Monthly Archives: April 2013
BBC North West Tonight
When I tell people I did my TV work placement with the BBC North West Tonight regional news programme I usually hear something like “but we didn’t see you on TV!” That’s beside the point really; screen time on any TV programme only accounts for what viewers see. There’s a whole team working hard behind the scenes to get content to air as smoothly as possible – I loved being part of it!
There would be so much to mention about time working on the programme, and alongside so many talented journalists, but then it would become more of a epilogue than a blog post – so this will have to be a whistle-stop tour. (In no particular order, terms and conditions apply… Oops! Didn’t need the bit about T&Cs!) Here we go…
HEART SCREENINGS IN MEMORY OF JOHN MARSHALL
Having footage I shot myself air on the North West bulletins during BBC Breakfast was an honour. My footage was shown after interviewing the family of John Marshall, who died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition 18 years ago. His family were holding a screening session at Edge Hill University as part of their campaign for heart screenings to become more widespread and to raise awareness of heart conditions affecting young people.
NEW DRUG APPROVED TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER
A drug called Perjeta had been granted licence for use in Europe; it prolongs the lives of some breast cancer patients by over 6 months. Although not yet available through NHS treatment, the drug has been trialled by The Christie in Manchester – I was going to interview a doctor about their findings. Case studies are what illustrate news best and when I got there I was able to talk to someone who had experience of using the drug. As this was all very spontaneous I was about to do my most emotional interview to date with no preparation! This is where my initiative journalistic skills came in and I was able to come back to the newsroom with poignant footage used in a big screen presentation by NWT health correspondent, Nina Warhurst.
APPEAL TO FIND ANDREW JONES’ KILLER
Andrew Jones was killed in 2003 after injuries sustained after falling to the ground from a single punch. 10 years on and his parents, Christine and Andy, were appealing for anyone with information to speak out. I interviewed them at Merseyside Police Headquarters ahead of their weekend vigil. I found out the embargo had been lifted on this story while there and after relaying the messages to producers my work featured in Dave Guest’s top story for the lunchtime and evening programmes.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LIVERPOOL’S RESIGNATION
One of the last official duties that Pope Benedict XVI had to approve was the resignation of Liverpool’s Archbishop Kelly. I spoke to him at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool and helped film one of his last masses in tribute to the outgoing Pope that featured on the late bulletin.
It was a privilege to be on placement with the BBC during Comic Relief . I particularly enjoyed helping Carol Lowe film her report on how some of the money was being used in the North West at Stick ‘n’ Step. A charity helping children with Cerebral Palsy, in Wallasey. I also got to shoot footage of what was happening to fundraise around MediaCity. Particular highlights of mine were the Bake-Off, Harlem Shake out on the piazza and the Zumba-thon in Liverpool, all of which I filmed and were shown in the North-West opt-out during the evening’s main Comic Relief programme.
LAUNCH OF MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2013
Eno Eruotor and I went to the press launch of this year’s MIF, we heard about what was to come in the festival, which featured an appearance from Shakespearean actor Kenneth Brannagh! He wasn’t giving any interviews (and at that point he didn’t even know I was in control of the lighting!!) but we did speak to one of my favourite actresses, Maxine Peake. She gave me a bit of competition for being NWT’s biggest fan too!
Sadly, I can’t cover everything that happened on my placement or mention everyone, but those are the main things I talk about when people ask me about my placement. Thanks to all the NWT team for making me feel so welcome, trusting me with their content and giving me a TV placement I will never forget!
My next blog post will be about my radio placement with Real Radio… Stay tuned!
Looking through a lens at the Boston Marathon
Breaking news can cause a surge in social media visits as people all over the world feed their hunger for the latest information. This applies to any major news event or tragedy but I’m going to focus on the most recent, which is the aftermath of the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
I looked at social media myself to see the updates and near enough every tweet contained something about Boston. Tributes and opinions alike flooded my timelines – but instead of moving me I found it unsettling.
Trying to squeeze my thoughts into 140 characters, I posted this tweet:
I had such a big response, and a wave of new followers off the back of it, that I wanted to expand here in my blog. I have a problem with the voyeuristic images that I was bombarded with, whether I wanted to see them or not. Apparently, as news consumers, we ‘need’ to see images of devastation like that. Fair enough, the blasts were shocking. Do we really need to see images of the injured at what is perhaps the most vulnerable time of their lives?
In my view, ethics should come before sensationalism. In the UK, the law states that people should have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” and this would be most applicable in times of extreme tragedy and heartache. Yet, I could see the torture on the faces of people whose legs had been blown off being stretchered away. I doubt they had given their consent to that. It brings up the debate as to whether a person surrenders their right to privacy for being involuntarily caught up in a news story for the sake of ‘good pictures’ or whether their right to privacy should be respected by journalists.
Just because technology makes it available doesn’t necessarily make it right. Maybe it’s because our culture is used to the blood and gore seen in films and video games – but this is real life. I think it reflects our sadistic society; devastation could still be conveyed by censoring someone’s identity, not ideal but it’s a compromise.
It’s not to say I agree with it, but I can understand why news corporations broadcast and print these contentious images. The knock-on affect of this is that the images can then be copied and manipulated by the general public and posted to their social media profiles, on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. In their defence, many may feel it’s a tribute to post their blessings next to a photo of a wounded runner. Personally, I find it disrespectful and an invasion of privacy into the life of someone they have never met.
Anyone with a camera and a wi-fi connection can now be a reporter, but perhaps more worryingly, is that anyone with a keyboard and an opinion thinks they can be a citizen journalist. Although, there is something fundamentally wrong in that view because any credible journalist knows it’s their duty to report, rather than speculate, about what’s happening. The people on social media trying to be citizen journalists can offer no more insight than the next person sat gazing gormlessly at a computer screen can. It’s the reporters at the scene who can relay the accurate information – chose your sources wisely.
I’m not condemning the support that the Internet can offer, the tributes to the victims of the Boston blasts were touching. However, this has a flip side; the Internet, particularly social media, is littered with people’s opinions that mean nothing. I’m all for freedom of speech as long as it’s informed and respectful – otherwise, why waste your breath?