Friday, 26 October 2007

Guest Speaker: Sue Roberts (External Affairs Manager of the Press Complaints Commission)

Sue Roberts, External Affairs Manager of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) today came to Woodlane, Falmouth to introduce first year journalism students to ‘The Code’.

The Press Complaints Commission is a British independent body which deals with complaints from members of the public about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines.

Mrs Roberts revealed that the PCC originally began life as a voluntary press organisation called the ‘Press Council’ in 1953, with the aim of maintaining high standards of ethics in journalism.

Mrs Roberts commented that, “We (the PCC), attempt to resolve complaints quickly and amicably in the best way.”

The PCC also enforces the editors ‘Code of Practice’ which is framed and revised by the Editor’s Code Committee.

The Editor’s Code Committee is comprised of independent editors of national and regional newspapers as well as magazines.

In addition to this, Sue added that, “Around 60% of the committee are independent, non press members and around 40% of the rest of the committee are press members (editors)”.

‘The Code’ includes 16 sections ranging from: ‘Accuracy’ (Code 1) to ‘Payment to Criminals’ (Code 16).

The aim of ‘The Code’ according to the PCC is to, ‘set the benchmark for ethical standards, protecting both the rights of the individual and the public’.

Each of the 16 sections are reviewed once a year, to accommodate issues which have arisen over the previous year in the industry.

The main issue within the last year, according to Mrs Roberts has been, “Privacy” (Code 3).

If a journalist is to break one of these codes “they will be in a lot of trouble” added Mrs Roberts.

During her speech Mrs Roberts also mentioned that the PCC: “has around 40 days” to decide whether a complaint is upheld or not.

In 2006, the PCC received 3,325 complaints from members of the public. Around two thirds of these complaints were related to alleged factual inaccuracies, whilist 25% of all complaints were privacy issues.



Word Count: 325

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Critical Analysis - Institutions of Mass Media

The institutions of mass media can be analysed through from a variety of different angles which can often lead to a difference in opinion, when it comes to defining what the mass media actually represents.

Firstly the determinism sociology of mass media model states that determinist traditions emphasise relations of media to dominant groups. It argues that the mass media is used to control people and therefore be used as a propaganda tool.

There are various example of this throughout history. A Current example of this would be the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda, who use various media forms to brainwash and recruit potential terrorists.

Another example of this would be Adolf Hitler’s restrictions on the media in Germany in the 1930s/1940s. In 1936 Hitler used the model in the Berlin Olympics to show the world how ‘powerful’ the Nazi’s were and also to promote Nazi ideology.

The Frankfurt School is a school of
neo-Marxist critical reseach, social research and philiosophy was exempt from this model during the Hitler years, as it was moved to New York when Hitler came to power. It later returned to Germany after Hitler's raign was over.

On the hand the pluralist view of the mass media sees the media as important agencies within a free and democratic society. This model also states that rather than converting the masses, the media simply reinforces its elected beliefs therefore dispersing the power to its audience.

This liberal stance is used most commonly in: Britain, France, Germany and Australia, through the means of general and local elections.

Both models are comprised of contrasting viewpoints, however what is certain is that both know of the importance of mass media. In modern day society, I think it is essential that the media does inform, but not persuade.

By only releasing the facts it is then allowing its consumers to make up their own thoughts and judgements on a particular topic. An example of this is the contrasting viewpoints between west and eastern newspapers on the current situation in Iraq, each having different viewpoints with an added bias.


Word Count: 345

Writing For The Media - News Assignment 3

Croxford Hospital has been forced to close today, due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, as four people, including a new born baby are infected.

The outbreak was confirmed by the hospital around 7PM yesterday evening on the Daneway Ward, leaving four patients and a midwife needing treatment at the hospital’s Parkhurst Ward.

The newly born baby, who was born on Friday, became ill over the weekend, prompting the hospital to send his family home on Monday evening.

Lily Harborne, 59, grandmother of the baby said, “They’ve kept the baby in for treatment and we’re not allowed to visit at the moment. We are all absolutely distraught”.

Up to 250 patients in medical and surgical wards are currently being transferred to nearby hospitals in an attempt to contain the disease.

A hospital spokesman said, “It is possible that more cases will be discovered as the incubation for the disease is two to ten days, but we stress that the disease is not communicable from person to person”.

Patients waiting for non-emergency operations have been sent home and have had appointments rescheduled.

Those in need of emergency healthcare have been asked to call 999 and ask for advice regarding their nearest emergency facility.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be transferred from person to person, however it can be fatal. The disease can potentially cause organ failure if it is not treated.

Early symptoms for the disease include: depression, general aches, headaches and a dry cough.

Abdominal symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are also common.

