Sunday, 27 November 2011

Law: contempt of court - case study

Chandlers case:

A contempt of court action has been launched against Sky News as it is alleged they breached a court order. It is said they reported the liberation of the Chandlers (couple who was held hostages by Somalian pirates for 13 months) before they reached a safe place. A safe place in this case would have been outside Somalia, and Sky reported the news while they were still in the country. If found guilty, Sky will be fined.

Christopher Jefferies case:

The Daily Mirror was fined £50 000 and the Sun £18 000 for contempt of court, “vilifying” Christopher Jefferies in the Jo Yeates trial. Jefferies was arrested on suspicions of murder, was kept in custody for three days and was then released without charge. Both papers asserted that Jefferies was linked to some paedophile offences and a 1974 murder case, which is certainly one of the most defamatory statements you could ever publish. It was also suggested that during his career as a teacher he sometimes acted inappropriately with students. All these allegations and statements were untrue.

Jefferies accepted a public apology from eight newspapers, as well as "substantial damages".

If Jefferies had been tried, all these allegations would have prevented him from getting a fair trial.

This could be the first time a paper is sued for contempt of court when the suspect doesn't end up being tried.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Plan modification - demo coverage


LOCATION CHANGE: We will be broadcasting from Southampton, in a union office on the Avenue (I'll confirm the exact address ASAP). This will allow us to get studio guests in, which would not be possible if we were based at University because of the picket lines. I am not very familiar with the production details, but I know that we will be using the Tricaster to broadcast the programme. We will go to the location on Tuesday AFTERNOON (around 4 pm) to set up the room, bring all the equipment and if we're lucky do a rehearsal. We will have to check that the Internet connection is working properly and that we can use their printer for the script.

We will have a rehearsal on Friday afternoon at 1 pm. The whole production team MUST be there.

ON-THE-DAY ROLE SWAP: Some of you have been assigned a new role. Apologies to those who were getting prepared for their previous role, but remember, this has been decided for the best of the programme!

OB TEAM: Aimee Pickering, Claire Lomas and Katie Rowles

Aimee: You will be the OB editor. You will be the link between the OB reporters and the editorial team (Will, Dom and myself). You will have to look at how long it takes to film, upload the footage on youtube, download it from youtube and get it ready for broadcast in order to establish a realistic plan. You will also have to be in contact with London Met Uni, Buckingham and Manchester as they will do OBs as well. Your job on the day will be to constantly be communicating with the OB reporters, download their footage from youtube, edit it if it needs to be, and bring it to the production team. You will have to keep the gallery informed of all the details, (location, duration, name of reporters etc) and keep them updated of the approximate time of the next OB. (I know this sounds obvious, but I am just writing EVERYTHING down tonight, I don't want to miss anything)

Katie and Claire: you will assist Aimee in this task while she's communicating with the gallery and the OB reporters.

STUDIO GUESTS: Lou O'Brien and Jake Gable

Lou: you will not go to Southampton on Wednesday. Instead, you will be our guest "getter" - you need to contact as many people as you can to get them in the studio - unions, councils workers, angry people, labour, tories, lib dem, anyone. Please do this ASAP - sorry for the short notice. Please tell all the guests you've already contacted about the new location. Allocate them a time slot as well. I know this is a hard task, but I chose you because I know you have created good contacts with the local councils/unions. Try to get SU presidents as well, anyone who could be involved in this strike.

Jake: Sorry Jake, you're not presenting anymore. It was decided today that 4 presenters was too much, therefore we only have two now. Instead, you will be our guest "chaperon". You will have to "warm them up", brief them on what's going on, make them feel comfortable. You're a chatty guy, you should feel comfortable in this role!

SCRIPT: Gareth Messenger and Graham Marshall

Gareth and Graham: you will be writing the script, helped by Angus. There will also be one of the presenters there to help you (Cara or Hana), so the script writing should go smoothly.


Southampton coverage: Ali will now be reporting with MA student Aarran Summers.

Basingstoke coverage: Lee and Sam will be reporting from Basingstoke.

