Submitted Work: Critical Reflection

Critical Reflection

Calum Warren-Piper, Graphics and Data Editor.

(I have styled this reflection into 3 parts: Before Election, During Election, and Post Election.)

Work prior to GE2K15

 

When in January I confirmed my intent to be involved with the graphics and data journalism of the General Election, I immediately got to work on researching styles that would help make our production look both eye-catching, suave and professional. This required a fair amount of time and effort so as to accommodate the varying views of the three decision-makers (namely Mirjam, Chris and I) but we reached agreement efficiently.

 

Whilst Mirjam, being a second year, worked as graphics editor for WINOL, it gave me the freedom to work on my own projects such as Politics and Power. Having already created one episode of the show back in November, Alex and I were eager to follow that up with an ‘Eastleigh Special’ which focused on just what makes Eastleigh such an important “swing seat” for all parties. The graphics work for the show had largely already been created and new work was required only for the ‘Coming Up’ and the specific ‘Eastleigh Special’ intro that I created for the show.

 

This meant I had more time to focus on making my data package for the episode, which I wanted to focus on the issues that dominated the recent 2013 By Election. These topics were: Immigration and Employment. This meant conducting my own research into these topics. The most time consuming element being an in-depth trawl through ONS PDF files to get statistics on immigration levels in the South (generally) and then Eastleigh and Southampton (specifically). This is one of the skills I’ve picked up very quickly over my time working in graphics and data. This ability to scan through complex data and then distil it into easily understood information packages is pivotal to success. The work I did in turn helped give Alex some extra background information that he would be able to use for his constituency profile work.

 

Finally we created a post-election Politics and Power to finalise our series before we passed it on to the 2nd years. This gave us the ability to voice our opinions on the election as well as recap all the work that went into the production of the show. The idea of this show was to be a supplement to the election, with reviews and a look into the future including the post-election reshuffle of the now Tory-only cabinet. This episode was the hardest to make, as we had an extremely tight deadline to work to, with the filming and editing all being done on Monday before our Tuesday deadline. It required focus, good planning and extremely fast editing skills to get it out for later that evening.

 

As well as this work on P&P that I did throughout the year, I also began working well ahead of the election on template ideas with Mirjam so that we had these “in the bank” & needed only to refine them to make them usable on election night. I really believe that this early pre-work and my determination to have as much prepared before the deluge of the final election run-in was a vital ingredient of our team’s effective time management. By completing much of the work in the first semester we created the capacity during the election period to work effectively and with minimized stress.

 

 

Although not essential to my role in the election, I kept a weather eye on the state and fluctuation of the polls (YouGov, Survation etc.) which I believe was crucial to understanding just how tight the election could be as it got closer and closer to election day. By understanding the swing levels that would be required to change the ownership of each seat coupled with the key issues in each constituency significantly paid out because the team where pre-briefed to an extent that they could better assess the impact of new variables as they arose on election night itself..

 

In April, I went to work on data packages that I found personally important, these were on: The Student Vote and the strength of Manifesto releases compared to the TV debates. To accompany these I wrote corresponding articles, here and here. I also believed these VT’s would be invaluable as infills and to help space out the Election show in the earlier hours of the morning when there were hiatuses and gaps in the news flow.

 

The work I’ve chosen to submit prior to my election work is the work that I contributed and created for Politics and Power. A project that myself and Alex Delaney created back in September.

For this project I was in charge of all graphics as well as all data journalism, which meant making data packages for both episodes on topics relevant to the theme of the show. The first episode only had a loose theme that was based on the run up to the General Election, whereas the second episode was centered on Eastleigh. Together we worked on production, which helped broaden our skills in editing and sound/lighting.

The work that I made for this project/show is some of the best work I’ve created since my time at University. Graphically the work is stunning and HD, the process of creating it meant self-teaching myself Adobe After Effects which I am now confident with.

The data work gave me the freedom (as co-producer with Alex) to go in my own direction with how I wanted the green screen to look and how I wanted the package to look/be styled. This freedom in itself taught me more about the technicality of Final Cut Pro but also, and more importantly, taught me more about the process of simplifying complex data.

 

During the election

 

The work we (Mirjam and myself) made on the night was miraculous in my opinion! The work templates that we had set up prior to the night meant that the speed we could churn out graphics, specifically the scoreboard, was unlike anything that we have made before.

 

Early on into the night, 7:30pm, we filmed and edited the Winchester exit poll with data we got from Jon Morrison, this gave us a valuable package to use throughout the night prior to having the BBC exit poll to use for our next graphic. By 9:30pm we had set up the studio and templates on the computers so that all we needed was the BBC data from the exit poll and then my PTC in-studio for us to pull onto the timeline and then give to the production team.

