Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Radio Silence

From this evening I'm off to Sri Lanka and Indonesia for two and a half weeks, visiting various tsunami sites, getting on more overnight flights than I care to think about and aiming to beat the world record for jetlag.
I just don't have the room in my suitcase for a laptop so am at the mercy of internet cafes to blog from there. I'm also hopefully going to be doing some blogging for Alertnet while I'm out there
Wish me luck. I've done loads of foreigns but I always get nervous before them...ah well....
Maybe I'll even lose weight and get a suntan*

*NB the only proven way of doing this is being sent on a fishing boat in Norway then onto India straight after. Have never been so sylphlike er I mean pushing forward the boundaries of journalism

Monday, April 16, 2007

Oxfam appeal on Chad and Darfur

What I've been observing on for the last month,,2057971,00.html

Will post more later after the launch

Due to a long long day and no time I haven't posted more but I will think about it overnight and do so tomorrow. There was pretty widespread coverage....and I think there were a number of factors that helped that - all very interesting for my research

Now though having been up since 3.30 I just need some kip

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The end of Life as we know it

Despite my attempts to blog seriously about freedom of speech the only thing I'm really concerned today is the end of Life on Mars and my weekly fix of Gene Hunt. Spent the weekend watching the first series over again and trying to work out the ending.

The answer is - I don't know if he's mad, in a coma or back in time. But I'm suspecting due to Ep One of Series One he's in a coma. I'm trying to work out the significance of Craig Raimes from the same episode, and also Marc Warren (can't remember his series name) who was locked away earlier this series in a psychiatric hospital but seemed to hold some kind of key.
There's also all the unresolved mother and father stuff from the first series which hasn't made a comeback.
Think Morgan is the voice on the phone.
Not sure of the significance of the fact that Tyler was a DCI in 2006 but only a DI in 1973...but that maybe again something to do with getting rid of Hunt.
I suppose the most non-surprising ending would be if Tyler manages to alter something in 1973 so that he doesnt go into a coma in 2006.....
But I am really rubbish at guessing things like this, so who knows. Am just gutted that it's the end....

I picked this up from Digital Spy

As for the ending, you'd better tune in next Tuesday night on BBC One, although a more recent David Bowie single than 'Life On Mars' offers a big hint, if you delve into his early '90s material.

Unfortunately I don't know Bowie well enough for that to make any sense to me....

Absolutely glorious ending which makes no sense whatsoever. But - hurrah - after a nervous moment at 9.45 - he makes the right decision......
Mind your language
I've been back home for a few days over Easter and away from the internet. Came back to find several great media stories blooming.
First this,,2053278,00.html
As the Guardian says this has provoked a storm from bloggers saying that any attempt to restrict comments would impinge on freedom of speech. But this is becoming more of an issue thanks to the Kathy Sierra case - in which she cancelled her ETech speech because of death threats that had been made on her blog.
What do I think about this? As a journalist I've been on the receiving end of bitter and abusive anonymous comments which I've accepted as part of the territory. I've never had death threats although I've sometimes kept letters that seemed to be more than usually abusive in case anything escalated.
As someone who's worked in old media where libel laws and the need to avoid affecting public outrage and decency, I'm used to having the kind of language I use monitored and restricted every day. So perhaps I am conditioned to having my words restricted. Plus having been on the receiving end of abuse...I don't like it.
But I certainly also have sympathy with Dan Gillmor's point, as quoted in the Guardian

To define unacceptable behaviour is to create a monster, he says, as "Who'd be the judge of it? The government? Libel lawyers? Uh, oh."

(PS Paula Scher in the New York Times op-ed pages points out the life-cycle of a blog:

Then there's also another big freedom of speech issue being discussed...that of Faye Turney et al selling their "kidnap and tell" (thanks to Geoff White for that turn of phrase) stories for up to £100,000 - from taking the Queen's shilling to the Murdoch pound. This, most people agree has turned out to be a complete mess. No one comes out of it well: the MoD for agreeing and then doing a U-turn; the sailors who took the cash, the papers who offered it.
The Guardian in its editorial points out that the world has changed thanks to mobiles and the internet; as it says there is no way the slaughter of the First World War could have happened if "our great grandfathers were blogging every night from Picardy". And it asks the question: should we condemn the navy personnel when Sir Christopher Meyer and Alastair Campbell have been able to do similar things. It calls for a thorough review over selling stories to the media that goes wider than just the military

But Allan Mallinson in the Telegraph also raises a pertinent point, making a comparison with Pte Johnson Beharry's memoirs:

There is nothing wrong, or against regulations, in writing about one's military experience. The rules simply require the manuscript to be scrutinised by the MOD to ensure there is no breach of operational security. Had the captives' story been one of true heroism rather than "victimhood", there would surely have been only public admiration.

Was part of our disquiet that this was not a glorious tale to tell?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Getting back to my roots

The Mac doesn't seem to like to let me link - but I enjoyed this piece that Richard Sambrook posted about how Darfur may be the first conflict fuelled by global warming...

Also check out for the Jib Jab US news value clip.... Very funny

I haven't been blogging very much because I've spent the last two weeks observing at Oxfam - trying to work out how a press office operates and how they see journalists.*

I'm also trying desperately to sort out my trip to Sri Lanka and Aceh...with no great success....It'll get there in the end but it's at that unsavoury stage of half-organised, half-not.

Meanwhile I'm back to my roots this weekend seeing my parents for their 40th wedding anniversary. Congratulations Mum and Dad...

*No I'm not going to blog ANYTHING about my time in Oxfam house! wait for the lecture