BREAKING NEWS TEAM: Dael Gornall, Henry Lewin Titt and Ewan Kennerell

You all will be monitoring the news, checking Twitter, BBC and local news website for breaking news. As the breaking news happen, you will have to write a script for George Berridge, who will be our studio breaking news reporter.

REPORTERS: book all your equipment in advance, you won't be able to get to uni on Wednesday morning.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Becky Davies and Zoe-Louise Anderson

You will be filming the team in action on the day. This day needs to be in the WINOL records!!

Monday, 21 November 2011

National demo coverage - Content


Here are some general guidelines on what I want you to get, please take these into consideration as I have actually put a lot of thought into this!

To everyone who's going to do interviews: FRAME YOUR INTERVIEWS PROPERLY! As I said, this is not rocket science, everyone on this course knows how to do it, there is no excuse. It doesn't take more time to frame the interview properly. Zoom in, don't be scared to shove the camera in their faces! Brian said that about a billion times since the beginning of the year, and yet some interviews from the previous weeks looked - sorry but it's true - awful. If you keep doing the same thing/set up at every interviews, the end result will be the same. You have been warned...

Ali: Occupy London
This is a good opportunity to get beautiful GVs of London, don't miss this one. You should be able to do a 4 minute package. (You will have to reversion it to a two minute one) Get long interviews with the occupiers, and maybe get vox pops from passers by etc. Get as much content as you can.

Mikey: Uni round up
Get interviews with the SU presidents in Southampton uni, Southampton solent and Winchester University. Phone Bournemouth and Portsmouth as well. Vox pop students, as I think it would be interesting to find out if they know what the strike is about. Southampton uni is visually interesting, so you can get some good shots there - Solent is very dull in comparison. Your package should be 4 minute long, and same thing for you, you will have to reversion it.

Dave: Schools
This could be a difficult one, not going to lie. Teachers usually aren't really keen to talk to the press. Try to get head teachers in school in Winchester and Southampton. I would encourage you to try as many schools as you can, you might get lucky. Also - but I'm sure you already know this - don't film kids, even outside the school. Even if we can't identify them on the footage, people might complain that you were filming in the first place. Try to interview parents, how the strike is going to affect them, if they'll have to take a day off work to look after their kids...

George: Libraries cuts
Get interviews with librarians, and library users (I know, quite obvious isn't it?) get interviews with the council as well. GVs of books (exciting...) how locals are going to be affected etc...

Sam: Police
Get in touch with London Met police - they probably have released (or soon will) a statement on how many officers will be there on the day, what means (bats, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, kalashnikovs...) they will use if things escalate. You can get archive footage from the demo a year ago. Get an interview with Hampshire police - I want Southampton and Winchester police.

Jake: Bin men
Go to Southampton and Winchester, interview them - it would be good if you could get some shots of them working. Interview/ vox pops local residents on how the recent industrial actions affected them (only in Southampton)

Cara: Transport
Find out if trains/buses/TFL will go on strikes, get interviews, GVs of trains/buses, interview users who are going to be affected.

Hana: Youth
Look into all the cuts that have been made to "youth services" Tuition fees that went up, grants, scholarship etc that have been cut. Find young people who have been affected. Look into apprenticeships, if fundings have been cut (I genuinely don't know about this, so look it up)

Daniel: Unions packages
What we want here is an expo piece on the main unions - TUC, UCU, Unison, Unite etc... get relevant archive footage from Lou and I for interviews with Union reps. Have graphics to explain what the unions do, which group of workers they support etc.

Uldduz: Pensions
recap what is going to happen to pensions (people retiring at 67 instead of 65) try to get interviews with people who are concerned by this issue. We need a lot of details on this as it is one of the main reasons why people are going to demonstrate on Wednesday. Find people in their late 50s/early 60s who are going to be affected soon.

Tom: Case study

Flick: Case study - social workers

Content from other universities

London Met: one package and 3 Skype updates

Salford: One package

Buckingham: One package

Leeds: TBC

Newcastle: TBC

Monday, 14 November 2011

Wednesday 30 November - coverage of national demonstration

On November the 30th the WINOL team will be running a 6 hour programme covering LIVE the national demonstration in the South – delivering breaking news as they happen on the day.