 

I’m extremely proud of the speed that we managed to do this, which meant fast editing and a great amount of patience, focus and communication from us both and safe to say Mirjam didn’t let anyone down.

 

Between the hours of 10-12pm, the need for graphics wasn’t a priority so I worked on informing myself of all the data from around the country whilst keeping an eye on the twitter feeds to await the first results to add to the scoreboard.

 

From around 2pm, a steady flow of results started coming in from around the country, and so from then, I held a discussion with Brian to decide the timeframe that production would want/need graphics (scoreboard/map updates). This is once again another example of great communication from the whole team all night.

 

Now with a set time frame, Mirjam could update the scoreboard progressively every 40 minutes before transferring it to me where I would have the updated Map graphic that showed the results from one of the many constituencies we covered on the night. This system meant the production team could focus on filling up empty time whilst knowing when the next graphics would be ready and when to fit them into the timeline.

 

 

We worked like this all morning till around 6am, by that time we had updated the scoreboard/map over 17 times as the results flowed in from not just around the south, but around the country. I then went to discuss the data side of the election live in studio with Zeena and Alex.

 

I think this showed my ability to perform an array of different tasks, from running the graphics team and ensuring that we stuck to our required schedule as well as going on camera to discuss and essentially help fill time till we could get our OB from Winchester.

 

Discussing with the production team after we has stopped broadcasting, Nicole and Mimi was grateful for the graphics as they helped give a visual aspect to what all the discussions between Henry and the presenters were about. I think that was an important goal that we achieved with the graphics; helping to space out the show so that it wasn’t packed with just discussions and ad breaks but had some data, which I believe gave the show much more substance.

 

Statistically we made huge successes across the night. We had a post reach of around a 1000, throughout the night, with our live blog gathering around 700 views an hour which is a huge increase from the usual WINOL statistics. With our live stream on a constant 100 on our live stream, without taking into the University’s IP’s, overall the show achieved a huge number of views, even in hours where views would be expected to drop as it got later and later. The whole team were extremely active on twitter and social media, which I can only think helped further the shows views and the attention brought to it.

 

Reflecting on the whole semester:

 

Although I obviously didn’t create as much content as I did in the first semester when working on WINOL, the work that I did create had a greater focus dedicated to it due to the time and attention I put into every project from General Election. Having set out to make a 3-part series of Politics and Power, Alex and myself achieved this and to a high standard with ground breaking graphics and content such as adaptable green screens and WINOLs first ever 4-way live debate in the first episode. Each episode had a clear plan and script, which we ourselves devised and re-wrote every time we made the show. That being said, we had a set template for the show, which made it easier to devise themes and topics for the show, but I still am proud of the considerable work we put into the production each and every time.

 

Alongside that, as previously mentioned I, with Mirjam, set up and created all the graphics for The South Decides programme. I think the content created for the election was extremely impressive, Mirjam’s work on the exit poll, advert breaks and scoreboard were unbelievably well made and the time she dedicated to making them, even more impressive.

 

Regarding Politics and Power, I don’t have any improvements that I believe could have been made to the way the show was conducted and created. However, having been such a fantastic success (in my opinion) I would only reflect that I wish we had created more episodes and more content. I believe the show gave us a fantastic platform to create a student based politics show that could be enjoyed by both adult and young viewers which in itself is an achievement.

 

Overall, I think the work that I’ve created this semester, similar to semester 1, has drastically helped improve my skills as an aspiring data journalist but also helped increase my interest and knowledge of politics in general. I have also improved my technical skills, interview conducting etc, whilst making the Politics and Power. Reporting and working on a General Election was a huge achievement and taught me a lot about time management as well as dealing with the responsibility of running a team and synchronising work done inside of the team. Politics and Power is by far the work, which, from my time at university, I am most proud of. I think it encompasses all the work I have focused on from, Local Government/National Politics to complex data journalism, which I will now be focusing my career towards in the future.

Submitted Work: Politics and Power Project

(Writing from Critical Reflection on this specific work)

This work  I’ve chosen to submit prior to my election work  is the work that I contributed and created for Politics and Power. A project that myself and Alex Delaney created back in September.

For this project I was in charge of all graphics as well as all data journalism which meant making data packages for both episodes on topics concurrent with the theme of the show. The first episode only had a loose theme that was based on the run up to the General Election, whereas the second episode was centred around Eastleigh.

The work that I made for this project/show is some of the best work I’ve created since my time at University. Graphically the work is stunning and HD, the process of creating it meant self-teaching myself Adobe After Effects which I am now confident with.

The data work gave me the freedom (as co-producer with Alex) to go in my own direction with how I wanted the green screen to look and how I want the package to look/be styled. This freedom in itself taught me more about the technicality of Final Cut Pro but also, and more importantly, taught me more about the process of simplifying complex data.

