstanding impression of Nick Clegg (Rory Bremner recently complained about how difficult it was to do an impression of Clegg, maybe he should go round to Tory HQ for lessons). Brown got a great dig in early comparing the other two to his children arguing at bath time. Cameron then got beaten up by Clegg on the question of Europe; he couldn’t defend accusations that he was siding with the far right parties in Brussels. He did have his moment to shine when he accused Brown and Labour of lying in their election leaflets when claiming the Tories were going to make basic cuts to the NHS.  The last laugh of the evening went to Clegg, when discussing deporting illegal immigrants he said the government can’t deport them if they don’t know where they come from.


Happily I was spared the usual nonsense of all the parties claiming they won the debate, I had to rehearse for my appearance on national television. And that’s what we did for the next hour and a half. Mock panelists asked mock questions by an audience getting all giddy at the thought of being on television.

Then the man himself appeared, David Dimbelby, he took a quick audience poll to see who won the debate and the majority went with Clegg. Sir Menzies Campbell could be spotted in the wings giving a thumbs up, to join him on the panel were Yvette Cooper, the work and pension secretary, Elfyn Llwyd, Welsh fellow if you hadn’t guessed already, leader of Plaid Cymru, Dame Ann Leslie, former journalist for The Daily Mail and William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, who is surprisingly tall and, as we were to learn before going on air, practices judo.

Then it was lights, camera……

images from:…/qt.jpg…

A Bit of Real Journalism

21 04 2010