This is to give everyone a vague idea of what is going to happen on the day, but I'm sure there will be many changes in the schedule. If you want to get involved in producing content please do, anything will be extremely helpful. We need to have A LOT of content in the hard drive in case the Outside Broadcast don't work, which is very likely to happen. If you're not happy with your job, please come to me and we'll try to sort it out. I will shortly give individual deadlines to anyone producing content.

Gathering content

Hana Keegan: Studio guests – Seb Miell, Mick Jardin, Tommy Geddes, Martin Tod

Becky Gray: on the day – coverage of London

Felicity Houston: on the day – coverage of London

Lou O'Brien: Interview with Patrick Davies (Winchester Labour) George Beckett (Winchester city council leader) Royston Smith (Southampton City Council leader)

On the day - coverage of Southampton

Ali Al-Jamri: On the day - coverage of Southampton

Michael Connolly: on the day - coverage of Winchester

Uldduz Sohrabi Larki: on the day – coverage of Winchester

Gareth Messenger: on the day - coverage of Basingstoke

Lee Jarvis: interview with Basingstoke city council leader / on the day – coverage of Basingstoke

Tom Morgan: Interview with Jeremy Moulton (Southampton city council)

Mikey Smith: pre-package: interviews with every SU presidents in the area – Southampton, Winchester and Southampton Solent, students vox pops.

London Met, Manchester and Buckingham universities will deliver news packages as well.



Production Editor: Domonique Jenkins

Director: Justina Chlad

Sound: Claire Lomas

Vision Mixing: Katie Rowles

Jack Courtez


Becky Davies

Graham Marshall

Daniel Mackrell

Ewan Kennerell

Poppy Murray

Zoe Louise Anderson

Presenters: Hana Keegan, Cara Laithwaite, Aimee Pickering and Jake Gable and/or David Champion


Charlotte Clarke: Graphics

George Berridge: 2 way in newsroom – national overview of the demo

Sam Ashton, Dael Gornall and Henry Lewin-Titt: taking content from youtube (uploaded earlier during the day by reporters) and editing it.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Once again this week I have been "lucky" as I managed to get an interview with Chris Huhne - and in this case luck was actually involved. One of my friends works for the Lib Dem in Eastleigh and told me about this local conference happening last week end. He gave me all the contact details I needed. The only thing I had to do was to ring the press office and ask for a press pass, and arrange the interview with the cabinet minister.

The hardest thing was to actually prepare the interview - I didn't know how much time we would have, but I suspected that he probably wouldn't spare half an hour with me. I was right, the whole interview must be about 5 minute long! The main topic was Europe, and I managed to slip a personal question at the end about the recent media storm around him.

I was quite happy with it, until his ex wife Vicky Pryce revealed two days later the juicy details about their divorce and that she wanted to pursue a career in politics. At which point Brian asked: "Why didn't you ask him about his ex wife?!"

Indeed a few weeks ago I heard that she might go into politics, but it was only a rumour at the time, which is why I didn't ask. I guess next time I won't bother then, rumour or not, I'll ask anyway. Only question is, is it in the public interest to know Huhne's opinion about his ex wife's potential political career? (This is a genuine question by the way, not one of my sarcastic ones so feel free to reply).

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Law lecture 6 - Confidentiality and privacy

Confidentiality – official secret act & test of confidentiality
Privacy – disputed territory between article 8 and 10

In the public interest – not just of interest to the public

public interest: pcc definition: detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety, protecting public health and safety/ preventing the public from being mislead

confidentiality – official secrets act
The new act eliminated the public interest defence if you breach this act. There is no protection to the journalist just because the info was previously published

Leaked secret information to a journalist is potentially very dangerous.

Only one defence via the human rights act with article 10: freedom of expression

Official secret act 1911: offence – punishable by 14 years in prison to

approach or inspect a prohibited space
make a sketch, a plan or model that might be of interest to an enemy
obtain, collect or communicate info that may be useful to an enemy

common law secret: entitled to have secrets so long as it's not against the public interest, a right to pass on this secret and that it will be kept secret and won't be passed on to other people.