 

These two links are the two election related Politics and Power episodes which I wish to submit for my FYP:

Episode 2: Eastleigh Special 

Episode 3: Election Special

(I wasn’t sure if you’d want to grade the 1st episode as part of the 3-paert series in general but if so. Link)

The Student Vote: Curse or Blessing?

The student vote is one of the most discussed topics of this election so far, alongside the NHS and Cameron’s “Long Term Economic Plan”. But is gaining the young vote a blessing or a curse?
The national student survey suggests that students, who make up 3% of the UK population, have the ability to swing up to 10 seats this election. Which could be the difference in this election that is seemingly going down to the wire in the polls.
However statistics show that since the 1970’s, the young vote (18-24) has lacked in turn out in comparison to the rest of the country, slacking at 51.2% compared to the national 66% back in 2010. University cities such as Warwick, Nottingham and Cambridge lacked hugely compared to others in voter turn out. Where students don’t
It seems the the young/student vote is as fickle as the students themselves, but when harnessed correctly it seemed to give Nick Clegg the strength to then go on to form a coalition.
Recent surveys from both our own team in winchester and nationally have showed that the Greens are tied favourites with the Tories in terms of support but the Greens have become stagnant in recent polls, seemingly not improving from Natalie Bennett’s weak performances in the debates.
All this speculation brings into account that over the past couple years, the discussion has been thrown around of lowering the voting age to 16. Would this help or would it just add to the numerous statistics that show the lack of interest into politics from the younger generations? or could allowing younger adults to vote, spur in them a sense of duty and lead to higher vote turn out nationwide?
The questions remain up in the air, the young support is still a mystery and the even bigger question on peoples mind’s is whether or not the young vote will even turn up to this election?

(Credit to Laura Allen for whom the Graphic was made for.)

Dull Debates VS Momentous Manifestos

As we move quickly towards the last section of the election debates which will be focused on the futures of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it’s important to reflect on the strength of these debates. Earlier this month a study, conducted by YouGov, shows that of 1,628 people, 50%believed the debates had little to no effect on the Election as a whole. If this surgery is anything to go by, it would explain further Miliband hasn’t seen as drastic surge in support as he’d have hoped after strong performances in both “The Battle for Number 10” and “The ITV Leaders Debate”.
Looking further into what seems to make support, for certain parties, increase in a short time scale it seems Manifestos have more strength than the endless bickering it seems the debates have become.  Further, with a separate debate on what the “key issue” of GE2k15, Economy or NHS? it seems Miliband is stronger in connecting with his audience with Cameron just 2nd to the Labour leader (See Image below) (Source. YouGov)
This support for Labours manifesto, saw Miliand rise 2% in the polls in a day and Cameron’s marginal lead slip as he dropped 3-4% over the coming days following the Tories manifesto release.
However wether people believe one of the manifesto’s is more achievable than another has yet to be discovered. Is Labour drawing a lot of attention with headline grabbing goals or is it empty rhetoric from the party that lost the people’s trust so powerfully in 2010?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WWIzy4yCHw

Vice VS The Industry (PLEASE READ).

Vice Magazine VS ‘The Industry’

Written from an interview with Tim Holmes.

By Calum Warren-Piper

 

 

The first thing that shocked me when researching Vice magazine the speed of its ascendancy. From its beginning in only 1994 as a humble community-run magazine (originally named ‘voice’) in Montreal it is now a “superpower” in not just magazine journalism but the entire media.

 

The O in ‘Voice’ got dropped but not much else did. The “Hipster Bible”, as it was referred to back in its hometown, has done what most deemed impossible. It has retained its originality whilst booming in its industry.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 13.36.52 

“Vice is a very clever operation. You would never know from its content or its pervasive brand values that, actually, it has attracted large scale investment from companies associated with Disney and Rupert Murdoch, but those investments have been made because Vice is so good at serving content to its audience.”

Tim Holmes, Associate Director, Centre for Journalism and Author of ‘Magazine Journalism’

 

This content that Tim talks about above is what makes Vice, Vice. Groundbreaking, and often illegal gonzo journalism is no new trick, we all know Fear and Loathing, we’ve all read the New Journalism. But in one-way or another Vice has recreated that rush we got from those books, day in day out, and broken the boundaries of the paper industry and as Shane Smith, CEO, says ‘gone electric’.

 

With a readership of 900,000(80,000 within the UK) worldwide it would be wrong to say that their content is a niche but it is. The stories covered by Vice’s journalists open the unsuspecting eye of the reader to the deep, and often dark, underbelly of modern societies. Recent topics span from: sociopathic tendencies in gaming to the ‘posh orgies’ of London. There is no ground that Vice Magazine won’t break it seems and with that range comes growth to this magazine.