The hospital has set up a special hotline on 01372 400 400 to deal with queries from worried relatives and patients.


Word Count: 274

Critque of My Work:
To further this story I would firstly look into whether or not action will be taken against the hospital by its patients or their families.

In addition to this i would also interview other people infected and ask them about their concerns and criticisms of the hospital.

Finally i would investigate how the disease was able to manifest itself in the air conditioning in the first place which could link in with peoples concerns about the hospital.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Falmouth Beer Festival Is a Success!

The annual Falmouth Beer Festival proved to be a huge success at the weekend, as people flocked to the Princess Pavilion.

The festival got underway at 11am on Friday morning and came to its conclusion at 11pm the following day.

Serving a record 170 different ales from a variety of small, micro and independent breweries, the event marked CAMRA Kernow's 30th anniversary.

Craig Holt of Illogan was impressed with the event,“This is the first time I’ve attended such an event, my mates have been trying to get me here for years!”.

The festival proved successful for St Austall Brewery as popular local ale ‘Tribute’ was voted Best Bitter at the event whilst the brewery’s HSD ale won the festivals Strong Ale award.

(Image Courtesy of the CAMRA KERNOW website)


For non CAMRA members the entry fee was £3.50 which included a festival glass as well as a souvenir programme for the event.

Also available for purchase was a £5 sheet of tokens. This was introduced to, ‘Streamline the increasingly busy process of getting beers on the bar’, according to a spokesman for the CAMRA Festival website.

The event was also held on the same weekend as the Falmouth Oyster Festival, proving to be a successful and an exciting weekend for the town, giving locals and students the chance to sample both festivals.

Many supporters of the beer festival were also able to cheer on England in the Rugby World Cup Final, due to a large screen that was added inside the Pavilion.

Student and Rugby enthusiast Oliver Taylor was pleased with the addition of the large screen,“By them (festival organisers) adding the screen it gives people like me a chance to watch England and consume as much ale as I like, C’mon England!”

This addition of the large screen also helped contribute and increase the number of pints consumed by supporters, contributing to the estimated ‘9,000 pints’ that were consumed throughout the two day festival.

Word Count: 320

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Critical Analysis - Analysis of The Public Sphere

German philosopher J├╝rgen Habermas defined the Public Sphere as: "a network for communicating information and points of view".

The public sphere is in Hambermas’ words: "Made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state". Habermas argues that the self-interpretation of the public sphere took shape in the concept of "public opinion".

This concept of “public opinion” could arguably be seen as the emergence of Journalism. The early growth of Journalism can be traced back to the 17th century when the first news sheets appeared during the English Civil War.

During the English Civil War, the spread of trade required accurate information for traders. This information was often found through ‘gossip’ in taverns and coffee houses (also referred to as a ‘coffee house society’. This initial growth of the public sphere was also given the Greek notion of the ‘polis’ and ‘agora’, (meaning city and market place).

The press emerged by taking advantage of peoples ‘gossip’ and lust for information by creating newssheets, which therefore created income for the press.

The press was later seen as the 4th estate as it allowed the trading class to take away power from the 2nd estate (the aristocracy).

Newspapers today and in their early forms both used the inverted pyramid structure of the 5 W’s, (Who, What, Where, Why, When and also How) to effectively inform their readers. Without this information the story would not be news and would instead be seen as ‘public opinion ‘or ‘coffee house gossip’ as it was known in the 17th century.


In my view the growth of the public sphere has in modern times created mass media corporations such as: ‘The Times’ and ‘The Independent’ for instance which satisfy the cravings of a nations fuel for news. In turn these media corporations are creating a huge financial gain and by doing so becoming the lynchpin of society.

Word Count: 318



Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Critical Analysis - Institutions and Mass Media

Currently there are many theories that are vital to the study of Institutions and the Mass Media.

Firstly, the Determinism Sociology Theory emphasises the relations of media to dominant groups. This theory states that mass media functions are used as a propaganda tool.

Also this theory has a large emphasis on liberalistic values and self undermines institutions that could resist totalitarian tendencies in society.

Noam Chomsky, a 21st century philosopher rejects the view that the media enables the public to control the political process by providing a pluralism of ideas, information and opinion.

Liberal theories of press freedom argue that the press must serve the public in three ways by informing the electorate, overseeing the government and finally articulating public opinion. Those who support this theory think that a self-regulated free market is the best way to ensure a diverse press.

On the other hand, the Mass Manipulative Theory says that people in power use the media to keep themselves in power. This theory also states that those in power use ideological bias when producing news.

This theory has since been used by various dictators around the word such as: Saddam Hussein and most notably Adolf Hitler. Hitler used the model in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to show the world how powerful the Nazi’s were in an attempt to promote a Nazi ideology.

