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Sunday, 12 December 2010

Code of Conduct

Thier are 4 different Codes of Conduct for Journalism:-

NUJ(National Union of Journalist). This Code of Conduct is a very good one to follow as it is constructed by the journalists themselves, and therefore you can be sure they are fair and reasonable to follow.

PCC(Press Complaints Comission) - This Code of Conduct is more stacked against you, and is seen as an 'Editors Code Of Conduct'.

BBC - The BBC have thier own Code of Conduct for people that are employed by them and are named 'guidelines. They are available to view online here.

Ofcom- This Code of Conduct is generally more specific to commercial television(also covering factual programming and news) with guidlines aimed towards advertising, watershed and glamorising crime.

Another rule that needs to be followed throughout Journalism is balance. This is required particularly for the BBC, but involving all tv stations when politics is involved. You are required to remain un-bias, but can restore yourt channels balance overtime if preferred and done effectively.
Newspapers and online are different, and can be as bias as they wish. You can see this with many newspapers such as The Sun with over the top headlines which make it very clear what partytey upport aswell as views on similar topics.

NUJ Code of Conduct
  • You must obey the code.
  • Eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship
  • Let a certain authority edit it(eg - editor, police officer etc0 label as advatorial.
  • Seperate comment from fact
  • Don't cast comment as fact.
  • Rectify any harmful innacuracies promptly
  • Obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straightforward means.
  • 'Death knock' - taking photographs at funerals - don't do it without permission
  • Protect confidential sources of information
  • Shall not accept bribes, or allow inducements to influence the performance of professional duties.
  • Shall not mention age, race, colour, illegimacy, marital status, gender or sexual orientation unless this information is strictly relevant.
  • Avoid Juxtaposition(libel) - horrid story with juxtaposed picture beside it(innocent person)

Public Interest
Reporting a threat to safety of committe
Health Issues
Exposing crime, corruption and justice.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Jonathon Swift and Adam Smith

A Modest Proposal

In 1729, when Ireland was in very big financial trouble, satirist, Jonathon Swift decided to publish 'A Modest Proposal'. This was a satirical piece of writing which suggested eating your children, or selling them to the rich as a food.

He pointed out that up to 1 year of age, a child can survive on nothing but the mothers milk, and therefore not needing to cost the family any money during that time. He suggests they turn 1 year old, they are then killed and used for feeding and cloathing. The Cloathing items that Swift suggests includes boots for geneltemen and bags for ladies.

  • He stated that this process prevented(ironically) voluntary abortions and prevents murder of bastard children.
  • It also halts the over-pupulated problem that Ireland has.
  • Swift argues that it would be more humane to kill the child while they still have minimal awareness and thoughts than to let them suffer a slow death of starvation because of thier poor family being unable to supply food.

This idea is very humourous, and i can just imagine people at the time reading this piece and believing it to be true. The word 'modest' in the title is satircal itself as it couldn't be further from the truth.

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith was a philosopher and very enthusiastic about political economics. He wrote The Wealth of Nations which explained why certain countries are richer than others.

In this publication Smith used the term 'the invisible hand'

Sunday, 5 December 2010

News Agenda - Sunshine Radio

Sunrise Radio is one of the most popular and successful independent radio stations in the UK reaching around 2 million listeners monthly. Its target audience is the Asian Community, and they project towards a young audience with the content they include such as the contemporary music and brief news coverage throughout the day. As a radio station they feel they are ‘in touch with customers on a personal level’. This claim shows their confidence that they know who their audience is and what they want, this makes their radio station a very powerful tool, particularly for advertisers.

They appeal mainly to C2DEs whilst the AB’s are likely to listen to a radio station targeted more to their taste (such as Radio 4). The adverts reflect this demographic, promoting household items such as sofa’s, as well as offers for family cars and holidays. The cars include Fiat 500 and Audi A1 which range from 10-13 thousand pounds which could be considered just over the average price of a family car. They also occasionally advertise with a targeted area in the country such as promoting events taking place in certain towns and counties. They also promote property availability in places such as London. Also, the Asian specific audience enables advertisers to precisely reach their customers. Advertisements include flights to Thailand, and Asian events around the country. They appeal to advertisers through their boast of credibility as a successful UK brand and describe themselves as the ‘most powerful cost effective Asian media network in the UK’.

The target audience also has influence on the news broadcast. Sunrise radio frequently broadcasts information on Bollywood and general news that usual has a connection to the Asian community. The detail of the news appears to increase as the day progresses, with later programmes providing more detailed accounts of events that were only briefly covered earlier in the day. They mainly cover national news, but will also include news considered more important for the Asian community such as a Sikh Gurdwara being built. They also refer to the latest Asian flight news regularly after the news and weather, such as delays and flight times. This could suggest that part of their audience is constantly moving in and out of Asia and UK, perhaps on business. Sunrise claims to be 50% news and discussions, however they don’t add too much to their news reporting. They don’t use music, relying only on the presenter’s voice. It appears that they feel their audience prefer the music on the shows than the news reporting. The news reporting usually last 5 minutes and the sports coverage is kept brief and refers mainly to national teams which include both England and areas such as Pakistan. They also keep interview clips very brief. However, as it is a 24 hour radio station, it means the news is constantly developed and relevant.

Monday, 29 November 2010

News Agenda - Daily Express

The Daily Express claims to have over 1.5 Million newspaper readers and just fewer than 2 Million unique visitors online each day. The average age of their readers is 59. This makes me question why they are releasing an ipad app for their newspaper when their target audience is unlikely to use it. They have a mid-market readership in terms of both age and social class. The Daily Mail is its biggest rival, but has a more female readership. The front cover of the Daily Express presents it as a very patriotic newspaper with the logo of St George, as well as the display of a poppy each year for Remembrance Day. Along with this the paper is constantly referring to Europe and it’s desire to make the country more independent. Along with this they have gone as far as to present themselves as the only national newspaper to be going against England in Europe.

58% of their readers are ABC1, meaning a more upmarket audience available for advertisers. Morrison’s is one of their primary advertisers in the newspaper, which would appeal to working class readers in particular. The newspapers advertisements revolve around home life such as: food shops, electric and gas companies, sofas and banks. However, there are also signs of slightly upmarket readership with advertisements promoting cruise trips. The advertising online is slightly altered, and seems to be aimed at a lower class audience, possibly C2DE with adverts for shops like Lidl and Tesco Direct. However advertisements for online stores such as Amazon suggest they may be targeting a younger online audience in comparison with their newspaper copy which enables to progress as their readership age continues to gradually increase.

Other than advertisements, the online version of the Daily Express has very differences from its newspaper version. They both feature similar headlines and news stories, although the online version does seem to appeal more to younger readers with less detail on the details and more emphasis on images. They also continue to promote themselves as a ‘paper for the people’ highlighting the readers ability to create their own profile online so they can comment on news stories and speak with other readers. This is another sign that a younger audience is targeted. However, this view is contradicted with the Daily Express promoting its bingo, elderly dating website and sale of mobility scooters. It seems that they don’t know who they want to be targeting and have tried appealing to both.

The news reported by the Daily Express is very repetitive. Headlines often include new cures for illnesses, treatment for cancer, and reports on Diana which are frequently used. These stories are targeted directly at their already dedicated readership. This is shown by the views expressed throughout the newspaper and the readers writing in to congratulate the newspaper on ‘expressing their opinions’.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act enables journalists to request (and receive) certain information and data from the public sector.

Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled:-
- To be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request
- (If that is the case) To have that information communicated to them.

An example of data that would be stored would be the Department of Employment’s recordings of injuries/claims for work absences.
There are public sectors that are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act such as the army/national security. Also there are cases or circumstances where a public body does not have to provide information.

Only information or ‘records of decision’ which have been written down or electronically recorded, counts as information available to the public under the meaning of the act.
Confidentiality – information about a specific person would go against confidentiality and
therefore not allowed.

Every public organisation has a freedom of information officer.

You need to find out who they are (information officer). Then write a letter making your request (with the main exemption obviously being national security).
If your request is rejected you can appeal to the information commissioner (Information Commissions Office). You write a letter to them asking them to explore it as part of your appeal.

There are 3 forms of protection against the Freedom of Information Act.
1 – National Security
2 - Confidentiality
3 – Cost of Complying

In terms of ‘Cost of Complying’, this means that the place you are requesting the data from will assess the cost to acquire that data which will decide whether it was worth the time/cost.

An example of a man that has made a lot of money using the Freedom of Information Act is journalist Matt Davis. E.g. - The Worst Hospitals in Britain. For this story, Davis found out from the NHS Litigation Authority how many people sued each hopsital and how much it needed to pay in compensation. With this data he was able to produce a league table. This is also a good example of comment as it would not necessarily mean they are the 'worst' hopsitals.

Important stats to note is that when you go to hopsital, up to 12 seperate authorities will record the fact(as well as other information about you). Also when a child is excluded their are around 10 seperate pieces of information recorded on them.

