Saturday, December 30, 2006

Goodbye 2006

I hate New Year. I really do. It always seems to point up to me the things that I have left undone over the past year, what I hoped and failed to achieve. (Besides feeling like I am 15 years old at Birkenhead High School and no one but no one will invite me to a party.....oh the horror of that still remains.....)
This year is no exception. I thought the January of 2007, I would be in a very different place to where I am now, both in my professional and personal life. Things didn't turn out as I expected.
Yet that's a good thing in the main. I had no idea I would be doing Nuffield this time last year. Which goes to show that plans aren't everything. (Although I have been having a succssion of anxiety dreams about the research - which is not what you want lying on the sofa bed back at your parents' home)
Still New Year is a lonely time. My sister is abroad and I felt I didn't really get time to talk to her over Christmas. I think about friends far away, like S who will never come back to this country now. I think about a friend that I turned away from last year after I lost patience with the way she was behaving. Should I have just bitten back those words one more time?
But D is here. I'm very lucky for that. I would be nothing without him.

I'm trying to come up with my customary 10 new years resolutions by tomorrow night. I always make ten so I have a chance of keeping some by the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Looking back

Thanks to Adrian Monck for pointing up this Economist potted history of the popular press....good reading

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It could be you
Even Time gets in on the act by praising new media in its Person of the Year edition


Channel 4's view on new media

Channel 4

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A novel way forward?
This is not me being obsessed with AlertNet this week I promise - but I read Ruth Gidley's suggestion for raising awareness on countries that miss out on coverage - - and enjoyed it very much.
In the past there have been writers like Fay Weldon - former Savoy writer in residence - who have been "sponsored" by companies to mention their products in books. Maybe aid agencies should be thinking about product placement themselves - a dashing Oxfam aid worker as a modern day Mr Darcy; Dr Quinn Medicine Woman talking about her work with MSF, Bridget Jones joins a Christian Aid project with hilarious consequences.....
Still anyone who has read Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's creator) should know that authors are no easier to control than journalists.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dispatches from Disaster Zones

To the Red Cross today for the conference Dispatches from Disaster Zones which brought aid agencies and media together to debate how to improve coverage of disasters including new research from CARMA International (blogged here by AlertNet as well as launching the Red Cross's Forgotten Disasters Report
Like Megan Rowling I did not find anything sensationally new in the CARMA report, although Tom Vesey's suggestion that one of the solutions would be to embed journalists with aid units rather like happens with the military went down very badly with the journalists present (including Michael Buerk, Christina Lamb of the Sunday Times and Anton Antonowicz of the Daily Mirror) - although one could argue that simply by travelling with aid agencies it is difficult to present completely objective reporting - particularly as the aid agencies often pay for such trips (these are usually follow-up trips however, not ones that take place during disasters). There was much more support for the ida there should be far more scrutiny of politicians after conflict on delivery of aid.
CARMA's conclusion that the coverage focused on the political rather than the humanitarian also sparked a fairly forthright debate on whether the humanitarian disaster was a political one - and how outspoken aid agencies could/should be when to be so would get them thrown out of places like Zimbabwe.
Buerk suggested that aid agencies might be debating with the wrong people anyway given newspaper and TV journalists were present. He said that 40% of under 45s do not regularly watch TV news and Google is now the second most trusted news source in the country - we should all be thinking about new media instead...

EDIT: Further update from AlertNet -

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The world is not enuffield
No doubt the Scott Trust will be delighted to know that I have spent valuable time taking part in the Nuffield College pantomime which this year was a James Bond spoof....and I am told was one of the best. I only had one line so I can't claim any credit.
There is a particular tradition at Nuffield in which the audience shout 'Horse' at random intervals in order to try to persuade the horse to come on stage - (I have a feeling in several centuries time there will be some dusty old tract in the Bodleian by some linguistic theorist "Horse! An analysis of social customs and dialect in early 21st century graduate colleges)
The worst thing of course is finally meeting the person I was spoofing in the bar afterwards. You see that's the great thing about being a journalist; you write something up/record something and then run away and don't see someone again. You don't meet them while clutching a sweaty bottle of San Miguel, while Abba is playing in the background and have to start nervously saying "It was meant to be an affectionate portrayal....Honest..."
However most congratulations should go to the Warden of College Steve Nickell, former member of the Monetary Policy Committee (and in fact in an earlier incarnation Mandelson's maths teacher) - who gave a stunning performance as Dr Evil. He wins my vote as the kind of academic we should see more of.