In contrast, the Pluralist Model states how the media is not concentrated into the hands of the few but the power is widely dispersed. The pluralist model also argues that news gives honest stories whilst also portraying the truth to its reader.

Writing For The Media - News Assignment 2

A man died this weekend after being allegedly attacked in a ‘road rage’ incident whilst he and his partner were queuing outside Boldover rubbish dump.

Harry Hampton, 64 was with his partner Barbara Richards, 56 when the incident happened.

After arriving at Boldover Hospital, Mr Hampton was treated for a broken arm and a cracked rib, but died hours later from heart failure.

The incident occurred when the driver of a sliver BMV went over to where Mr Hampton was sitting in his car.

A Spokeswoman for Wishingshire police confirmed that the driver left the scene of the incident and “May not know of Mr Hampton’s death”.

The couple were said to be on their way to off load unwanted possessions in preparation for Mr Hampton to move in to Ms Richards house in Avenue Road, Broxham.

Susan Witchard, 67 was Mr Hampton’s next door neighbour for seven years and describes him as an “extremely good friend” who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”.

At a police press conference, Detective Inspector Helen Havers appealed for the BMW driver to come forward and speak to police as soon as possible.

The driver is described as white, 5ft 7 or 8 inches tall of a stocky build, clean shaven and possibly wearing glasses.

Toby Norris, a consultant clinical psychologist at Daring Hospital in Mornbury has been studying anger related problems, such as ‘road rage’ and ‘queue rage’ for 22 years.

“Outbursts are growing as life gets more crowded. People are more likely to become angry when they feel frustrated and restrained. Cars make things worse as they are insulating, a barrier to communication. Men are much more likely to explode in these situations”.

He added: “Even in Wishingshire these types of incidents are escalating, as the country becomes more densely populated”.


Word Count: 297

Critique of My Work:
I found this exercise useful as i was able to apply newly learnt skills to it eg. the inverted pyramid structure, paragraph lengths etc. Dispite going over the word length for the average paragraph i have tried to stick to the news story checklist formula.

I included the quote from an experts opinion as i felt it added context to the article and was relevant to points that i had made in previous paragraphs regarding 'road rage'.

Student Shock As Accomdation Prices Soar.

A new report shows that students are being ripped off by the private sector as the cost of accomodation rises to its highest in years.

The student housing charity Unipol and The National Union of students combined with one another in order to compile the report.

The report shows that students are paying 23% more for university accomodation than they were 3 years ago.

The average weekly rent for students this year is £82, in comparison with £63 in 2004.

Falmouth students are being hit harder than most, as students living at Glasney Parc are paying a set rent of £92.05 which includes heating, lighting and water rates.

(Image of Glasney Parc, Courtesy of Tremough Services website)

Current first year student Martin Davidson, living at Glasney Parc is suprised at the statistic: "I am amazed that Falmouth is higher than the national average, considering the size of the University".

However students staying at near by Tuke House are paying nearer the national average at approximately £82.72 which includes an initial £300 deposit.

Student accomodation in Falmouth and Penryn is owned by Tremough Campus Service's Ltd, which is seperate to University College Falmouth.

A spokesman for the NUS website said: "Students who are already struggling financially will need to be protected from unscrupulous providers leavying booking fees and other hidden charges".

The most expensive area for student accomodation is in London which is around £100 a week according to the report, whilist students staying in accomdation in Wales are paying under the national average paying around £67 per week.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Critical Analysis - Institutions of Mass Media

Currently there are many theories that are vital to the study of Institutions and the Mass Media.

Firstly, the Determinism Sociology Theory emphasises the relations of media to dominant groups. This theory states that mass media functions are used as a propaganda tool.

Also this theory has an large emphasis on liberalistic values and self undermines institutions that could resist totalitarian tendencies in society.

Noam Chomsky, a 21st century philosopher rejects the view that the media enables the public to control the political process by providing a pluralism of ideas, information and opinion.

Liberal theories of press freedom argue that the press must serve the public in three ways by informing the electorate, overseeing the government and finally articulating public opinion. Those who support this theory think that a self-regulated free market is the best way to ensure a diverse press.

On the other hand, the Mass Manipulative Theory says that people in power use the media to keep themselves in power. This theory also states that those in power use ideological bias when producing news.

This theory was used by Adolf Hitler, when he was in power. Hitler used the model in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to show the world how powerful the Nazi’s were in an attempt to promote a Nazi ideology.

In contrast, the Pluralist Model states how the media is not concentrated into the hands of the few but the power is widely dispersed. The pluralist model also argues that news gives honest stories whilst also portraying the truth to its reader.