Getting Stories
Press Agencies are a good source when using the Freedom of Information Act. One example is thye Foriegn Office. One journalist decided to see if their were any recorded complaints from Kasakstan about the film Borat. He had to wait a while(as he needed to avoid intruding national security), but eventually discovered that they were very unhappy with the film, and were supposedly close to attacking us.

It's important when requesting information that you use exactly their language. This may lead to back and forth letters as you may need to keep refrasing your question and changing your words to suit them.
Occasionally, whe they stats you recieve are small numbers, you may be able to ask for small specific details about some of the cases.

Don't take no for an answer!
And keep rephrasing your question until you get what you want.

Monday, 15 November 2010

David Hume - HCJ

David Hume was an empirical philosopher. Russell gives Hume huge praise in ‘History for Western Philosophy’.

Some Key Hume Points
- Events in the universe are constructed in our minds through our sense experience
- Did not believe in causation in the universe;, and apparent causes are constructed in our minds they do not exist in reality
- Logical Positivists (followers of Hume) feel statements are only worth discussing if they are capable of independent verification. ‘God exists’ can’t be verified and would therefore be classed as not worth discussing.

Impressions and Ideas
Hume states that there are important distinctions between ‘impressions’ and ‘ideas’. They are two kinds of perceptions. Impressions have more force and violence. Hume’s says ‘By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning’. Ideas (when simple) are like impressions but fainter.
‘Every simple idea has a simple impression, which resembles it and ever simple impression a correspondent idea’.
Russell uses imagining a winged horse as an example - we can imagine one without ever seeing one. It’s explained from Hume’s theory that the constitution of this complex idea is all derived from impressions.
Impressions come first – derived from experience. E.g. – A man born blind has no idea of colours.
Outside is the impressions, inside the brain creates the complex iodeas. Ie - knowledge/thought which is based on the impressions. But you can't trust the impressions and therefore the ideas of which you base everything.

Causation is the relationship between two(or more) events, where one event happens causing another events.
To explain the idea of causation and his feelings against it, Hume uses the example of billiard balls. If a white ball is hit into a red ball and it moves, it is not necessarily the white ball that causes the red ball to move. Hume argues that there is no proof that the white ball causes the movement.
Another example is ‘just because the sun rises today, it doesn’t mean that it will rise tomorrow.
David Hume states that there is no such thing as causation in nature.

Synthetic and Analytic Statements

Analytic – a conclusion can be derived by the subject (self evident).
Eg –‘Bachelors are unmarried’
‘Daisies are flowers’

Synthetic- Verified if the axiomatic statement (axiom = saying that is widely accepted on its own merits) is accepted as truth. Its truth value can only be determined by relying upon observation and experience.
Eg- ‘All men are arrogant’
‘All humans are mortal, I am Human, therefore I am mortal’ – second part cannot be verified unless first part is accepted as truth.

Hume’s believed that pain/heat etc (sense impressions) do not exist in the external world, only in the mind.

Theory of Knowledge
After reading the many philophical books by the philosophers before him, Hume noticed that many of the theories related to objects. David Hume's wanted to put man at the centre of the study of knowledge. He anlaysed his reactions and emotions including starving himself of food to gage the effect or appetite on the brain.
Hume thinks our senses is where we get our knowledge. The brain can then file and connect information.

Bundle Theory
This is Hume's theory that features of objects are all that exist, he refers to them as 'properties'. Ane example would be a granny smith apple, it is not an actual apple but merely a number pof properties that make up an apple - green, shiny, apple shape etc... To justify his claim Hume's asked people to 'imagine an object with no properties' which is not possible.
This must also mean that we are just a bunch of properties which goes against the theory of Descartes(I think, therefore I am).

Is and Ought

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Investigative Journalism – Law

In this week’s law lecture we covered ‘Investigative Journalism’ which means you are getting the information/news yourself when fulfilling your role as the ‘eyes and ears of the public’.
Examples could be claims like ‘I think football matches are fixed’. As a journalist you would then investigate this claim to try and find proof that it is true so that you can present your findings to the public.
One example of great investigative journalism is Watergate. A few journalists felt the president (Nixon) had hired criminals to burgle his political opponents. They soon discovered proof that he had hired them with evidence such as taped recordings of Nixon’s conversations with them. The investigations soon lead to Nixon being the first (and only) president to resign from their position.

Harry Evans is a very popular figure amongst journalists for his ability to make the Sunday Times both popular and credible while he was editor. Part of his success in that role was the creation of ‘The Sunday Times Insight Team’. This was a small team of journalists (5 or 6) that focused exclusively on investigative journalism, and could therefore investigate almost anything.
One famous case they investigated involved the company – Distillers. They were responsible for a drug called Thalidomide which was produced in the late 1950’s as a sedative drug. It was later withdrawn after claims that it had caused a number of birth defects. However, the company denied this and claimed there was not enough proof to show that this was definitely the case and not just coincidence. This meant the parents attempt at claiming compensation failed. The Sunday Times Insight Team then decided to take up this story and began investigating.
They soon found a document which proves that it does cause birth effects. They then published this discover, and had the defence of it being in the public interest. Backed by The Sunday Times (for legal support) the parents continued to battle Distillers and eventually won their compensation.

World in Action
Chris Horrie spoke to us about a show he once worked on called ‘World in Action’. One story they investigated was in relation to Manchester United owners (at the time) - The Edwards. As meat suppliers it was soon discovered that they were producing meet for a school in Rochdale which was ‘not fit for human consumption’.
Another case investigated was the IRA Birmingham Bombing. After the bombing in Birmingham, the police were put under pressure to find the criminals that did it. This lead to 6 people (not necessarily innocent people, but innocent of the bombing) being framed for the crime. They were locked away until an investigation by World in Action proved them to b innocent and lead to them being set free.

Subterfuge can be important for investigative journalism such as a ‘Camera in a Bag’. Although o use secret cameras/recording equipment you require written permission from ofcom. Also you cannot do trawling (deciding to leave a camera somewhere and see what happens and if it can pick up anything good).

Secret Policeman
An investigative joined a college for police training and got friendly with a trainee that was believed o b corrupt. He dressed up as the KK, and planned to frame black people once he was a qualified officer. It was in the public interest and the evidence was obtained through subterfuge (recording secret footage).

The Fake Shake – News of the World
The Fake Shake frequently uses subterfuge for their stories. One example is the Fergie story when she was secretly recorded giving direct access to one of the princes for money.
Another example is the Max Mosley case when a journalist posed as a prostitute.
Emile Zola is considered by some as ‘The Father of Investigative Journalism’. He was also the inventor of photography and a realist.
When France lost the Franco-Prussian War in 1971 the country decided to blame the Jews in the French military, claiming that they sold the French military secrets. Alfred Dreyfus(who was Jewish) was framed for this and was sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. Zola tried to help and through investigation he discovered (and named) guilty men. He showed pictures of corrupt army officers and those that helped frame Dreyfus. It took a number of years but he was finally rehabilitated and freed by 1900.

The Evidence Gap – Criminal and Civil standards of proof
Civil law requires a lower level of proof and only needs to have the balance of probability.
Criminal Law is much harder to prove as you require to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
Double jeopardy means you cannot be tried for the same crime twice.

One good example of the evidence gap was when the Daily Mail made a murder accusation of 6 men that were found innocent in courts (despite big suggestions that they were guilty) as it could not be proved 'beyond reasonable doubt' that they were the murderers. However, on the front page of their newspapers, the daily mail published clear photographs of all 6 men and named each of them, and accused them of murder.
Despite huge defamation and even signs malice, they were not sued. This is because if they were taken to court it would be a civil case and therefore they would only need to prove them to be murderers 'on the balance of probability' (instead of reasonable doubt in the criminal court case). Therefore the Daily Mail would have very likely won the case because there was enough evidence/proof to support them.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Libel Payout - The Daily Express


In The Daily Express they have reported that Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo ‘has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over a claim that he put his injured ankle at risk by “living it up” in a hollywood nightclub.
The claim was made by the Daily Telegraph in July 2008 with the story ‘Ronaldo back in the limelight’. He did not appear at London’s High Court for the settlement against Telegraph Media Group Ltd.

Allan Dunlavy (his solicitor) claimed that the story lead to embarrassment, distress and offence to the player as he was concerned with his reputation as well as how his club at the time(Manchester United may have been perceived.
The newspaper is now said to have accepted the allegations were untrue and apologised after agreeing to pay Ronaldo ‘substantial damages and his legal costs in full’.

‘Mr Dunlavy said that Ronaldo now considered that he had been fully vindicated’.
In a statement, Ronaldo said: "I am delighted with this outcome. I take enormous pride in my professionalism. I treat my training and recovery from injury very seriously and would never have drunk and danced in a nightclub without my crutches as the Daily Telegraph falsely claimed.”


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Super-injunctions over?!?!