 

It’s important to look at the entirety of the magazine industry to highlight the difference and skill, for lack of a better word, in Vice Magazine. Tim Holmes, referenced above, spoke with me about the struggle magazines are having in an ever-digital industry.

 

“The magazine industry is having to find ways to live with digital and the more forward thinking publishers have made changes to their business strategies to reflect this…BBC World wide’s strategy is to publish print for profit and digital for growth. No-one can ignore digital, not even those titles that choose print as their key platform.”

 

The magazine industry carries the burden of modern technology on its back everywhere it goes, and this is seeing a slow decline in the number of titles we see on the newsstands each year. Statistics from 2011 by ‘BRAD Insight’ (a media intelligence firm) shows this decline in each publishing category.

 

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This struggle stems from growing number of people, especially young people, who don’t want to go to the newsstand to get their information and entertainment. The world is at their fingertips and if it isn’t they don’t want it. Multi-platform news/features isn’t an advantage anymore, it’s a necessity. Vice has stormed ahead of the rest of the pack in this sense. In a Guardian article back in 2013, Shane Smith described the magazine as “…a quintessential Gen X magazine, and we are now a quintessential Gen Y company”.

 

Vice Magazine (and News) has expanded since its creation from print to phone, tablet and soon TV which undoubtedly gives it that room to further grow its readership rapidly. Despite having a large majority of young readers, it can still attract multiple generations interested in the grittier news that it seems mainstream industry giants are cautious about covering.

 

This level of innovation is the key to success in journalism, not just the magazine industry but elsewhere in industry. It is creativity and modernisation that allows Vice to expand its advertising revenues, a trend that is seeping into the industry as it converts online. But this ‘adventure journalism’, as Mr Smith likes to refer to it, has attracted the gaze of some of the industry’s top acquisitors and investors. However Shane Smith stresses in his Guardian interview that control still remains with him and his team in their Brooklyn office.

 

In 2013 Murdoch and his News Corps Empire invested $70m, an amount that maybe ‘pocket change’ to the Australian oligarch, but single handily pushed the value of Vice up to $1.4bn. As always, the ‘Dirty Digger’, as he is labelled in the press, had shown his ever-cunning ways and been the first to jump on the successful bandwagon that Shane Smith is driving. Its expansion over the last couple years has seen it team up with more investors such as Walt Disney Company and is now in talks to progress its documentary making with HBO.

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Rupert Murdoch’s tweet less than a year before his company invested $70m into Vice Media. (Twitter.)

 

Researching this Magazine, I looked into what I believed to be a ‘niche’ style that Vice preyed on, but the sheer quantity of its readership proves that its turned the novelty into normal and is reaping the benefits.

 

“You describe it as a niche style; I would say it is what defines Vice as Vice. What else would it be? If it tried to shift from that way of creating and delivering content it would be something else entirely.”

Tim Holmes,

With a multitude of similar articles discussing the emergence of Vice leaking from most news agencies over the last couple of weeks, safe to say they have gained the spotlight. But Shane Smith’s idea of turning into Vice into ‘the next CNN’ as he told The Guardian, seems a bit of a U-turn from its original no-holds-barred entry and approach to what some could call a stagnant magazine industry.

 

“They are trying to young it down, but everything they do is a f*cking disaster. But what’s bad for CNN is good for me.”

Shane Smith on CNN, mediaite.com March 2014

 

In this article (above), Shane Smith highlights the huge growth CNN got from the Gulf War, citing that the ‘Gulf war made CNN’. If that is true it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that Syria and ISIL is making Vice. Documentaries and stories from these huge conflict areas have shown Vice’s audience the depth to which these ‘adventure journalists’ are willing to go to to expose the many unseen sides of war. In their coverage Vice has shown a respect for the gravity of these situations in the East but also an appreciation that the courage and devotion these journalists demonstrate is ultimately paid back by Vice’s growing audience and consequent revenues and loyal support among the readership for the work Vice undertakes. Vice respects the maturity of its audiences no matter the age/generation with dark and cutting news stories from not just conflict spots but also the underbelly of modern western society.

 

To compare the two the first thing you’d notice would be that Vice already holds 5 million more unique readers/IP’s each month than CNN. In this it is similar to the immediate success The I had in its short snappy newspaper format compared to the broadsheets. Vice News’s grit and gall has swept aside the old media format and dominates from YouTube, App, Website and print. Given Vice’s unique style and agenda, it seems the biggest success story is its audience.

 

Similar to Nick Clegg in the last election, it seems Vice News has managed to gain the trust and readership of targeted young people. The same readership who many people say aren’t interested in ‘serious News’ these days.

 

It would be a stretch of the imagination to call Shane Smith a “young person”, at 45, but his insight has shone a light on what was obviously the spark that Gen Y longed for when it came to current events and staying in tune with the news. It’s this innovation that’s led to Vice cooperating and working with extremely successful brands that are willing to fund their works and create advertisement revenue for the company.