Word Count: 256

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Writing For The Media - News Assignment 1

A man was yesterday jailed after pleading guilty to a racial crime and child pornography offenses.

At earlier hearings, 30-year-old Neil Martin was sentenced for 2 years and 8 months, admitting publishing material likely to stir up racial hatred and to making indecent photographs of children.

Less than a week after the racial murder of 18 year old black teenager Anthony Walker in Huyton, Merseyside last year a school friend set up a website in his honour.

Under the pseudonym ‘Genuine Scouser’ Martin emailed at least 6 comments to the website, amongst them suggesting that white people should celebrate the murder.

Martin also suggested that Anthony’s family should be burned and made references to slavery and a “banana boat”.

During police interviews, Martin admitted posting the messages but insisted that he was not a racist and he did not believe what he had written.

Whilst being arrested, officers found 33 images of child pornography on his computer.

The court heard that Martin had also created an internet profile using Anthony’s identity and photograph. Martin then separately posed as a schoolgirl on teenage internet chatrooms.

During the trial Judge Henry Globe QC, of Liverpool Crown Court described the intention of the website as being: “innocent, honourable and well motivated” and abusing the websites use.

After the comments Martin’s defendant said that Martin had no history of racist behavior and he felt “deeply ashamed”.

Martin has also written a letter of apology to both the court and the victims families.

Anthony’s mother was happy with the sentence but she declined Martins written apology: “After hearing what he said in those messages I don’t accept it, I don’t accept his apology”.

Word Count: 278

Critique of My Work:

In order to improve this story further i would have emphased the extent of the crime (racial postings on the internet) more as to attract the readers attention. Also i would have possibly looked at adding more background information into the story.

Guest Speaker: Steve Ivall ( Deputy Editor of the Falmouth Packet)


Steve Ivall, Deputy News Editor of the Falmouth Packet visited UCF Woodlane campus to offer advice to first year Journalism students.

Steve has years of experience behind him, which could prove vital for students hoping to break into the profession.

After giving a brief introduction of himself, Steve began by explaining the role of the Falmouth Packet in the community, describing it as being "vital to Cornwall and its readers".

Ivall then went on to describe the relationship between local and national newspapers explaining that Cornwall creates both local and national news stories.

Stories involving tourists who visit the region create stories in Cornwall and in their own regions. This acts as an extension of the Packet’s 30,000-strong readership.


The Falmouth Packet is a member of Newsquest, which is the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers within the UK.

Steve also stressed the importance of the Packet's magazine supplements as being profitable, whilst offering a wide market spread, an advantage to both the Falmouth Packet and its readers.

An example of this is 'Front Row' a yearly publication for Cornish Rugby fans which includes Fixtures, pictures, news and reviews for the forthcoming season.

Steve also mentioned that students serious about becoming journalists will also need an NCTJ qualification, recognised throughout the industry, for aspiring and junior print journalists.

As well as an NCTJ qualification Steve mentioned that most companies only employ journalists with shorthand speeds of 100wpm and above.

The job of a Journalist is constantly changing, meaning that potential journalists will need a good grounding in many aspects of the profession including being comfortable using multimedia devices.

These devices include the latest portable audio devices as well as digital cameras: "All staff now carry cameras after a huge development in technology over the past few years".

Word Count: 299

Monday, 8 October 2007

Mail Misery Hits Lanner



Local residents in Lanner suffer as regional Postal Workers begin the first of two 48 hour walkouts over pay disputes and job cuts.

Talks are ongoing between the Postal Workers Union and the Royal Mail in order to try and end the dispute.

Residents are fearful that the strike may continue into the middle of next week and looks set to be the longest postal strike for 11 years.

This comes after talks between the Postal Workers Union and Royal Mail managers broke down last week after the union has rejected a 2.5 per cent pay rise request.

A local resident of Chapel Lane, who wanted to remain nameless is supportive of the Communication Workers Union, who are representing the Postal Workers in the region, but is fearful of the delay.

"I have recently posted a birthday card for my grandson and I am fearful about it getting lost in the post, or worst still not getting to him in time".

According to a statement on the Royal Mail website, letters and deliveries are continuing to be processed however at 'reduced levels'.

Letters that are marked 'special delivery' will be prioritised whilst residents who are waiting for other items of post may face a longer wait.

James Cutler of Grey Terrace hopes this doesn’t happen, “I hope the credit card company gets my cheque on time otherwise I will owe them money for late payment”.

Banks and credit card companies have said that even though there is a postal strike, they are not prepared to be lenient with people if their cheques arrive late which is causing many people to be stung by late payment charges.

Royal Mail is hopeful that normal service will be resumed from Wednesday.

Word Count: 288