In todays(6/11/10) edition of The Sun, they reported a story of Arsene Wenger supposedly having a 2 year affair behind his wife's back. However, while reading through the 2 poage report, i noticed a small story in the corner headlined 'Sun win as judge lifts gag'.

In the brief article, they have revealed that yesterday(5/11/10) they won 'a landmark legal ruling that could end the "super-injunctions" taken out by celebrities to cover up scandals.
Mr Justice Tugendhat(a senior high court judge) has ruled that sportsman that attempt to prevent publication revealing any details of a story can be named,
The star it concerns can have 14 days to attempt to get the 'Court of Appeal' to 'overturn the decision and cannot be named meanwhile'.

The Sun describes this decision as 'a major victory for Press freedom and the public's right to know scandals involving stars whose lucrative endorsements rely on a squeaky-clean image'.

They then reveal both John Terry and Ashely Cole as top sportsman that have previously used super-injunctions.

Joseph Addison - HCJ

Joseph Addison – HCJ

Joseph Addison was an English poet and playwright born in the 17th Century. With his friend Richard Steele, he founded the ‘The Spectator’.

The Spectator
For our seminar we read ‘The Spectator’ number 476. In this edition Addison speaks about his own writing style saying it sometimes follows regularity and method, whilst occasionally having no order to it. However, through this edition he voices his preference that ideas are presented in logical order to the reader. He states that when writing, further thoughts are continued so it’s important that they stay in order so that they are understood.
He felt if you picture the whole concept it is easier to understand and will stay in your memory.

The Royal Exchange


Thursday, 4 November 2010

News Agenda - Professor Peter Cole on Mid-Market Newspapers

In his series of articles that were published in 2007, Professor Peter Cole wrote about UK newspapers at a time when a decline in their sales started to show, but with their influence on the public and the media in general still clear. In the first edition of this series, he speaks about The Daily Express and its decline from the dominance it enjoyed between the ‘1930s to the 1960s’. As i will be closely observing The Daily Express in the next few weeks, I found this part in the series particularly interesting.

The Daily Express
Peter Cole blames the changes of ownership and switches between party supports for the decline in the newspapers sales. It no longer had an established audience as they were unable to remain loyal when such drastic changes were happening. They were eventually taken over by Lord Clive Hollick in 1996 which (being a labour supporter) switched the newspapers allegiance to New Labour and liberalism (instead of the monarchy). Despite ‘editor’ - Peter Hill’s attempts to return back to the Tories, the sales still tumbled. The Daily Express is now known for its consistent ‘news stories’ regarding Princess Diana, and producing a number of conspiracy theories.

In this article, Coles views its rival in the ‘mid market’ which is The Daily Mail. Despite dominating the market in the 80’s, The Daily Express has now fallen far behind The Daily Mail in terms of number of sales. Aswell as this it also has the highest number of female readers out of any other newspaper in the country.
Cole also claims that The Mail spends most of its promotional budget on free dvds and cds for their readers which are mainly directed towards a family target audience. At the time of publoshing this article(2007) he claims that 40% of its readers are over 55, and 60% over 45 which suggests that they can afford to maintain and older style with older opinions as they do not yet need to appeal to a younger audience to boost sales.
It is quite widely accepted that The Daily Mail is viewed as prejudice. The readers are believed to be for Britain and against Europe; 'more concerned with punishment than the causes of crime; against public ownership and for the private sector; against liberal values and for traditional values, particularly marriage and family life. It puts achievement above equality of opportunity and self-reliance above dependence.'

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Law Lecture - Copyright

Although I learnt some of the basics about copyright law in a special lecture a few weeks ago, we spent this week’s law lecture covering other areas of copyright, exploring how important it is to us for both protecting our work and protecting others.

Copyright has existed in the UK and US in common law since the early 18th century – ‘turning information into money’.
You need copyright to prevent others from using your creations. In the 18th Century it was compared to theft, their intellectual property is given legal protection. However, there is no copyright for ideas as there is no work gone into it.
Copyright means that as a journalist you cannot take anything from the internet (such as YouTube (unless it’s fair dealing which I will discuss later in this blog). You must make everything you use yourself. The copyright act is a crime as well as a civil complaint.

Any work you do belongs to you until you sell the results of that work to somebody else(this includes journalism, literary work and photography).
You can charge a user a fee (licensing agreement) every time they use it (eg- every time someone uses your shed you could charge £1). This would mean that you still own the item, but would be effectively renting it out to other people.

Intellectual property is just as concrete in law as any work made by hand. You are more likely to licence the use of your work in return for payment, especially if you are a freelance journalist. If you have received wages (contract of employment) then you don’t own you work, but instead your employer does. That means despite whatever value your piece may have, you are given a set amount of pay (wages) no matter what, and your employer could make a significant amount of money from it.
This is why many journalists are no freelance as you can licence you work. You don’t take wages but instead licence papers and other forms of media to use it and can maintain ownership.
When selling you work you can receive a ‘one off licence fee’ which is one solid payment that doesn’t change no matter how much the new owner of you work makes from it.
The other option is ‘Royalty’ which is an advanced payment you are given for your work (such as book producing companies), then if it produces more than expected your pay could increase. On the other hand, if it sells poorly, your future business with them could have a lower advanced payment.

He ‘rip-off’ contract originates in the 1960’s music industry when music publishers would have a pad of total buy-out contracts in recording studios. This would give an artist a small amount of wages whilst their record would make a lot of money. The ‘rip off’ was literally the action of tearing one of the standard contracts off a pad.

Lifting (fair dealing) enable you to show parts of someone’s work (song, film, writing etc) if you are reviewing or commenting on it. There is also no copyright in the facts of a news story.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

This Week's Winol

I have seen the Winol broadcast improve week after week. The main signs of improvement is the better quality audio and shots that seem more relevant to the stories.

I’ve enjoyed the variation in presenters; it keeps each broadcast fresh which is important if you are trying to attract a young audience. I enjoyed the first news story this week which was about the attack on a man in Winchester, I found it relevant as it’s in our area, and the style it was presented in was very professional and I was impressed with the extent coverage of the story including an interview with the victim and footage of the attack and arrest.
The text stays up longer which made the viewings more comfortable as I feel I have enough time to read them whilst paying attention to what is being said.

The one part I feel could be improved was the conversation with the two presenters at the end to lead into the final piece (in this case it was about Halloween costumes). I felt slightly uncomfortable with it as it felt forced and too scripted. I’m not sure if just getting rid of it altogether would solve the problem, but perhaps try to think of better ways to lead into the final piece so that it flows better and seems more relaxed and less cheesy.

Precision English

For the last few week’s we have been studying Precision English with Annette. It was quite a shock to suddenly realise how little knowledge I had about grammar, spelling and punctuation. Despite studying English at A level, it soon became clear (after a horrid spelling test and a few grammar and punctuation exercises) that my English wasn’t up to scratch. I‘m hoping that after these few weeks of practice, I will now be able to write not only these blogs but any other work with more confidence that what I am writing is of a higher standard. Already as I type this blog, I could pick out many punctuation and grammar errors, but I suppose it’s hard to escape bad habits.
We’ve used Wynford Hicks ‘English for Journalists’ book to help guide us through these few weeks. I will certainly be treating it as a bible whenever it comes to writing anymore pieces until I know all of the rules automatically.

Confidentiality - Journalism Law

Confidentiality focuses on private matters and is treated as a civil law. However, secrecy/state secrecy is seen as criminal law. An example of state secrecy would be revealing the location of British troops at any time (without permission).
In Section1 of the ‘Official Secrets Act’ it covers state secrets such as telling enemies of tank positions, or revealing secret codes.

Commercial secrets usually affect businesses ad is seen as civil law. This can include revealing a secret recipe for a certain food or restaurant, or claiming they break certain health rules as this could ruin their business (and would most likely be seen as being published with malice).
If a journalist acquires any of this information from an employee of a company or organisation it would be considered a breach of confidentiality by that person. Also a third party (i.e. - a Journalist) can also be accused.

Common law confidentiality can include hospitals (such as nurses).
An example of a breach of confidentiality case is journalist Graham Punk who published a report of an unclean hospital. Instead of speaking with somebody running the hospital about the issue he automatically published it after receiving the information from a hospital employee. If he tried to sort the problem quietly (and they refused to acknowledge it) then he would have more right to publish the story as it would be seen as a story that requires public attention to try and have it corrected.

Gagging Clauses are used predominantly by the NHS. These are clauses that are included in employee’s contracts that prevent them from revealing certain things and information about the hospital.

It is important to try and gain evidence to claims that you hear from someone. You should also ask permission from that person to publish the story, reminding them that they could be at risk of getting sacked if they were discovered to be the person that leaked the story.
However, it is very important as a journalist that you protect your sources and never reveal them. This is important to Journalists as it helps maintain a good image and enables us to continue getting information that we otherwise would not gain or receive. A bad journalist is one that frequently reveals there sources, or simply makes things up.
If you reveal a source, you are in breach of the Journalists code of conduct. Although, if you receive a court order to reveal them, and don’t, then you are in trouble for contempt of court.