Someone who's not entitled to pass on our secret: lawyer or doctor for instance, employee or very close member of family – if someone reveal secret info to a journalist, it could be third party breach of confidence, which is a crime.

If someone can persuade a judge that a third party breach confidence is a bout to take place because of your article, that person can obtain an injunction to prevent the story being published. You should contact the concerned people/organisation before you publish the info, otherwise it will look like you haven't tried to check the info was true or not.

Quality of confidentiality
* has the necessary quality of confidence – this is important and not already known
was provided in circumstances imposing an obligation – when a reasonable person would think it would be kept secret
there was no permission to pass on the information
detriment is likely to be caused to the person who gave the information
if any of the above is missing, then it's not confidential and it can be revealed without breach


Personal secrets or privacy

article 8 states: everyone has a right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence

Common law: judges make the law as they go along...? statutory law is decided in parliament/house of commons

it can involve publishing the details of family life of any person, famous or not. Easy to obtain pictures, but do you have the right to publish them? Only if you have consent. Explicit/implicit consent and it has to be in the public interest.

Princess Caroline – case 2004

ECHR ruling

there is no legitimate public interest in knowing the whereabouts and behaviour of individuals generally in their private life despite appearing in public, regardless of their degree of fame.
A legitimate expectation of protection of one's private life is to be extended to be the criteria for assessment.
A fair balance is to be struck between the right to privacy and the freedom of press


Easy to get because the person who wants him claims that something illegal is about to happen (breach of confidence)

Be aware that injunctions with anonymity and super injunctions (not allowed to say anything) are different.

Super injunctions have been broken by MPs using parliamentary privilege – and journalists using qualified privilege.

Max Mosley case

in his judgement Mr Justice Eady said that Mosley had a reasonable expectation of privacy – in relation to his sexual activities – no matter how unconventional they were.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

WINOL - Lucky?! I think not

I apologise in advance, but I am going to have a bit of a rant today. For those who don't know me very well, there's absolutely nothing unusual about that.

This week I have worked quite hard. First of all I followed up the council v union dispute in Southampton, which involved interviewing the Southampton City Council deputy leader and the Unison rep. That happened on Monday. I arranged the interviews myself, and I now have good contacts within the city council as well as the unions, which makes my life a lot easier.

On Tuesday I went to Westminster to interview Winchester MP Steve Brine about Europe. I arranged the interview the previous week - well in advance. I went there on my own, paid for the travel expenses. I had to go through security at Westminster and was ready to face the possible outcome if the metal detector did beep - that policeman with the rubber gloves looked nasty. Luckily it didn't - I guess I won't find out any time soon what happens when it does. Maybe I should send an FOI...

So I did all this work. And the rest of the team worked very hard too this week which is why the final bulletin was such a success.

And today some people from the BJTC paid us a little visit. They gave us feedback after the bulletin was recorded. It seemed that they were overall impressed with the quality of our output. And then it all went downhill when the man kept saying that we were lucky. So apparently we were lucky to get an interview with Steve Brine, we were lucky that this story was happening in Bournemouth, and Michael (Connolly) was lucky to be able to film ice hockey games. I must admit, I felt slightly irritated/insulted at this point...

I imagine that he certainly doesn't see quality student work that often, otherwise he wouldn't assume that it is simply a matter of luck. We all worked really hard to get there and to make it happen. It's really unfair on us to make the confusion between hard work and luck! I understand that in journalism you do need a bit of luck at times, but most of it is organisation. I didn't bump into Brine, he didn't suggest "hey, would you like to interview me? I've got stuff to say!" No.

It's hard to produce student journalism work. People don't usually want to talk to you, because you're a nobody and have a very small audience. Like that lovely character I met a few weeks ago who said to me "Winchester what? Never heard of you" with a look of disdain on his face.

