Archive for March, 2009

Made almost a year ago during my MA. Glad to say I’ve come along way in terms of camera work and editing…next stop, work on that narrative! Voiceover is a bit sketchy as well on this.

No idea why it won’t embed now. Here’s the link.

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Great to see an ISP standing up to the draconian policies being trialled by the Federal Governemnt in Australia.

As well as the New Zealand government’s blocking approach, Kevin Rudd‘s ALP also seem to think it’s the government’s duty to step in and ban everything from porn to pro-euthanasia content. Not good for the future of a free media, not good for democracy in general. Good, therefore, to see ISP iiNet decide to pull out of the trials, although whether they’ll always have the option remains to be seen. In the meantime, I have to say I would clearly favour an ISP on the side of the consumer’s right to read what they want to read. Just wait until UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gets wind of this…oh, wait.

Update – a link to the ABC’s Q&A debate this past Wednesday featuring Communications Minister Stephen Conroy defending the policy (with the exception of the reprehensilbe Andrew Bolt).

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A good piece on for all journos who have ever wanted to slap a dimwitted PR. Charles Arthur has had enough, and is now insisting all press releases are directed to him via twitter, using the ‘@’ function.

Couldn’t agree more. I’ve recently, as the Aussies might say, ‘had a gutful’ with absolutely shit ‘stories’ about shit companies, from shit PRs who have no idea what I write about. Shit. Regardless of this morning’s swearing, I admit there is a role for PR in journalism, but as this piece points out, as if many good stories are ever going to come via this method.

A PR is either someone who loves PR (possible), someone who failed at journalism (perhaps), or someone who understandably went for the extra few grand on their first job, and never looked back (more than likely?).

Race Weep
Image by Mot via Flickr

This morning, two young boys lost their mother, when Jade Goody died in her sleep. What is not disputable is the tragedy of this.

What, however, is absolutely fair game is the fact that the bloody Prime Minister, for fuck’s sake, has paid tribute to somone who was initially famous for being a talentless bigot, even if she’s a ‘Princess Di from the wrong side of the tracks’, as Stephen Fry would have it, essentially due to dying, tragically, from cancer at 27. There’s just no two ways about this. Yes, it’s a cultural phenomenon, etc etc. But what the hell is he playing at? It’s not like the furore that were to occur were David Beckham to die, or Kylie Minogue, or any popular icon that Britains hold dear: They’re famous because people like them, and they like them because they’re talented. They’re not famous because people don’t like them. Or didn’t, even if they’ve forgotten.

The fact of the matter is that Jade Goody became popular (and all credit to her, and later Max Clifford) and hugely marketable, from being very unpopular with a huge swathe of the country. There’s a case for saying that only the middle classes thought she was awful, and it’s all snobbery, but this is simply what her fame, nay, notoriety, was based on. Sorry.

The awful thing is that some people will inevitbaly fall for this astute act of sincerity from Brown, as well as the Tory one. But many won’t be impressed. Really, it’s Jade and Max 1, Brown 0.

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The 13 March 1986 edition of The Sun, with the...
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I experienced one of the most frustrating moments of my journalistic career last week. All to do with questions being out of bounds.

Max Clifford, Britain’s PR king, agreed to be interviewed by me for the start-up business news channel I work for, Entrepreneur TV. He’s a pretty nice guy actually (no, the spin didn’t get me, I swear); even after postponing twice due to being swamped with Jade Goody on his books, he still found time to reschedule (after Goody’s wedding, obviously).

The interview covers aspects of Clifford’s business life, from early days working with The Beatles, to building and running his own business. Unfortunately for me, questions on ethics in media were not on the agenda. Naturally, there would have been no interview if I’d had proposed them to his PA beforehand. I also didn’t get his views on the future for press manipulation in the increasingly multi-platform world (will people like him hold such sway in ten years?), but considering he  told me he doesn’t even use a computer, I figured it’s not his strong point.

All in all though a very smooth interview – and I’m quite sure he wasn’t quaking in his boots beforehand.

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One of ITN's satellite vans
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I was browsing Blinkx content the other day, which for those that don’t know, is a fairly useful video search engine. The b2b web channel I’ve been creating content for, Entrepreneur TV (from has a distribution deal with them, as do ITN Source.

Well, it turns out ITN Source have posted, in all its technicolour glory, the full edition of the very first Channel Four News ever broadcast , way back when in 1982 (including the awesome ads and dated continuity announcements). Fronted by Peter Sissons, Sarah Hogg and Trevor McDonald, it is really interesting to see how much broadcast news has changed. One thing that really stood out for me is the utter length of packages and scripts. These days viewers get bored after two seconds without a cut to a visual (or do they? maybe it’s the programme editors who think the population are daft??), but here you have presenters practically reading an article into the camera. There’s one interesing report on the 1982 mid-term elections, shot in Texas which seems to go on forevvvvveeer. Amazing to think it’s within my (short!) lifetime.

So, to see that mid-terms report, a lead on the Thatcher government’s public spending, the aftermath of the Brixton riots, US and UK disagreement on the Faulklands, and suprisingly good graphics, get a good chair and click here.

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