Another journalist involved in a famous confidentiality case is Bill Goodwin who is respected for his commitment to the Journalists Code of Conduct - refusing never to reveal his sources. He printed an article in The Engineer (a respected magazine) claiming that Tetrus (a company) were selling inferior components. They soon went out of business, and after refusing to name his source, Tetrus took him to court in an attempt to make him reveal them. However, he still refused, and said that he was protecting his source. Despite being fined, he appealed repeatedly until eventually (years later) he won. Up to this day he has still not named his source.

Sarah Tisdel Case
When police turned up at the Guardian office looking for the name of a source that reported information regarding MI5, Peter Preston (in charge at the time) handed over an important document that enabled them to identify Sarah Tisdel as the source. The configuration of the letter made it possible to identify her. The Guardian claimed it tried to protect her, and also if they didn’t return the document it would have been considered theft as it had a specific owner.

Accidentally breaking confidentiality act can be used as a defence in some case, but can be difficult to prove. Saying army soliders are returning home could be accidental breach of confidentiality.
Confidential information depends on the type of secret information and whether it has necessary quality for being confidential(ie- must be of some importance)
Official secrets are heavily protected for example you cannot take photographs of arm bases unless given permission. You would have to phone the base, and try to get permission confirmed in writing if possible.

Confidentiality is narrow(unlike defamatory)
-Must be imported to you importing or imposing confidence of confidentiality.
-Must have quality of confidence
-Their must be no permission(evidence needed)
-Detrement(have to show that the report damaged them)

Section 8 - Human Rights Act guarantees the right to normal family/private life. This act relates mainly to photography/filming. You cannot publish photographs without consent unless it is showing them doing a public duty. Sometimes they will attempt to sue, but can also seel the rights to photos of them.
Catherine Zeta Jones is one celebrity that has sued newspapers, including an incident where pcitures of her eating a cake at a wedding were published. Princess Caroline used to be photographed whenever she was out. However, when she was photographed riding a horse she decided to sue the paparazzi and won as none were taken with her decent and none(apart from 1) could claim the photos were of her doing a public duty. THe one that was her doing a public duty was when she handed over a cup on a football field in Monaco.

Celebrities like Princess Caroline, Jamie Theakston, David Beckham and John Terry have invoked many injuctions recently to prevent certain stories from being publioshed.
Naomi Campbell often applies for injunctions(eg- photos of her leaving a rehab clinic).
You should phone(the person involved) to see if a story is true, however it enables them to get an injuction, so that is the risk you must take. However, you can try to get information from the person without making them feel the story is very damaging.
Super Injunction- John Terry got an injunction to prevent The Guardian from revealing he had an injunction.

Explicit consent - agree's to interviews and agrees to be filmed/photographed.
Implied consent- If they react to the camera, or are clearly knowledgable that they were on it)(eg- staring down the lense, waving at the camera, or at a football ground) it can be argued they are giving their consent.

So confidentiality is another barrier that is important for ournalists to keep in mind. You must make sure you don't accidentally get the wrong people in phpotots(people that shouldnt be there) and if possible, always get written consent from those photographed/filmed so that you can publish them without worry of being sued for breaching the human rights act.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Journalism Now

Photojournalism in the Early 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th Century, it was believed by the majority of the public that everything seen in a photograph was true. Photojournalism soon became a distinctive form of photography. Unlike in the 21st Century, it was impossible to tamper with photographs using a computer. This meant that they were used as irrefutable evidence which was supported by empiricism and modernism.

The New York Times started publishing photographs in 1896, and newspapers across the world soon did the same. When photos first appeared in newspapers, they were mainly staged photographs. Photographs helped to project a professional appearance and presented the view that journalists could be relied on to deliver the facts.

In the early 20th Century it was much easier to establish truth from pictures taken by journalists. Scholars began to observe photojournalism, claiming that a camera pointed in a certain direction can still include and exclude particular information.

Photography had been the most significant means of recording in the 20th Century. Politicians and celebrities started to style themselves with the knowledge that they would be photographed. It enabled Journalists to capture important moments during that time: including photographs of Winston Churchill hearing he was re-elected.

One famous American photographer was Lewis Hine. His photographs’ in the 1900’s showed immigrants arriving in America through Ellis Island. Some of his other photos helped change child labour laws. These were early signs of the impact that photojournalism could have on the public.

By the 1930s, photojournalism had entered a ‘golden age’. Photographs were sent by electronic means from remote locations to picture agencies and magazines. Illustrated magazines then began to compete with newspapers, until that point photography was seen just as a way to support the text. This increasing variation of magazines available in both Europe and America meant that many photographers were employed to illustrate the articles, educating readers about political and social issues. Newspapers such as The Daily Mirror gained good reputations and a large number of readers because of the photography they used. Gradually, the profession evolved, which lead to roles such as picture editors.

The influence of photojournalism grew dramatically during World War 2. News photographers were expected to consistently report the truth through their images. A magazine called Life was first published in 1936, containing a strong emphasis on photojournalism. The magazines use of photographs received a positive reaction from their readers. The publisher, called Henry Luce, believed that pictures could tell a story to the magazine’s readers instead of accompanying the text as illustration.

Rolled photographic film enabled photographers to take a sequence of images, which lead to a more narrative structure when the photos were published collectively. This style was used regularly by magazines, and the collections of photographs were placed in double-page spreads by picture editors. Gradually, photojournalism was used in more influential ways, because of photographers utilising lighting and scenery to produce a desired effect.

Daniel Mackrell
The Burden of Visual Truth – Julianne H. Newton
Photojournalism and Today’s News – Loup Langton

John Locke - HCJ

John Locke was crucial for Journalists and philosophy. He had many important ideas such as the social contract which is the way people agreed to be ruled by governments. Locke fled to Europe which is where he wrote most of his books.
History shows why John Locke felt religion should be removed from the public domain. He saw that religion tore the country apart. He felt that religion should be kept private, away from politics and no longer influence it. Many of his views reflect those that now exist in America.

John Locke seemed to have very modern views and ideas at the time he published An Essay of Human Understanding.

In this essay he explored various aspects of the human mind and (similar to Machiavelli) he argues the idea of empiricism. This is the belief that knowledge comes from experience and that you learn from ideas. He feels that we learn from our senses and develop our understandings through our perceptions. There are 2 parts that allow us to gain information – Sensation and Reflection. Sensation is when the senses convey thoughts to the mind. Reflection is the operation of our mind (such as birds knowing to migrate). The mind acts to reflect ideas through reasoning and thinking.
Children understand to food and realise that hunger means they want to eat. However, knowledge varies on the objects that someone converses with. Locke also states that ideas can’t be learnt from sleep. This is because without senses being active, thinking can’t occur which means you cannot collect new information. The example John Locke uses is a looking glass, it retains no remembrance of what it has seen throughout the day.
He also speaks about deductive thinking which is that every promise has a conclusion. Inductive reasoning is based on the ‘leap of faith’.

Social Contract
The social contract was contributed to by both Hobbes and Locke.
.Hobbes Leviathan – State of Nature
. People’s dominant passions are aggressive – people acting on their passions will produce a state of war
. A leader is chosen, and given huge power
. Power comes from the people but they give up all their power to the ruler once they are decided (a mortal god)

At the time of John Locke, Kings were believed to be chosen by God. He stated that God didn’t choose the ruler (‘life would be nasty, brutish and short’). He felt that we needed to create a mortal God/Leviathan.

Choose somebody to be the all powerful ruler and we then give all our rights to that person (they become a God in some senses). The power is choosing an individual and then the power is gone. What we ask of that person is that they protect us from those dangers inside and out of our city/country. If they protect us, then they are doing their job.
A dictatorship is almost what Hobbes proposes.

Locke’s ‘Treatise of Government’
First Treatise
This attacks the concept of the ‘Divine Right of Kings’. It is the idea tha God had given Adam the right to rule.
‘Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air’ – Genesis
Locke opposed to James II and Hobbes.
Second Treatise
- State of nature – everyone enjoys national freedom and equality but obey natural laws.
- The laws of nature were moral laws which every man knew intuitively – an almost ready made knowledge of right and wrong. ‘Under woven in the constitution of the human mind’ discovered by reason which comes from God.

Locke (like Descartes) felt when we were born there was nothing placed in our mind. He believed that you had ‘original sin’ when you were born and needed to be saved even from the beginning.
Locke disagreed with the churches view of this, saying there was nothing in our brains. However, he felt there was a God, and that he gave us reasoning.

‘We will discover natural laws’
He accepts laws are relevant to certain areas. Senses produce natural laws that we accept and understand.
Locke was important to American constitution. We have a right to life, liberty and property.
He believed in the mind starting with a blank slate, everything comes from senses, from that we can work out natural laws.