So here's this week's news report with Steve Brine:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

WINOL - week 3 and 4

So it seems like I've been made the official Southampton strike correspondent, which is probably my own fault. In week 3 I went to cover the council workers strike, who were picketing outside the Civic Centre. I was pleased with the quality of the news package I produced.

There is room for improvement, as Rachael Canter (BBC South news reporter) and Angus said that my two interviewees (City council deputy leader and Union rep) should be facing opposite directions. Also the fact that I mixed archive footage and recent footage could have been confusing for the viewers.

Now the dispute between the council and the unions being extremely complicated (the Daily Echo makes it sound like it's simple - well, it's not), I've had to produce weekly updates for the bulletin. It was technically easy as we did it as an OOV (or underlay for Angus!) but writing a 20 second script to sum up what has been six months of dispute AND give the update proved to be a difficult task.

Here is the news report:

In week 4, I was eventually getting into my investigative reporter job, as I received the result of a Freedom of Information request that was finally interesting. It revealed that up to 38 serving police officers in Hampshire have criminal convictions. Chris and I discussed all the possible legal issues with the story. We could use the figures as Hampshire police published them themselves, but we had to be very careful with the wording of the article. We have not had any complaint - yet.

We did a video piece - which involves myself talking with a graphic in the background.

I'm not pleased with my delivery, I know I can do a lot better than that - but for some reason it didn't happen that day. Also I'd like to say that the lighting in the studio did not do me any favour.

Sportsweek - 26 October 2011

Having no interest in sports, I was reluctant to present Sportsweek, but Gareth Messenger (Sports editor) managed to convince me that it would be good fun. And it was!

The fact that the links are pre-recorded takes the pressure off. I would not have been able to record everything in one go, as most of the script did not make sense to me. It still doesn't.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Law lecture 4 – Qualified privilege

Justification – statement could be defamatory, but it is true and you can prove it.
Fair comment: you could defame so and so, “this guy is bad at football” which is a defamatory statement – but if you genuinely believe that this guy is bad at football, it is called called fair comment. You couldn't use this defence if malice was involved – it has to be based on facts.

Qualified privilege – common law qualified privilege and statutory qualified privilege (for court reporting)

Privilege in law means exemption of the law. Above the law.

The queen has absolute privilege. Judges have absolute privilege when they are sitting in court – in term of what they say. You can defame anyone in court, you cannot be sued for it.

Journalists, in court, have qualified privilege, to be able to repeat/report defamatory statements.

Lawyer has absolute privilege.

Journalist – qualified privilege: someone has privilege when they report a court hearing so long asit is contemporaneous and free from error and it is without malice. If you apply these rules, qualified privilege is as good as absolute privilege.

Always say that if the defendant pleaded guilty/not guilty. Always say “the case continues”. You must give equal prominence to defence/prosecution. Otherwise you'll be guilty of libel and contempt of court.

Other place for QP: Parliament. In exactly the same way, anything said in parliament is protected, so long as it's accurate fair and contemporaneous.

Robert Maxwell – he was running the funding of the labour party – was accused of being involved with the KGB

If someone in Winchester city council says the leader of the labour group is a cocaine addit, you cant print it unless you've got a full refutation.

QP in common law

ie: made by judges convention etc... not by statue

case: Toogood v Spyring
Clegg case (northern Ireland) British soldier who shot youths in Ireland who were pro IRA. The guy went to jail and there was a “free Clegg campaign” - some argued he was only doing his duty by shooting IRA terrorists. QP was then applied to this campaign in order for journalists to be able to report what they were saying without being sued.

Albert Reynolds vs Sunday Times

Child sexual abuse in a catholic church - before it was widely known. Probably the worst thing you can be accused of in terms of defamation.

The ST alleged that PM Reynolds was involved in covering up child abuse in the Catholic Church. He sued, and won the case. The Sunday Times appealed.

