Friday, 29 October 2010

Well, I don't think anyone predicted that

Despite England having a dreadful World Cup (aside from a refereeing perspective) there was one thing that could put a smile on our faces: The German's secret weapon was an octopus named Paul, who could apparently predict the results of games.

Paul would pick a box with the right countries flag on it and get inside, and this box would be the team that would win that particular match. Seems a bit far-fetched, but shockingly, Paul predicted 100% correctly in the entire tournament. Well for Germany matches and the final, still pretty impressive!

After the World Cup it became known that Paul was in fact English born and not German, and the Germans had stolen him from us. Pretty much like they did with their entire national squad. To name a few Podolski (Polish), Klose (Polish), Ozil (Turkish) and Boateng (Ghanaian). Finally, something for us patriotic Englishmen to be proud of!

However, on October the 26th, the Weymouth born octopus was found dead in his tank in Germany. He will be remembered throughout the world for his predictions that left many stunned, and I think i speak for everyone when I say he will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Journalism Now - The history of major wholesale news reporting agencies

News agencies are organisations that provide news coverage to newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Some examples of news agencies are Reuters, the Press Association (PA) and Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Reuters is one of the most important news agencies to be formed. It is a London based agency and was opened by a German man called Paul Julius Reuter. It began by transmitting stock market quotations between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover telegraph cable. The organisation continued to grow, soon extending to the whole of Britain and parts of Europe. It also began transmitting economic and general news. The reputation of Reuters was rapidly increasing, and in 1865 it had it's most important scoop. The story was that of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination. It was the first agency in Europe to provide news of this development, and it is believed that this story is one of the major reasons for Reuters' success. In 1883 it began to transmit messages electronically to all London newspapers, making the distribution of news even faster. Reuters are famously known for objective reporting, but during the two World Wars it was subject to pressure from the British Government to serve national interests. This went against the objective view that it had, but in 1941 it managed to avert this pressure by making itself a private company with the new owners forming the 'Reuters Trust'. This effectively safeguarded the organisations independence and neutrality.

The Agence France-Presse is one of the most important news agencies. It was originally founded under the name Agence Havas, by Charles-Louis Havas, and was the first international news agency in the world. It provided information to many French newspapers, periodicals and magazines. It was this agency that influenced the formation of other agencies such as Reuters in Britain. It originally began distributing news via traditional methods, such as carrier pigeons and horse-drawn carriages. In 1842 France's railroad system was built, meaning distribution was made easier and quicker. Three years later the telegraph was invented meaning the AFP were able to distribute their news around Europe. It was all going very well for the organisation, until it was stripped of it's distribution service during World War Two. Just before the end of World War Two it was reborn under the new name Agence France-Presse. Journalists in the resistance seized the Paris headquarters as France was liberated from Nazi occupation. Like other news agencies, the organisation had a strong belief to be objective, and in 1957 it formed a statute that defined the independence and freedom of it's journalists. Article two from this statute reads 'Agence France-Presse may not under any circumstances take account of influences or considerations that would compromise the accuracy or objectivity of the news; it must not under any circumstances pass under legal or de facto control of an ideological, political or economic group'. It wanted the reporters to be fast, fair and accurate, and under no circumstances be influenced otherwise.

The Press Association (PA) is another example of a news agency that is committed to providing fast, fair and accurate news. It was founded in 1868 by a group of newspaper owners. The aims of the Press Association was to produce a more accurate and reliable alternative to the telegraph companies. One man who joined the Press Association, Chris Moncrieff, has written a book on the history of the organisation, 'Living on a Deadline'.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

HCJ - Semester One - Lecture Two

John Locke is a very important figure when discussing empiricism. He had many ideas about the social contract, or the way in which people agreed to be ruled.

During the lecture it was put across that Locke's work and opinions are only key to his time, and that the context of his work and findings were extremely important. Others do believe that Locke would maintain the same beliefs even in todays world - personally I do not feel that the time in which Locke lived played an important role in his beliefs. Locke's 'state of nature' can be seen as an example; 'everyone enjoys a natural freedom and equality but obey natural laws' - We do live in this sort of environment today, in that we obey laws put out by the government, and everyone does have the freedom to do as they please within the laws. Even though this outlines some of Locke's ideals, he may not be happy with it all together when he sees it put into practice.