Manual for a Revolution
- Locke proposed a concept of government by consent and limited by law – it proves mainly used for the protection of property.
- He insisted that taxes could not be levied without the people’s (parliament) consent.
- He believed that citizens could rebel if their government ceased to respect the law – referred to the tyranny of James II.
- It meant that Locke was suggesting that the right of revolution was of the mutual rights of man.

Locke and Hobbes had slightly different views:-
Locke – Can get rid of a ruler if he oversteps boundaries.
Hobbes – Ruler for life

Human Understanding
- Locke believed that our understanding comes from our experience which is worked on by our powers of reason to produce ‘real knowledge’.
- Against the idea of ‘innate ideas’
- He thought that God had given mankind the ability to discover knowledge and morality so that innate ideas weren’t needed.
- When matters of faith go beyond reason and experience - individuals should be guided by private revelation, but these revelations should never be imposed to church or state.
- He felt God gave us the faculties to find the truth instead of giving us the truth already.
- He didn’t think God intervened in life. God was perfect and created perfect ideas for our mind.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Qualified Privilege

Qualified Privilege is one of the best defences against libel.

The requirements for solid defence are:-
- Justification
- (Fair)Comment
- Privilege

You should always think about what fact is and what comment is when writing/reporting a story as it can be easy to confuse the two.

Privilege makes you exempt from Law (libel law in certain circumstances).
Statutory Privilege allows the Journalist to publish certain specified information. Parliamentary Privilege means you can report certain parliament events.
If an MP says something at Parliament with malice, a Journalist is still able to report this without being accused of malice themselves. This is known as ‘Absolute Privilege’ (AP).
However, if you are reporting allegations made in parliament just to cause trouble, it would then be considered malice.

If you Journalist is reporting a court case that is still progressing, they must end a report saying something such as ‘The case continues’ or ‘and they’re pleading not guilty’ to avoid claims of prejudice or bias as at the stage of reporting the case, it may only be the prosecution that have spoken and could therefore be considered malice. However, once the court finds someone guilty, reporting them as guilty would become fact. A judge’s sentencing is fact.
You get qualified privilege when reporting from the local government but only with refutation.

Comment can be important in defending certain words used in an article or report. For example, describing someone as ‘sick’ or ‘evil’ could be defended as comment if it can be justified to some extent (such as a paedophile, as they could be considered as evil or sick as they have something wrong with them).

Another important part of defence is Positive Identification. This means correctly and accurately identifying the person you a reporting about. You must ensure that the person being defamed is correctly identified (someone in particular). If you don’t identify someone specifically enough(such as just giving a name) then someone with the same name could sue if it is easy for them to be mistakenly identified as the person being reported.
Occasionally you can argue Accidental Libel, but this is very rare as it would mean a big coincidence of two people having very similar identities.
Also broad identification can be very dangerous as it allows multiple people to sue you if they feel they have been defamed because of you reporting.
Pictures can be very important in Positive Identification. There are normally two types of pictures: mug shots and action shots. Mug shots are usually used for identification.

You can be sued for libel if the following 3 things apply:-
- Defamation
- Publication
- Identification
Libel action usually results in a minimum of around £50,000, and this is normally if the case is settled out of court. It is quite often that cases are settled out of court.

If you’re fast, accurate and fair you ensure that you maintain Qualified Privilege.
Fast- The report must be made in the first available edition.
Accurate- Any errors in a report (even trivial errors) would make you lose your qualified privilege.(Eg- spelling, meaning and even punctuation can). I therefore realise how important it is to check everything in a report is correct.
Fair- You must not make up you reporting, it must be based on fact.

You don't neccesarioly need to know the truth to report something. Aslong as you have good sources, inlucde the person denying allegations, publish as soon as possible and avoid malice.

We briefly explored Renolds 10 Point test in our Lecture. The 10 points are as follows-

1. The seriousness of the allegation
2. The nature of the information
3. The source of the information
4. The steps taken to verify the information
5. The status of the information
6. The urgency of the matter
7. Whether comment was sought from the claimant
8. Whether the article contatined the gist of the claiments side of the story
9. The tone of the article
10. The circumstances of the publication

Copyright Law Lecture

On Monday 18th September we had a guest lecturer to talk to us about copyright law. The guest speaker was Peter Hodges. He was the former 'Head of Copyright at the BBC.
Knowledge of copyright and how it works enables broadcasts; an article etc to go ahead without any issues, and ensures that anything a journalist produces is protected from copyright issues.
Copyright Law effects sound recordings, broadcasts, books, performances, designs etc. However, an idea cannot be copyrighted.

And you are required to have permission (or pay for permission) if it's used in almost any form. This includes background music, special words, broadcast radio, and photos. Copyright lasts the life of the author/creator plus 70 years after their death. Music and Films copyright lasts 50 years after their death. When items are no longer under the copyright law, they enter the public domain. This means that are available for the public to use and have at any time (i.e. books, radio, article and broadcast available freely available for public use).

If you record someone (such as performing in the street dancing or singing) and intend to broadcast it, you need their written consent beforehand.

Copyright can also limit the amount of certain content that you can use. Someone who has copyrighted material have the right to prevent its usage. This can include preventing people performing a certain piece they created. If you a critic, or expressing views on something you must name who it’s from, giving the author credit/acknowledgement. Contemporary events can be recorded if they are current news events and you had no control over them. The term of ‘Actuality’ is used, meaning you had no control over it.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Defamation and my visit to Winchester Courts

In this week’s lecture we focused on Defamation and the trouble journalists can get into when accused. A defamatory statement has the tendency to damage somebody’s reputation in the minds of other people. Libel Trails (involving a Judge and Jury) is where a Journalist can be sued for Defamation.
Ridicule/Contempt can cause them to be shunned or avoided. It affects their business, trade or profession and tends to alter their image to right thinking members of society.

Defamatory damages can possibly go into millions. Journalists try to stay away from people they know would sue.
An example of how easy it can be for a libel case to occur. I could state a defamatory statement in a blog and get sued if it has the potential to damage someone (i.e. - a statement that has the potential to be defamatory).
An individual has to be correctly identified to prevent confusion of specific person identified. There are three key points when determining if a story has a case for libel.

- It has the potential to be defamatory.
- It is published in some way.
- The person has to be clearly identified.

However, Journalists do have a justification when the story is true, and also in the public interest. This is known as ‘Privilege’.
Privilege protects the journalist as it means the story was n the interest of the government/state/public etc... It is important that the public get to see that justice is being done, and that confirmation is brought forward by Journalists reporting the stories and cases. This helps the government as it keeps the public calm under the knowledge that the Justice System works. Without reports, justice isn’t seen.

Recording Court Events
As you cannot record in court, Journalists have to rely on their shorthand to document everything that happens in a court room. Along with this, the reports of a case should be fair and accurate (based on fact/truthful), and preferably contemporary. This is because case results can change very quickly and your opinions could quickly become out of date if you decided to express them (and could lead your audience to expect a result different the final verdict). For example, if you only report the prosecution and not the defence, it wouldn’t be fair, particularly if the defendant was then found innocent.
A journalist will lose any defence in court if there is any sign of malice. This means that it the report isn’t clear/straightforward or shows intention to damage. There is one technique called ‘Bane and Antidote’ which journalists use. This involves saying something nice and something not very nice about someone to maintain balance. Although this is also a very dangerous idea as you could still potentially be taken to court. An example is if you defame a person in a headline but then make them sound better in the article itself. While you are saying nice things about them, the headline is likely to get read more than the article itself. This could be seen as defaming the person.

Newspapers can add a correction in a later edition to avoid a court order. Journalists can also write a letter to the person they defamed to try to ‘make peace’ before a court order is made. Writing ‘Without Prejudice’ at the top of the letter means that the letter cannot be used as evidence against you in court.
I went to court on Tuesday with some fellow Journalism students and we sat in the public gallery to watch part of a court case and get a feel of what it was like. It was defiantly a fascinating experience. As we entered the court, the Judge announced that one member of the Jury was removed for knowing the father of one of the witnesses. The case involved witnesses that were experts in forensic sceince. The case revolved around a tyre slashing. It was certainly an interesting time watching the case unfold as we gradually gained a better understanding of what was going on. It certainly helped me understand the courts more and get a feel for the environment.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

This Week's Winol

I've just finished watching the latest live Winol Bulletin. First looking at the stories that were given, I found the majority of them relevant to their target audience. Particularly those focussing around student life such as the international students struggling to get into certain bars and clubs, as well as the potential removal of tuition fee caps. Also the story about the Queen could generate some interest as she was not too far from our location. Although I feel the minimal coverage meant that it wasn't a particularly interesting story and not much information was supplied.

I felt that the two presenters worked well together, however I felt there was an issue with breathing right after a news story had finished. Once it cut to a presenter they would take a loud breath before speaking which I felt looked slightly unprofessional, and made it appear as if they weren't prepared for it.