1 – the seriousness of the allegation – the more serious the more protection
2 – the nature of the information and the extent to which the subject matter is a matter of public concern
3 – the source of the information: the more authoritative the source, the more you're entitled to report the allegation
4 – The steps taken to verify the information – there must be a reasonable attempt in the time available to disprove the info.
5 – the status of the information
6 – the urgency of the matter: news is a perishable commodity – it needs to be urgent
7 – whether comment was sought from the claimant
8 – whether the article contained the gist of the claimant's side of the story
9 – the tone of the article
10 – the circumstances of the publication, including timing

Do not print your story with “we couldn't contact them for comment”

the Galloway case (a Reynolds defence fails)

The Daily Telegraph made defamatory allegations against him, saying that he was a spy working for Saddam Hussein. There was no defence of justification. But it was a serious matter obtained from official documents. They phoned Galloway and he denied it. G. sued and he won. The DT attempted a Reynolds defence. The documents didn't constitute proof.

Another failure: Mohammed Abdul Latif

Was accused by the Wall street journal who said he was financing terrorism. They couldn't prove it but they thought it was true. They were only relying on QP – they hoped they had sufficient evidence to make this allegation. They lost the case in british court. They appealed and won.

No legal definition of public interest but the pcc has one:
-detecting or exposing rime or serious impropriety
-protecting public health and safety
-preventing the public being misled by an action or statement of an individual or an organisation.

Law lecture 3 - Defamation

What is defamation? It is what you write/broadcast about someone/company that tends to:

- lower them in estimation of right-thinking people
- cause them to be shunned or avoided
- disparages them in their business trade or profession
- exposed them to hatred, ridicule or contempt

Defamation via pictures:
- common danger in TV
- careless use of background shots with voice over can be defamatory

Reputation and meaning

Reputation is precious, especially if you are in public life, have money or both
meaning as interpreted by reasonable man
inference = hazard
innuendo = hazard
assess the whole context


Libel defences:

Justification: it's true and I can prove it
Fair comment: honestly held opinion based upon facts, also in public interest
Absolute Privilege: court reporting
Qualified privilege: police quotes, pressers
Bane and antidote: defamation removed by context
apologies and clarifications

Reynolds defence – it must be:

-in the public interest
-product of responsible journalism

No defence:
-when you have no checked your facts
-when you haven't referred up
-when you have not put yourself in the shoes of the person you write about
-got carried away by a spicy story
-not bothered to wait for lawyer's opinion

recognise risk:
-who am I writing about and could they sue?
-is what I'm writing potentially defamatory?
-do I have a defence?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Law lecture 2 -reporting crime and law court

Reporting crime and law court – chapter 2-7

Contempt of court: It can be as simple as disrupting a court of justice or using recording equipment - but for journalists this is the biggest risk: (Mac Nae's definition) "When material is published which creates a substantial risk of serious prejudice or impediment to particular legal proceedings which are active". In human words, you cannot publish anything about the accused person or victims, (apart from what is listed below) you cannot interview their friends, enemies or witnesses - while the case is active. It could influence the jury and make them base their opinion on the wrong pieces of evidence. In fact you should not interview witnesses of a crime, even when the trial is over.

Pre trial reports – 7 points (What you can publish when the case is active)

-names of defendants, ages, addresses, occupations
-charged faced or a close summary
-name of court and magistrate's names
-Names of solicitors or barristers present
-date and place to where case is adjourned
-Any arrangement as to bail
-Whether legal aid was granted

When does a case become legally active? – a definite prospect of a person facing trial
-When police make an arrest
-When an arrest warrant is issued
-A summons is issued by magistrates
-A person has been charged

Detention without charge:
-Police have 24hrs to question
-Senior officers can extend by 12hrs
-Magistrates can extend by 36hrs
-Cannot exceed 96hrs
-In suspected terrorism cases – up to 28 days

Categories of offences

-Indictable only – possible sentence of 5yrs+
-Either way – can go to crown court or Magistrates court
-Summary: stays with magistrates

Magistrates' powers

-6 months jail – fines up to £5,000
-Suspended sentences
-Conditional discharge
-Community orders, binding over
-ASBOs (Anti Social Behaviour)

Key stages of trial

-prosecution opening
-Key prosecution witnesses
-defence opening
-key defence witnesses
-judge's summing up
-Jury sent out, deliberation and verdict

Law lecture 1

Here are my notes from the lecture.

