Posts Tagged ‘Channel 4 News’

I thought I would post an old film I pitched and researched for More4 News before they went under. I never got a copy of it before I returned to Australia, but one of the featured interviewees posted it on YouTube, so I ripped it.

It shows that private prisons were, on the whole, poorer performers than state-run jails when KPIs were compared.

Apologies for the quality.

I carried out the research on this film – ie, the important bit ;) This was done with FOIs, or freedom of information requests, patience, and plenty of cross referencing to look for trends etc. The film also won headlines some UK broadsheets at the time.

Other stuff from my records:


My FOIs and stat-crunching showed that;

For the last quarter for which there was meaningful data, private prisons performed better than the average for all prisons in only 3 out of 17 categories.

They performed worse in ten out of 17, and the same in four out of 17 categories.

Of 15 prisons given a 4 for ‘exceptional’ performance, not one was a private prison (also under-represented)

Of 17 prisons that were given a 2 for ‘requiring development’, private prisons were over-represented, with two of their number featuring.


The returned FOI also show that public prisons and private prisons’ performance is measured against a set of requirements/categories, but public sector prisons are then cross-checked against an extra 12 categories – so are in fact more rigorously examined – and still performed better. This seems ridiculous – I’ve been told they plan to change this.

Woulda been nice to get a bit more credit…but am getting there these days.

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Dateline (Australian TV program)
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Here’s a link to what I think is probably the most exciting piece of reportage I’ve seen in a long time – Norwegian Paul Refsdal’s film as an embed with the Taliban. Yes, the fucking Taliban.

First noticed it when Channel 4 News reported on it (not sure if they screened the whole thing), then SBS‘s Dateline showed it in Australia.

I knew I would like it when I heard about it – but I thought in hindsight that the sheer bravado and possibly bravery/lunacy in pursuit of the story would be the clincher. In fact, it’s amazing because it showed me up to be a guy, like many others, who knows nothing about the Taliban… I select and edit what international stories make it on to the SBS World News website on a daily basis, but this unique portrayal of ulitmately human Taliban fighters, shocked me. So dang ignorant.

Who would have thought these were such regular dudes? (minus the suicide attacks etc, I guess.)

Great stuff.

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More4 News title card.
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Isn’t The Independent’s SEO implementation good? Well, I never thought so until now, impressed as I was with The Guardian, The Telegraph, and the Mail (when searching for Britney Spears, of course).

I just googled ‘Private Prisons More4’ to come up with the news package I pitched and researched for More4 News – and up came the Independent in first spot, with Channel 4 /More4 in third.  Strange online world. Always found Channel Four (at least Channel Four News) to have good SEO itself.

To summarise the package, despite the growing use of online prisons, they don’t seem to be performing quite as well as our good-old state-run prisons, according to a range of criteria. Funny that.

So anyways, here’s the report I laid all the paving stones for before handing over (not bitter – bloody happy to be working for a quality news provider at the moment!), while here is the Independent’s take on our findings.

I include this as I have found it interesting, the last few months, to view a colleague’s ability to gain coverage for our More4 News stories – at least those involving investigative journalism and original work – by feeding print journalist details pre-broadcast, ensuring a good name check for More and presumeably some more viewers. Mind you, in 2009 the least they could do is link to the damn report online. Oh well. Old dogs, new tricks…

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