I liked the various shots; I felt that they were changed frequently enough to maintain an audience’s attention as they didn't remain on one shot for too long. Although, the names of those speaking, and those being interviewed were shown on screen for a very brief amount of time for the majority of the broadcast. If it was lengthened slightly the audience could feel more relaxed and take more time in reading the names whilst still being able to listen to the news feature.
I also liked the effect used in one of the stories when they started with the image blurred and went into focus. This technique captured my attention and kept me focused. As well as this, there were good low angle shots (such as the cars driving by) and also good coverage of the sports such as the goals as the camera got a good view of the action and was very steady.
The voices were good altogether. They were calm, clear and sounded professional.

Overall, I felt it was a good broadcast and kept me interested throughout, whilst a few alterations could be made to improve the general quality, I found it an interesting viewing, and look forward to more.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

My 1st History of Western Philosophy Seminar

Well, it was a daunting experience, not knowing what to expect when i entered the room. Being on eof the first people to supply a seminar paper added to the pressure and tension. But i've survived it, and found my 1st seminar in philosophy to be quite useful in establishing that i'm on the right track with my reading.

Bertands book is certainly a challenge to read, particularly if you;ve never studied philosophy before. However, i feel like i am starting to get to grips with it's theories and ideas, and even some of the language is starting to make more sense after a few checks in the dictionary.

In the seminar we discussed the first set of reading from the book, which includes the points of discussion that were raised in the lecture the week before.

Some of the discussions I enjoyed revolved around some of the books that the philosophers decided to write explaing certain ideas. This included 'The Prince' which was written by Machiavelli. It was seen as a guide on how to gain power, as well as how to maintain it.

What i found interesting was no matter how humorous or some of his ideas sound at first, it is clear that he thought hard about the points he made. As well as this, the book has a very modern appearance.
Despite mentioning some horrible suggestions for gaining power, it seems that he hopes the rulers would do good with their power, despite not specifically stating that in the book.
He also believed that a prince should ‘seem’ to be religious. The word seem suggests he doesn’t see it as a necessity that they have to be, but feels that a ruler that portrays themselves to be religious will be more accepted as a ruler and perhaps create a better image.

Another book i found interesting was 'Utopia' which was written by Sir Thomas Moore.
More was a Humanist and a man of profound piety, knighted in 1514. He portrays Utopia as an island in the southern hemisphere. Much like we would imagine, it is a place where ‘everything is done in the best possible way’.

In my seminar paper i covered his bizzare vision of Utopia. It had fifty four towns, and every tenth year people change houses to prevent a sense of ownership. All the people are dressed the same (except differences between male/female and married/unmarried). They all work six hours a day, 3 before dinner, and 3 after. They sleep at 8, and for 8 hours.
He appears to structure it so that the environment appears very plain, repetitive, and almost robotic in some senses. However, this suggests that he wants everybody to feel the same and be equal. The rules appear very strict and determined to keep everyone in line and under the same routine as each other every day.

During this time, modern capitalism was created which i felt almost seemed to contradict Thomas More’s Utopia vision.

In the seminar we also observed the differences between the ideas of Descartes and Plato. Plato's idea being the theory of everything having a perfect form. Such as any chair being the shadow of the perfect chair, we can't see it, but it's out there somewhere.

Descartes said the phrase 'I think therfore I am' meaning that the fact he can question his own exsistence proves that he exsists. However, that merely scrapes the surface on the magnitude of his theory. He felt that everything he learned from his 'good quality' education was useless and a waste of time. So hh decided to take apart all his knowledge. He began by regarding with sceptcism regarding his senses - 'Can I doubt that I am sitting here by the fire in a dressing-gown?'. Literally everything he knew and take away anything that he wasn't 100% certain was fact. Examples include his date of birth(how could he be absoloutely certain what he was told was true).
He then started to question God and how he knew that he exsisted. He then reverted to the idea of a perfect form, and how could we visualise God(perfect) if it didn't excist. So it must mean that God does excist in order to place the idea in our minds. I understand how this idea can be seen as flawed and i'm sure many would argue nagainst it, however at the time it was seen as a clever idea. Although I do feel like it shows signs of Descartes feeling the need to assure himself that te still was a God, otherwise he may have felt left with nothing.

The next stage of the reading is intriguing me as we will explore the thoughts of John Locke, an English philosopher. In next week's Philosophy blog i'll let you know how easy(or how difficult) he is to understand.

My Philosophy Seminar Paper

General Characteristics and Italian Renaissance
This began with the church dominating ideas in the dark ages. It was a time when the only true point of knowledge was what the Greeks had written in their texts and books. As these were written down, they could not be challenged or questioned.

However, it eventually leads to the diminishing authority of the church whilst the authority of Science started to increase. These were two very important changes in modern history as they re-shaped our views on the world and religion as a whole.
Democracy had suddenly become a political force with Kings being replaced by democracies and tyrants.
However, along with this, Socialism (an alternative to democracy) first gained power in 1917.
Ecclesiastical Authority was one of negative characteristics of modern age.
Acceptance of Scientific Authority was a positive characteristic of modern age.

Copernican Theory in 1543 was the eruption of Science, and was later improved by the likes of Kepler and Galileo. It was the idea (that we now know as fact) that the Earth and the planets revolved around The Sun.
This created a clash of Science vs. Dogma and Traditions vs. New Knowledge.

From the death of Frederick II in 1250, Ital was then free from foreign interference until the invasion of Charles VIII (France) in 1494.
There were 5 important states, these were:-
-Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples and Papal domain.
Florence was considered the most civilised city in the world.

There were three classes:-
- The Nobles [Ghibelline]
- The Rich Merchants [Guelf]
- The Small Men [Guelf]

The Ghibelline was defeated in 1266, and in the 14th Century, the Small men got the better of the Rich Merchants. This conflict leads to a tyranny of the Medici family, who were rules of Florence.
They were political bosses of the democratic side.
The French became unpopular and in 1282 they were massacred in the ‘Sicilian Vespers’ which was a Rebellion on the island of Siciliy against Charles I who was King of France, and fighting the Papacy for control over Italy.

There was Cosimo dei Medici (1389-1464) and then his son Lorenzo was in power between 1469 and 1492). Savonarola reigned from 1494 to 1498). Also at the time of the Italian renaissance, the ancients disagreed with each other, and substituted authority of ancients for church. This seems to show signs of emancipation, a desire for political freedom and they seemed to feel that the church was the way forward to this.

Leo X was Pope in 1513, followed by Eugenius IV (1431-1437). However, the Medici family continued with their dominance. They governed France until 1737. However, Florence (like all of Italy) had now become poor and unimportant.
The popes’ methods supposedly robbed the papacy (office of the pope) of spiritual authority.
Nicholas V (1477-55) became the first Humanist Pope. Meaning that he believed in human values. It showed a desire to study history, grammar, poetry and moral philosophy.
The council of Ferrara (1438) united the Eastern and Western churches.
Humanists were acquiring knowledge of antiquity.

There was said to be no halfway between orthodoxy (the idea of having the right opinion) and free thought.
One very important aspect of the renaissance is that it produced many great men such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Leonardo.
Quote – ‘How much murder and anarchy are we prepared to endure for the sake of great achievements such as those of the Renaissance?’

Plato and Aristotle
Plato believed in the idea of forms and that everything is an imitation of ‘the perfect form’. On the other hand, Aristotle didn’t believe in this theory.
17th Century Renaissance broke down the rigid scholastic system. This revived the study of Plato.
Independent thought meant that the public could choose between the ideas of Plato, and those of Aristotle. This encouraged regarding intellectual activity as an enjoyable social discussion.
Florentine Academy (founded by Cosimo, and continued by Lorenzo) was devoted to the study of Plato.

Niccolo signalled the start of political science. Like Thomas More, he was a humanist and philosopher. He was a man of supreme eminence in political philosophy.
Born in Florence, he was brought up neither rich nor poor, and his father was a lawyer.

He gained a minor post in Florentine government in 1498. In 1512 came the restoration of the Medici family. Then in 1513, Machiavelli wrote ‘The Prince’:-
The Prince
He released a book called ‘The Prince’ which I found to be an interesting book, because many of the points he raised do appear to make sense. No matter how humorous or absurd they sound at first, it is clear that he thought hard about the points he made. As well as this, the book has a very modern appearance.
It was intended to be a ‘guide’ to rulers on how to get power, and how to keep it. Despite mentioning some horrible suggestions for gaining power, it seems that he hopes the rulers would do good with their power, despite not specifically stating that in the book.
‘...better to be feared than loved’ - as fear is constant.

Machiavelli also stressed his belief that religion should have a prominent place in the state, not on the ground of its truth, but as social cement. He believes that a prince should ‘seem’ to be religious. The word seem suggests he doesn’t see it as a necessity that they have to be, but feels that a ruler that portrays themselves to be religious will be more accepted as a ruler and perhaps create a better image.