Law lecture 1 – chapter 1

Plan for the next eight weeks:

Outline of the legal system (England and Wales)
Crime reporting and the courts
Libel and defamation
Investigative journalism and privilege
Confidentiality and privacy
Freedom of information
Copyright and codes of conduct
Reporting elections

Lord Chief Justice Paul Judge (for England and Wales)
DPP: Director of Public Prosecutions (Keir Starma)
Ken Clarke: Justice minister

Outline of the court system:

Supreme court
Appeal court
High court
Crown courts (Criminal law)
Magistrate courts (Criminal law)
County court (Civil law)
Coroners court (unexplained deaths?)
Employment tribunals (E.T.)

Winol - Week one and two

Welcome back on le blog de Julie. I have finally decided to get started on this blog, and I'm going to write about Winol / media law as often as I can. There, I've said it. I've got no choice but to do it now.

So this year I am meant to be investigative reporter, which is a great job, as well as being extremely difficult. Being investigative reporter means finding stories that aren't in the news agenda. Which means... I've got to find ideas, question everything I see/hear/read etc. And read the news. Radio 4, the Guardian and BBC News have become my best friends. And for entertainment I watch the French news when I come home at night.

I have decided to focus mainly on Freedom of Information Requests. And it is not as easy as I thought. Take Hampshire Constabulary for instance. They really, really, really hate FOIs, and they'll do anything to delay your request. Sounds like they've got something to hide.... In any case, when I sent this request: "How many vehicles - including bicycles - computers and printers were stolen in the last 10 years from Hampshire Police?" I certainly did not expect this response:

" Dear Ms Cordier

Perhaps you can clarify your request, please - are you including computers and printers under the category of 'vehicles' ?"

When I said they'll do anything to delay your request, it means ANYTHING, including making themselves sound like retards.

Anyway, in the past two weeks I have not been investigating much I'm afraid. But it'll come. Instead, in week one, I mostly helped the second years with the technical side of news reporting. I went filming with Lou, and helped people on Final Cut Pro. In fact it was a great confidence boost as I remembered how nervous I was last year at the same time, and how much I've learnt since then. I don't stress anymore when I interview people, and I can edit a package in less than 2 hours. Which is pretty outstanding considering that in December I spent a whole night (from 7 pm til 5 am...) editing a 1'30" long package!

In week two, Chris walked into the room and stepped all over my beautiful news story-to be. I wanted to "investigate" whether the university had met their own targets regarding education access for people from disadvantaged background. Instead he entrusted me with an investigation that shall remain confidential for now...

Then Becky (my dear news editor) decided that I should do a story on bacon. Well, Chris had heard of a student who had to google how to cook bacon and thought that would make a fascinating story. Uldduz (second year news reporter) had already organised the interview with the girl-who-can't-cook-bacon, but as she had already a package in the news bulletin I was given the story. Putting this story together was very entertaining, but writing the script was difficult. I got help from Cara, Becky and Mikey - he's the one who thought about the "pig's ear" pun! And for those who thought I've been nasty in the script, I was strongly encouraged by Angus to do so. So I only followed my lecturer's advice really.

here's my tasty "news" story:

Friday, 9 September 2011

Grape picking

Monday, 2 May 2011

A glimpse of French education in philosophy - Part II


A topic particularly interesting for journalists since it deals with facts, figures and people‘s stories.

Can historians avoid interpreting History? Problem: Can historians be objective? How can history be a science?

History’s handicaps
There is no direct observation on history - only documents and people’s memory can reconstruct the events. From this point of view, historians cannot establish an objective truth about History. People who left the evidence were themselves biased - since they were going through the events -and therefore played an active roles, whether spectators or actors. Some documents are missing as well, which means that historians have to analyse partial and biased pieces of evidence. This issue would inevitably lead to interpretation.

There is also a problem linked to individuals: extremely biased people, like communists or Nazis would give a false account of their time in their writings. Some people would even deny that the Holocaust happened. How can historians deal with those issues in order to establish an accurate account of History?