 

 

Onto 2015, and Vice is now valued at $2.4bn, a whole billion more since News Corps investment, and Vice shows no signs of slowing down. Their collaboration with HBO will bring Vice full circle to complete its multi-platform sprawl and highlight once again its intuition for innovation in the industry.

 

 

Whether or not they will move in a more conservative direction over time and whether pressure from outside investors to dial it down, will have to been seen, but as of yet, Vice is here with a lot to say and a lot of people listening/reading. Its innovation seems to have no boundaries and the magazine industry’s current but desperate attempt to catch up appears like the response of an out-dated and exhausted tortoise compared to the unstoppable hare.

The Badge of Honour at the bottom of the bottle (PLEASE READ!)

The Badge of Honour at the bottom of a bottle.

By Calum Warren-Piper

Inspired by an interview with an ex-alcoholic journalist.

Wet hands from the toilet basin don’t prevent a firm grip on the bottle and I take a tug on it. Who’s in control here? The bottle or me? I’ve lost my marriage and with it my wife and son. I’ve lost my driving license and the imposition of 180 hours of community service is burying me. The beginning of the end of this illness stares back at me from the grubby mirror of that pub toilet. I’ve reached my rock bottom. The landlady takes me home and 5 months pass, sober.

The start of my drinking is a familiar story. I was too young to care and too stupid to know my limitations. From tins of bitter to pints in the local blues club listening to the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and a guy named Eric Clapton. Drink just seemed a natural part of the scene.

The somberness of my childhood had left me yearning for a better more joyful existence and here I found it, away from ‘miserable Britain’.

At 17 I fled the shackles of school and wrote 40 letters to papers and news agencies both local and national. To this day 36 have never been answered and never will be. While I was working on a local rag in southwest London I thought I was getting training in journalism. In hindsight I was training myself to be an alcoholic. The daily 4 pints became 6 and more. The risks of drink-driving were preferable to the misery of night buses. Miraculously no one got hurt but, of course, I eventually got caught.

From the local London rag to the streets of Bristol I drifted. The discovery of local cider led to more every day drinking. When I wasn’t working, every day was spent in the pub. My social life revolved around pubs and drinking, either with girlfriends or other friends and colleagues.

Bristol to Birmingham and with it came love. Single life evaporated after a chance introduction to Carol. From General Reporting I evolved into Police and Crime, focused on those I called The Premier League Drinkers. Beer wasn’t the chosen tipple of this set and I soon found the taste for hard liquor. CID’s and criminals alike became drinking buddies. This proximity fed me with stories and further justified my personal drinking. I praised myself with the thought that at least I was a functioning alcoholic.

Three years later, 1975, and with married life came the need to hide what Carol could see was becoming a problem in our relationship. Drink brought arguments; arguments brought drink and eventually I turned to hiding my drink, still immersed in denial. My work success managed to disguise our personal problems in the way that money does as did the new job back in London. Also I hoped that the arrival of our son, Jack, would be the catalyst for me to sort out my drinking.

Fleet Street was the mecca for journalists in that day and it became my new working and drinking hole. It was here that I first felt the presence of the ‘badge of honour’ that manifested itself in the balance of drink and duty.

The mantra of ‘first in, last out’ of the pub was prevalent among journos at that time. I was a fast talker among slow thinkers and that combined with our place in the industry was the cocktail that sealed my nickname, the badge of honour.

Although things looked good on the surface my house was built on weak foundations. It was only a matter of time before the whole edifice of my life came crashing down. The thin veneer of success at work that had once shielded my family life from my growing obsession came to a shuddering halt one fateful day in 2000.

Divorce!

After 25 years of belligerence, abuse- both physical and emotional- and failed counseling

Carol, wanting to protect Jack, left. I was left with my only constant partner…drink.

And so began the beginning of the end. With no marriage to protect, job security slipping with each ‘sick day’ taken, drink immersed me for 18 months. 547 days that included 3 attempts on my life, 1 with a noose and 2 with pills. I staggered from casualty into the nearest steak restaurant. Red meat accompanied by red wine, and the dots still hadn’t joined up.

It wasn’t till that night while standing in the cold, unforgiving tiles toilet of the Rose & Crown, staring reflectively at the life I had let slip through my fingers did I face my reality and not hide behind my fake accolade of ‘badge of honour’.

 The year is 2015.

Last weekend I had lunch with Jack, who witnessed my brutality to his mother. Somehow he has found it in himself to forgive me. Two years prior I was lucky to be present when he married; a sign of his trust in my sobriety.

14 years sober.

The acclamation I had sought in the newsroom was fuelled with each passing day spent away from the bottle. At times, drink had got me stories, spreads and with them security but it also gave me the hardest of life’s lessons.