Machiavelli never bases his arguments on biblical grounds.
He is of the opinion that civilized men are almost certain to be unscrupulous egotists.
‘...The church has kept and still keeps our country divided...’
During this time, very few of Italy’s rulers were legitimate (including the Popes).

Erasmus and More
Around the time of Erasmus and More was the Northern Renaissance (different from Italy’s)
i.e. – France, England and Germany.
Also Latin was the only international language.

Erasmus (1466-1536) becomes Bishop of Cambrai in 1493.
He hated scholastics and philosophy.
He wrote ‘The Praise of Folly’. There were two kinds of Folly, one ironically, and the other much more serious.
The serious Folly displayed Christian simplicity. In 1524 he wrote a work defending free will.

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) was a Humanist and considered a man of profound piety.
He was knighted in 1514.

He played an important role in leading t opposition towards Henry VIII’s tax plans.
He was against the king’s divorce of Catherine of Aragon and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, the same year that King Henry VIII became Head of the Church instead of the Pope.
Thomas More was later beheaded for high treason when he denied the King was the ‘Supreme Head’ of the Church.

One of More’s key contributions was his book about ‘Utopia’.
One idea I was fascinated by was Utopia written by Sir Thomas More in 1518. More was a Humanist and a man of profound piety, knighted in 1514. He portrays Utopia as an island in the southern hemisphere. Much like we would imagine, it is a place where ‘everything is done in the best possible way’.

His vision of Utopia has fifty four towns, every tenth year people change houses to prevent a sense of ownership. All the people are dressed the same (except differences between male/female and married/unmarried). They all work six hours a day, 3 before dinner, and 3 after. They sleep at 8, and for 8 hours.

He appears to structure it so that the environment appears very plain, repetitive, and almost robotic in some senses. However, this suggests that he wants everybody to feel the same and be equal. The rules appear very strict and determined to keep everyone in line and under the same routine as each other every day.

During this time, modern capitalism was created which almost seems to contradict Thomas More’s Utopia vision.

The Reformation and Counter Reformation
This was a time of rebellion of less civilised nations against the intellectual domination of Italy.
The Popes’ authority was rejected.

An Englishman Italiante
Is a devil incarnate

An example of the views towards Italy at this time is shown by the works of Shakespeare, with many Italian villains such as Iago in the play ‘Othello’.
The revolt was both political and theological. It was a sign of them refusing to accept higher power.

Luther, Calvin and Loyola were all key figures in the Reformation and Counter Reformation
The Jesuits

The Rise of Science
16th Century – Theology
17th Century – Described as ‘The best age of Greece’
The 17th Century was a remarkable time not only for Astronomy and dynamics, but also other forms of science.

There were 4 Key figures in Science.
Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton

He was a Polish ecclesiastic.

He was one of the first to believe the sun to be at the centre of the universe, and the Earth being in a twofold motion.
His key writing ‘De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelstium’ was published the year he died. His heliocentric theory was claimed by a friend to only be a hypothesis when it was put forward. It is unclear how deeply Copernicus sanctioned the statement.
The book was dedicated to The Pope. During his time the Church was more liberal and his work was not condemned by the Catholic Church at least until the life of Galileo.

Kepler adopted the heliocentric theory, which much like Copernicus is the view that the Sun is the centre of the universe.

He suggested 3 Laws of planetary motion.
[The first two were published in 1609]
First Law – The planets describe elliptic orbits, of which the sun occupies one focus.
Second Law – The Line joining a planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal time.
[The third was published in 1619]
Third Law – The Square of the period of revolution of a planet is proportional to the cube of its average distance from the sun.

Considered the greatest of the founders of modern science.
He first discovered the important of acceleration in dynamics. The example given in the book is that ‘a body moving uniformly in a circle has at all times acceleration towards the centre of the circle.
Galileo felt that if a body is left alone, it will continue to move in a straight line with uniform velocity.
Only an action of force would change the rapidity or direction of motion.
[Newton later described this as the ‘first law of motion’]

One important contribution is his discovery that the Milky Way contained a number of individual stars. He also discovered the satellites of Jupiter.
However, there had always been seven heavenly bodies. These were the 5 planets, the sun and the moon. By adding Jupiter’s 4 moons, there would then be eleven. This number has no mystical properties. Traditionalists denounced the telescope and claimed the results were only delusions.

Galileo was condemned in 1616 for herecy (going against religion)


Removal of almost all traces of animism from the Laws of Physics.
Thanks to the work of Copernicus, Galileo d Kepler, Newton was able to take their theories a step further and developed Keplers’ three laws by proving that every planet has acceleration towards the sun at every moment.

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon is known for the phrase ‘Knowledge is Power’

Francis became a Lord Chancellor in 1618 but only lasted 2 years as he was prosecuted for accepting bribes from Litigants. This had condemned him to a fine of £40,000 as well as being imprisoned in the kings’ tower. However, the sentence was only partially executed as he did not need to pay the fine, and only spent four days in the tower.

He wrote ‘The Advancement of Learning’. Russell considers it to have a modern feel.
Bacon claims that philosophy should be kept separate from theology.

He was an empiricist (felt that knowledge came from experience) like Locke and Berkeley. He was also a keen admirer of mathematical method.

When the Long Parliament met in 1640, Hobbes fled to France out of fear of being sent to the tower. The next year he wrote ‘De Cive’, however it wasn’t published until 1647.

Hobbes was suspected of atheism, and because of this he could no longer print anything that revolved around controversial subjects.

Leviathan was written by Hobbes, and contained political opinions were royalist to the extreme.
Hobbes intended to show the evils of democracy.
He claims that ‘Life is nothing but a motion of the limbs, and therefore automata have an artificial life’

He explores the following in his book:-

- Man as an individual
- Hope that ‘some king’ would become a philosopher. Russell states that Monarchs are assured that the book is easy to read and can be found quite interesting.
- There is no universal church
- Hobbes hatred of the Church of Rome (because it puts spiritual power above the temporal).

One view that Hobbes insists on is that all men are naturally equal. He was also obsessed with anarchy, and the fear of it happening.
One other key point is Hobbes belief that God is not an object of philosophy.

Hobbes has also been described as a nominalist. He felt that objects given the same name/term don’t actually have anything in common other than that name. They are all unique and individual.

He is considered the founder of modern philosophy.
It marked the intellectual transition from the middle ages to the modern world.
Descartes also despised Aristotle, believing that his theories were full of errors.
He believed that old ideas were dominating the way that we all lived and wanted to change it.

Descartes most famous theory was Systematic Doubt which is also where he gained the phrase:-
‘I think therefore I am’

The idea revolves around the question of how we can be absolutely certain that something exist or is true.
It began when Descartes felt his good education was actually holding him back and was of no use to him. He believed ‘men of action’ were those to be around. The idea was that the jobs they did were real as they had repercussions if done wrong.
He also noticed that the things you are taught are only relevant to where you are at that time. As experience was so varied, he considered it to be useless.

Descartes decided to take apart everything he knew, all of his knowledge.
He started to question every element of what he knew, and asked himself whether they had any form of doubt that they are true.

He started with scepticism regarding the senses.
E.g. - Can I doubt that I am sitting here by the fire in a dressing-gown?

He originally felt that a demon could be tricking him, but then realised that he could not be deceived if he didn’t exist.
‘I may have no body this might be an illusion’

Russell suggests that Descartes only applied his theory half-heartedly, but still sees it as being of great philosophical important.
Descartes made one exception to the law of physics, claiming that a human soul can (by volition) alter the direction of motion.
Why Philosophy of Descartes was important - It brought to (at least) a near conclusion the dualism of mind and matter, which began with Plato, and developed by Christian philosophy.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

An Introduction to Essential Law for Journalists

Law is essential knowledge for any aspiring Journalist, without knowing the laws, there is a risk they could break it when reporting. In this blog i will look at the basic laws and knowledge that is required as well as observing a recent news story that explores some of the points raised.

Why Law is important to Journalism:-
- It’s a source of News.
- Crime always interests for a wide audience – murder, violence, fraud, deception.
This is shown by the large number of newspaper sales, particularly when a crime is on the cover.
Law is a constraint to what Journalists are able to. However, I do feel it’s important that Journalists are given as much freedom as possible, to ensure that the public receives what the information they desire. I’ve always understood that I need to stay aware of any unreasonable restrictions to this freedom. Although I do understand that certain restrictions have to be in place to protect information that shouldn’t be released to the public.
I agree with laws in the Editors Code such as ‘Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit’. These are vital in protecting UK citizens from suffering acts which are completely unacceptable not only in Journalistic terms.
It is essential that we maintain freedom of press and freedom of expression to avoid a country where people are even more afraid to voice their opinions.
The UK doesn’t have a constitution unlike most countries.

