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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.