The real badge of honour is not to be found at the bottom of the bottle and can only be claimed when the bottle is put aside and self-discipline rules your life.

END OF ARTICLE

Whether he dieth by musket

or by pot”

As the subject of this article remains anonymous, I thought of pictures I’d use to represent his story, when he gave me these pictures and explained their relevance and it became apparent that the answer was right under my nose the entire time. I knew I’d found the only image I’d need to represent the message I want to convey. This gravestone of Thomas Thetcher has become a pillar for AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. It inspired one of the co-founders of AA, Bill Wilson. He was a young US soldier in 1917 when he saw it while awaiting shipment to France to fight in the First World War. The inscription appears on Page 1 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, in the opening chapter Bill’s Story.

With this image, I’d hope to reinforce the message my article. Namely that although we all have our vices it is only after we face up to our personal slings and arrows that we can fix ourselves and be true to the ones we love. Sometimes hard roads must be travelled before the high road can be taken. It’s safe to say that in some parts of his life and career, Mike’s alcoholism seemed to help him provide for his family, his apparent priority. This was just false rationalization and while kicking alcohol was difficult it was necessary to prove that true success cannot be found in the bottle.

The inscription reads:

“Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier

Who caught his death

Drinking cold small beer.

A good soldier is ne’er forgot

Whether he dieth by musket

Or by pot”.

AA Gravestone

The Ultimate Media Law Refresher

*Copied & Pasted from my personal notes, in chronological order)

*Be sure to note the changes to the Libel/Defamation Law back in 2013. Now the claimant has to show/prove that serious harm has been carried out by a newspaper or a journalist.

People to know:

Sir Brian Leveson- President of the Queens bench and Author of the Leveson Inquiry, if you don’t know about that…you don’t know about modern journalism in the UK!

Chris Grayling- Justice Secretary, Lord Chancellor. This man is in charge of updating and keeping the UK law system rigid and up to date as possible, currently also the MP for Epsom and Ewell.

Jeremy Wright– Attorney General’s job is legal adviser to the Crown as well as overseeing the CPS and others such as Serious Fraud Office and Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

Alison Saunders– Head of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) and thus head of the CPS, second only to the Attorney General ^^^

Lord Thomas: Chief Judge 

Home Secretary: Theresa May 

Sources of Law:

Common- a law that is established over the time via the use of old cases. Burglary/Murder, Laws that society has over time constructed for the safety and security of it’s civilians.

Statutes: the government’s law in defense of the crown creates law.

International: Laws from the EU etc. (Amal Clooney/Jeffery Robinson).

Indictable offences: serious crimes such as murder/rape goes straight to Crown Courts.

Either Way offences: can differ between crown or magistrates courts depending on how severe, Eg. Burglary/Fraud.

Difference between Civil/Criminal Cases: Civil cases are judged on the balance of probabilities compared to criminal cases where the defendant is judged either by a jury or a judge on whether he/she is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. 

2 Aspects to crime reporting:

Contempt is acting disrespectful towards a court of law and its officers in the form of behaviour that opposes or defies authority, justice, and dignity of the court.

Certain types of contempt include:

Vilifying a witness

Witness interviews and “Molestation” 

Also journalists should be aware of when a court case is active:

-When a person is arrested 

-When an arrest warrant is issued 

-A summons is issued

-A person is charged orally

Only 6/7 bits of information can be reported on a case when it is active:

-names/ages/addresses/occupants of defendants
-name of court and magistrates names
-solicitors names and barristers present
-date and place where case is adjourned
-bail arrangements
-if legal aid was granted 

Prejudice: material in a case that could affect the course of a fair trial. (Previous offences).

Court reporting rules:

Fair

Accurate

Contemporaneous (posted/published at the first possible edition)

No recording (can tweet) and in some rare,recent cases have been given permission to record video/audio. 

Children and young people= no reporting on people less than 17!

 

 

Court Structure:

Supreme Court (top court in the country)

|

Court of Appeals

|

High Court

|

Crown Court (Indictable/ criminal cases and crimes against the state of society) 

|

Magistrates (Criminal but also Family proceedings)

|

County Court: Financial disputes such as Hedge trimmings etc etc. Civil matters and building permits. 

|

Tribunal: work based problems and money matters. 

 

 LIBEL AND DEFAMATION

Defamation:

A law that journalists need to be aware of is defamation, or when in permanent form Libel. Whether this is done on purpose by slandering them, or by accident in the forms of an innuendo, which have a hidden meaning. Laws against defamation carry a heavy penalty as well as having to apologise for any defaming that a newspaper or industry has caused to anyone, the paper or the company involved can be forced by regulations to pay damages to the person(s).