A scientific reconstruction of History

a) Historians gather documents of the studied era, study and criticise them
b) Questionning of the authenticity, the source and value of the document
c)The historians must question the truthfulness of the document as well as the coherence of it. This is why it needs to be confronted with other documents of the same era. Like other sciences, History can improve with the new updates of database.
According to Popper, if all the available documents have been taken into account and if they allow historians to verify their facts and potential theories, then History has been reconstructed in a scientific manner.

But History is not really a science…
Historians consider the events in themselves, study different people, governements and eras and those cannot be simplified into a general rule like in science. History is not an exact science given that historians have to interpret the facts within their context.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

A glimpse of French education in philosophy… part I

Going through my external hardrive this morning I was surprised to find that I had kept my philosophy revision notes for my Baccalaureate. Many topics that I studied aren’t included in the HCJ lectures, so I thought I’d share a few of them on this blog.

Imitation principle

Art must represent something that already exists according to Aristotle, which distinguishes it from simple know-how. He believed that people had a natural tendency for representation of reality – poetry, plays – because it generates pleasure/joy. Aristotle wanted to give this natural dimension to pleasure: it can also be intellectual. In his theory he attacked Plato’s idea that separates imitation from truth and reason.


Art must involve genius, otherwise it is only a simple work, not a work of art. But philosophers had different ideas regarding the definition of genius.

According to Plato, genius is a phenomenon that cannot be explained, it’s a divine inspiration, a kind of surnatural delirium. The artist only becomes a medium between God and mortal people.

Kant believed that an artist had genius/talent when he was unable to explain how he made the work of art. If the “artist” follows determined rules, then he’s just applying general rules in order to make a product. The artistic product comes from talent and imagination. Technique and talent make the artist.

Stravinsky (XXth century Russian pianist) didn’t believe in genius. According to him, a work of art is made with technique/know-how and emotions. The creation process comes from inspiration, which is an emotion.

Nietszche demystified the idea of genius. The process of creation is a constant work, and the idea of genius itself is an illusion. The viewer has an impression that the result was easily achieved when watching the finished work of art.

Rules of art

Art revolutions don’t allow us to establish a knowledge/understanding of beauty.

Some works of art don’t suffer any change in rules/taste/fashion/current/genre. This is why we can empirically set rules of art – determined from the previous work of arts, what works and what doesn’t work, according to Hume.

Can anyone judge beauty?

Still according to Hume, a good judge must have an innate sensitivity, master a form of art, and must refuse any kind of prejudices.

Understanding, sensitivity and imagination are essential qualities when juding a work of art, according to Kant. Everyone is equal when it comes to art, it must generate pleasure without needing previous knowledge or concept.

Bourdieu disagreed with this idea: in his case he believed that the pleasure people get out of art is different according to which social class they come from.

If a group of people from various social backgrounds have a look at this p
icture - Hands of a farm woman by Russell Lee, it is quite likely that they will have different thoughts/feelings about it.

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?
Click here to find out*

*Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Keynesianism for Dummies

Keynesianism is an influential economic theory developed by British economist John Maynard Keynes in the first half of the 20th century, according to which liberalism is not the answer in times of economical crisis. The market doesn't regulate itself, and the State needs to play an active role in the recovery. The State's role in this case is to reflate the economy.

The idea is simple: according to Keynes, wages regulate demand. The State must inject money into the economy in order to boost consumption. If wages go up, the demand will grow, and therefore the production will restart, which itself will create new jobs. If wages go down, it's the opposite scenario: unemployment, weak consumption & production. Keynes was also opposed to excessive saving, which was due to pessimistic speculation on the economy. It would then result in a climate of financial uncertainty and the consumption would be affected.

This theory refutes Say's law, or law of the market. Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist born in the 18th century. The main idea in the theory is that if the product is a good quality product the demand will create itself, not needing the help of the State. Pumping money into the economy will just boost the inflation, it will not create a real demand.

"The production of commodities creates, and is the one and universal cause which creates a market for the commodities produced."
James Mill, Scottish economist

And here is a simple graphic that illustrates macroeconomics...