The law of Defamation

This restricts the allegations you can make in the press, Journalists can risk being sued for liable. It can constrain us, which therefore means we need to make sure we understand what we know is true and be able to separate fact from rumour. Not only does this protect us as Journalists, but it also ensures that we create the most reliable stories possible for the public.
An example of a court case recently in the news was story reported by ‘The Sun’ which involved footballer David Beckham being mentioned in court papers when a women called Shery Shabani stated that her husband Kambiz had incorrectly accused her of an affair with him. She hopes to gain full custody of her children as well as a restraining order on Kambiz claiming that the accusations were part of his ‘delusional thought process’. However, despite the minimal effect on the public in usual circumstances, the fact that it includes the mention of David Beckham (world known footballer and British celebrity) it becomes a story that the public would be interested in.
This also follows the recent claims by Irma Nici that she slept with the footballer for money, the momentum of this story and its vast publicity makes the story more relevant to the public at the time. I would assume that at any other time of the year such a story would not get much public interest as the women claims them to be untrue. However, with two stories in a very short space of time, it allows the media to create a bigger, longer lasting news story for the public to absorb and enjoy.

In the Sunday Mirror(03/10/2010) the story has progressed further. Irma Nici has shown intention to sue David Beckham for breaking the US constitution regarding free speech.
‘Her Lawyer Paul Rolf Jenson said “California law does not allow public figures like David Beckham to stifle free speech. Maybe he didn’t live here in Los Angeles long enough to learn how precious we consider our rights to tell the truth in print.’
It was also claimed that Beckham’s legal representatives pestered her along with dozens of paparazzi which has hospitalised her. This could be considered an example of when Journalists need to step back to avoid any form of persistent pursuit or harassment.

Criminal and Civil Law

Civil Law regulates conflicts between citizens ha wouldn’t usually generate interest amongst the public as a whole. This includes divorce, contracts, liable etc...
There are exceptions where Journalists would report civil law cases, such as those including celebrities (like the example mentioned above).
There is never normally a prosecution in civil law cases, they normally end with compensation etc... which would normally not be as extreme as Criminal Law punishments which allows a bit more flexibility with the amount of proof required when a decision is made.
Criminal Law deals with acts against the whole of society. One example includes murder.
The standard of proof for Criminal law cases must be beyond any reasonable doubt, which means the Jury must be completely sure of their verdict. The persecution must prove they are guilty beyond any doubt as the system ensures that at the beginning of the case they are seen as innocent. Along with this, if you arem prosecuted in a crimal law case, the punishments can be very extreme.

Civil Cases - Smith vs Smith
Criminal Cases - The State vs Smith or R vs Smith

A Magistrates Court is the lowest level of court and is the starting point of all crimes. The accused will first appear in this court and have the charge read to them, and will either plead guilty or not guilty. This will decide whether they get sent for sentencing in a high court for guilty), or sent to a trial court with a senior judge, jury etc (for not guilty).The court system is regulated by the supreme court.

I will now end this blog, as I begin to read the next part of the Essential Law for Journalists, and I am quite intrigued to learn these vital laws in more detail.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Brief Introduction to History and Context of Journalism

Today, Chris Horrie provided an overview of what we can expect to explore as we begin reading 'History of Western Philosophy' by Bertrand Russell and exploring Philosophy as a whole throughout the semester.

The main focus of the talk was the continuial differences between what is believed, and what is fact. This is of course a key point for Journalists to always remember when reporting any sort of information as mistakes in the past have lead to huge losses financially as well as leading people into a lot of trouble. I know for a facthati don't want to be one of those people, so i'll certainly be making sure I get my facts straight (I suppose getting them right on this blog will be a good start).

One famous phrase mentioned was 'I think therefore i am' said by Rene Descartes. The statement is intended to suggest that if a person can question their existence, that in itself proves that they do. It's a difficult theory to absorb and really think about, but i do see the point he is trying to make. The idea of being able to think (we presume) whatever you want without influence must be a sign that we truly exist.

It was made clear that the invention of the printing press in the 16th century lead to the world evolving at a much faster pace as well as essentially creating Journalism with the likes of Damien Defoe in the 16/17 hundreds. He clearly didn't have an easy time whilst writing all his work, however he continued to pursue it and for that he should be respected.
While our technology and knowledge has grown at a quicker and quicker pace in recent years, we can be sure that many of the philsophical points and suggestions that have been made will continue to create much debate for years to come.

And with a number of quotes thrown around during our first sample of a lecture, i would like to end this blog on an inspirational quote told by Chris Horrie himself. 'I don't care what you think, but i do care that you think.'

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Hello. My name's Daniel, but you can call me Dan or Danny. I'm 18 and from South London, not too fart from Wimbledon(although i've never watched the tennis there) and right next door to 'The Bill' (which has now ended), so nothing too exciting.
I enjoy watching films and playing football. I support Chelsea, but am not a glory supporter.
In my spare time i write and film amatuer productions.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The World Cup Aftermath

The World Cup is now over.

We had the thrills and spills of a magical Octopus, a dreadful England exit, and the constant hum of the vuvuzelas. There’s been a lot of talk about the impact this world cup will have on South Africa, but I think the vuvuzela will threaten to affect the whole world of football. There’s no way hiding them or pretending they never existed, they were watched by millions across the world.

Many people would say that they now love those crazy horns, whilst others are glad it’s finally over. But is it? Manchester United have already placed a number of them in their store, and surely a lot more clubs are going to follow the trend as they all try to raise a bit of extra cash in these troubling times.

Personally I would hate to see these in the premiership this upcoming season, our singing and chanting from the crowds is part of our countries charm. And if we have a load of them buzzing around, how will we all make ourselves heard? Yet you can be sure to hear some during the opening games, and depending on the number that appear, we may see an argument erupt over whether or not they should be banned. There’s already been talk of banning them in the 2012 Olympics which I think is a bit extreme as I wouldn’t expect this fad to last up to that point.

There was a temptation to dedicate this blog to the failure of the English national team in this campaign and list the huge number of faults and mistakes by both players and manager. But I think the issue has been stretched enough by the media so I won’t go on about it. All I want to say on this point is that England needs to refresh its image as this so-called ‘golden generation’ clearly isn’t working. We need to invest more in our yon talent instead of giving away our youth academy spots to foreign talent. Also Premiership teams need to stop loaning out their top British talent to lower divisions, and instead give them a chance to shine. Of course they’ll make mistakes, but that’s what makes you a better player. We are a nation obsessed with football, that must surely mean that we have opportunity to produce so much good quality talent, but we’re not taking those chances because the only focus in our minds is winning, instead of being about the perfect bass and being comfortable on the ball.

So much for not going on about it.

It was a spectacular event despite its flaws. This year’s world cup was very unique, it was almost magical for those in south Africa, and sitting watching events unfold from here in England it was still clear to me just how much this meant to those people. Their dreams had come to life and they were able to be so close to the world’s greatest players, and while some failed to shine, we were treated with some stunning goals, and an amazing atmosphere. Next stop Euro 2012 (and Chelsea winning the champions league at Wembley of course!)

Daniel Mackrell

Saturday, 30 January 2010

3. Why have pointless celebs?

“A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized”

I think that with the end of Celebrity Big Brother, it is only fitting that I address the world of celebrities, and explain exactly what is wrong with it.
We all love gossip, and hearing rumors about famous people, there’s nothing wrong with that. But why do we care about the lives of people that are just like anybody else? Who cares about Katie Price? What makes her life so exciting, because I just don’t get it. They make so much money from pointless interviews and guest appearances, and half the time nobody wants to see them!

However, despite all that, they remain celebrities, and make so much money from doing practically nothing except selling their soul to journalists, and even more depressingly- appearing on game shows.

I am a big fan of game shows. However, I HATE celebrity game shows. I find it much more exciting to see a ‘regular person’ fighting for everything, using the very limits of their (usually) small brain. Instead we have the air heads we call celebs having a bit of a laugh (among themselves) with not much of a care when it comes to winning or not.
What I really don’t understand is the charity part of the shows. They’re basically saying that if a celebrity can’t get through some hole in a wall, or get a multiple-choice question right, then their charity doesn’t get money. WTF?! That’s insane, has any produce actually ever stopped for a second and think about what they’re basically showing to the public? They’re deciding how much they donate to charity through the abilities of an idiotic celebrity. WHY? They should just give the money to the charity; they’re not going to do much else with it. Otherwise you’re just teasing the charities.

Next time you watch a celeb on a game show playing for their charity and fail, just take a few seconds to absorb it, and you’ll see just how ridiculous it is. Half the time they applaud afterwards! And then say the classic “well I had fun”. Give me a break! I’ve had enough of talentless celebrities having an easy ride through life, making so much money from random stupid TV appearances.

I respect those that truly deserve fame and fortune, and I congratulate them. Those are the ones that don’t resort to appearing on I’m a celebrity or Hole in the Wall. But for those that just try to tag along and to claw their way into the starlight, move out of my way, because I want to watch the real stars, not your plastic face!

“A celebrity is known by many people they are glad they don't know.”