The Three defences of Defamation: 

  • The fact/statement is actually factually correct/true
  • The comment/statement is your honest opinion and you have stated that this comment is in your opinion.
  • QP: (Separate blog post on this) The comment has been made in areas or at a time or by a person who holds the right to say these comments, such as the House of Commons, (Lord McAlpine Case Study) or that the comments are made in public interest!

 

Libel is the charge that stems from defaming someone within a publication, and in recent years, changes have been made to these laws that mean that 4 precedents have to be apparent before someone can be charged for Libellous action. These 4 are:

  • Has been published
  • is of false nature
  • the ‘injured party’ is clearly identified
  • And is of a defamatory nature. 

Other ways of defaming someone can include:

Slander: defamation through speaking, which is VERY important to avoid in broadcast journalism and EVEN MORE important on live broadcast’s. 

Innuendo: similar to jigsaw identification, it’s hinting towards either some sort of defamatory action on an innocent person, or jigsawing(hinting towards someone) and then connecting them towards something defamatory.

The key it seems to avoiding/working around these laws is(and it’s not always the case) but only incorporating positive identification in your work.

CONFIDENTIALITY 

Taking into account, section 8 of the Human Rights act which states that “everyone has the right to the enjoyment of family life” which we take to mean privacy. As well as this we also take into account the 4 elements of breaching confidentiality . These being:

1. The information must have “necessary quality of confidence” 
2. Information must have been imparted in circumstances which impose a obligation of confidence

3.There must be an unauthorised use of that information.

4. The use of this information must then cause detriment to the person who entrusted the information( or as most of these laws get updated, can use the words ‘serious harm’) 

These breaches can lead to injunction’s that stop the confidential articles from being leaked, and even in more pop culture now, has led to superinjunction’s which aren’t even allowed to be mentioned in print. Beyond this, a person who feels that their confidence has been breached can then claim damages using regulatory bodies to help them.

The threat to certain whistleblowers can range from losing one’s job and/or facing criminal charges.

Official Secrets Act and other such legislation can stop the process of obtaining/publishing certain information.

Naomi Campbell being photographed/reported for going to Narcotics Anonymous is a golden example of breach of confidence.

Watergate/Deep Throat

Defences: Information is trivial and doesn’t cause detriment to person or company.

The information was already in the public domain but has not been published or had attention drawn to it already.

and finally in the public interest to release that information to the public and/or exposes wrongdoing, negligence and hypocrisy.  MP EXPENSES. 

QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE

Miliband’s accusations made towards Lord Fink: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/12/tax-avoidance-lord-fink-ed-miliband-labour-conservative

That the Lord had sought to avoid tax which is not an illegal action, but saying such outside of the commons could and would be seen as a defamatory statement, Miliband then repeated this statement out of the commons but used the defence of Truth which wouldn’t have been on Miliband to prove but Lord Fink to disprove! Which he didn’t challenge as he would have had to been judge on the balance of probabilities.

This tested the boundaries of Qualified Privilege within the commons. Safe to say that had these comments, if said outside of the commons, would have been both defaming and libellous.

Pickles vs Rotherham:

The report commissioned by the government is undoubtedly  defaming towards the members of the Rotherham council but has protections due to it’s origin and source being straight from the Government itself. These protections lets it voice the truth to the furthest extent.

Requirements for QP:

Fair,accurate,without malice, and/or a matter of the public interest. (you also lose all privilege outside of the courtroom etc etc.) 

 

COPYRIGHT

Thing’s to do to avoid infringing copyright laws:
1. (Always the best option) Make it yourself. If you can take the picture, take it?, there is no point in making the job harder for yourself when you can simply do it and avoid all copyright laws.

2. Buy it. With millions of stock photo’s and font’s on the internet these day’s, almost anything is up for sale on the internet.

3. Use it for “Fair Dealing” which consists of three parts
-Review
– News
– Education
But all of these 3 reason’s still have their limitations, as you can only use 30 consecutive word’s of other people’s work, when reviewing it. Much like how you can only use 6 second’s of video production when reviewing.

Examples such as Harry Parkhill and Sarah Hymers ‘Top 5″ packages are a fantastic example of these reviewing skills used perfectly.

(Case study:Newport state of mind video is a good example of doing/using copyright badly)

Pictures! however can’t be used in fair dealing as it’ s not showing only ‘half’ the product but actually the whole thing.

Also, Journalist’s must understand that to breach Copyright law’s is deemed theft and thus can be very damaging for any journalist caught infringing these law’s and very expensive.

Copyright gives our products exclusivity which heightens the value of our products.

Points to remember: 

  • recognise copyright issues straight away
  • contact rights holders early
  • tell editor once you have cleared your footage from any copyright problems
  • never! lift material without referencing up or discussing it first with your lawyer/editor

 

REGULATION AND ETHICS: 

Most corporations these days have their own set of rules and their own Code of Conduct. But where the huge difference is, is the regulation between broadcast(which is strict and tightly regulated by BBC and OFCOM etc.) compared to print which is why there has been huge debate over changing the editors codes etc which is what lead to travesties such as News of the World and ultimately Leveson. 

Currently the IPSO, Independent Press Standards Organisation, has taken the spot of the old(useless;comment) PCC but the question now rides on whether Leveson is going to create a charter or statute similar to OFCOM for the Press. This has been rejected countlessly by the press but the report has yet to conclude and the world waits on with bated breath. IPSO can however now implement last gasp measures to rewards fines/give damages, require apologies/corrections.

Codes of conduct tend to focus on the:

  • ethical behaviour of the journalists that work for that Org.
  • correct use and treatment of privacy
  • accuracy and impartiality
  • protection of the vulnerable/children/old people

OFCOM: is the regulator that can truly hurt mistakes made in journalism. This regulatory body applies to TV and Radio and can ensure impartiality.

Uses: sanctions, can force not to repeat programmes, correction of statements, impose financial penalties, revoke licenses! And can give a

The BBC handles it’s own regulations as well as any complaints.

Case Studie for breaches in OFCOM/Regulations:

Ant and Dec- Uncounted votes that gave ITV over £7m led to a fine of £5m+

 

REPORTING ELECTIONS

The Ofcom code of conduct puts emphasis on impartiality, but only for broadcasters. Broadcasting be it radio or TV is far more highly regulated than the papers.

 

Problem area’s: False statements (involves defamation/libel/privilege), difference between reporting Large and Small parties is essential. The scrutiny on the media during elections is much more increased.

 

Impartiality is more of an interactive investigation of all sides of a huge story (the election). This means balancing airtime and being careful to not show favoritism.

 

Use of think tanks makes going around politicians easier whilst still giving clear-cut data and not just rhetoric. Such as IFS and Education think tanks etc.

 

Calendar- keeping on top of the election calendar such as March 30th, dissolution of the state, is very important to covering the election fully and thoughtfully.

 

 

Misrepresentation of candidates

 

Opinion/exit polls: don’t use them too strongly, they only ever suggest things and never given definite proof.

 

Keeping a log of your coverage and make sure you’re not covering one party more than an other but also gives you a clearer picture of what you have already covered.

Media Law Refresher: Qualified Privilege

QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE

Miliband’s accusations made towards Lord Fink:

That the Lord had sought to avoid tax which is not an illegal action, but saying such outside of the commons could and would be seen as a defamatory statement, Miliband then repeated this statement out of the commons but used the defence of Truth which wouldn’t have been on Miliband to prove but Lord Fink to disprove! Which he didn’t challenge as he would have had to been judge on the balance of probabilities.

This tested the boundaries of Qualified Privilege within the commons. Safe to say that had these comments, if said outside of the commons, would have been both defaming and libellous.

Pickles vs Rotherham:

The report commissioned by the government is undoubtedly  defaming towards the members of the Rotherham council but has protections due to it’s origin and source being straight from the Government itself. These protections lets it voice the truth to the furthest extent.

Requirements for QP:

Fair,accurate,without malice, and/or a matter of the public interest. (you also lose all privilege outside of the courtroom etc etc.) 

Libel & Defamation, Refresher

 

 

Defamation:

A law that journalists need to be aware of is defamation, or when in permanent form Libel. Whether this is done on purpose by slandering them, or by accident in the forms of an innuendo, which have a hidden meaning. Laws against defamation carry a heavy penalty as well as having to apologise for any defaming that a newspaper or industry has caused to anyone, the paper or the company involved can be forced by regulations to pay damages to the person(s).

The Three defences of Defamation: 

  • The fact/statement is actually factually correct/true
  • The comment/statement is your honest opinion and you have stated that this comment is in your opinion.
  • QP: (Separate blog post on this) The comment has been made in areas or at a time or by a person who holds the right to say these comments, such as the House of Commons, (Lord McAlpine Case Study)

 

Libel is the charge that stems from defaming someone within a publication, and in recent years, changes have been made to these laws that mean that 4 precedents have to be apparent before someone can be charged for Libellous action. These 4 are:

  • Has been published
  • is of false nature
  • the ‘injured party’ is clearly identified
  • And is of a defamatory nature. 

Other ways of defaming someone can include:

Slander: defamation through speaking, which is VERY important to avoid in broadcast journalism and EVEN MORE important on live broadcast’s. 

Innuendo: similar to jigsaw identification, it’s hinting towards either some sort of defamatory action on an innocent person, or jigsawing(hinting towards someone) and then connecting them towards something defamatory.

The key it seems to avoiding/working around these laws is(and it’s not always the case) but only incorporating positive identification in your work.