Descartes was one for thinking that we were born with set ideas imprinted onto our mind, however, Locke disagrees with this notion and I would have to agree with him. In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding he outlines that all of our knowledge comes from experience: 'All our knowledge is founded'. It was also mentioned in the lecture that there is test where by you can think of anything you know in your brain and it can be traced back to an earlier memory or experience where you learned this piece of information, I do not know about anybody else, but I certainly do not have anything in my brain by which I cannot recall how it was learned. For instance a baby is not born with the ability to talk or walk; hence it learns from parents or others around it, this is why an English baby with English parents will learn English, on the other hand a Spanish born baby with Spanish parents will not automatically talking English! The way by which Locke says we get this knowledge is through sensation, using our God given senses to take the information we are given. Locke is not a man who dismisses religion as he does believe that God has given us a brain which is capable of reasoning, but not given us ideas before we are born. 'I think, it will be granted easily, that if a child were kept in a place where he never saw any other but black and white till he were a man, he would have no more ideas of scarlet or green' - a quote from Locke outlining his belief that if you were only exposed to certain things like colours of black and white, you would not know of any other colours at all, thus backing up the point that we are not born with imprints or ideas already in our heads.

Locke: 'To ask, at what time a man has first any ideas, is to ask, when he begins to perceive' - you can only have ideas once you can perceive, you can only begin to perceive once you are born - you are born with no ideas. 'foetus in the mother's womb differs not much from the state of a vegetable' - This is a quote from the reading which I found quite amusing but at the same time quite important. He likens the baby in the womb as a vegetable, something that cannot perceive or think, therefore it will have no thoughts or impressions, how can it be then that we are born with ideas in our heads?

Locke begins to question the soul and the body and if they are two separate things. He asks himself if the soul is still thinking whilst the man is sleeping; and if so doe this mean that the soul is experiencing joy, happiness, sorrow and pain whilst the man is non the wiser. 'For to be happy or miserable without being conscious of it, seems to me utterly inconsistent and impossible' - this could back up his claims that the soul and body are two persons in that he believes that the soul does think whilst you sleep and therefore does experience feelings but the person is not conscious of it. Locke then goes on to discuss even further possibilities of the soul leaving the body whilst we sleep and taking up someone else's body to do its thinking. He even goes on to suggest that two people could share a soul - At this point in the essay I find it hard to grasp the concept that Locke is getting at although I can see why he may think that. Personally, I believe that any thought made whilst asleep is conveyed as a dream and is a reflection on previous days events and this is the reason as to why we may not remember the dreams, because we have already lived them. The reason why Locke believes we do not remember the souls thoughts when we wake is that the soul does not have organs or body for the thoughts to leave an impression on.

Locke seems to like playing with the idea of dreaming and is it the soul that makes us dream. He describes dreaming as irrational and frivolous, therefore making it insignificant, so he concludes that this is the reason why the brain may forget to remember it.' And I say, it is as possible that the soul may not always think; and much more probable that it should sometimes not think, than that it should often think, and that a long while together, and not be conscious to itself, the next moment after, that it had thought.' What I think Locke is trying to say here is that he believes the soul to be thinking on some occasions but not on others, even though he does argue that it is impossible to prove. What I also get from this is that he believes the soul to not be aware of its thoughts.


So in todays 'briefing' for Journalism Now we were shown the latest WINOL bulletin, to which we were asked an opinion of; what was good? What was bad? Could anything be changed to make it better?

Firstly I will start off with a good point, to which there are many. The presentation as a whole I thought was done to a very high standard. The presenters of the show were both confident, well spoken and their voices kept the listener intrigued. Sure there was one or two stutters between them, but such things are seen on proffesional news stations, so it cannot be faulted greatly. The presenters were at all times very proffesional in the way they spoke, but also gave the feeling that they were your friend and that they were extremely relaxed, especially when it came to the presentation of the BJTC Award.

I thought both Jack and Julie were extremely professional and well spoken in their pieces, if I could criticise anything it would be that the first interview that Jack had, seemed to be drowned out a little by background noise, and perhaps he could have selected a better place. Also when the camera was on Jack in the MMC the quality of the recording was incredibly inferior to that of the rest of the prodcution.

It was mentioned in the lecture that perhaps one of the sports commentators was slightly monotone and did not seem enthused by reporting what he was seeing - after listening again, I think they were referring to David and the Winchester City Vs Hayling United match. The commentary does seem to be a bit lacking and even seems a bit rushed in places, but personally I think it is a good effort overall.

One of the main issues I had with the bulletin was the order of the news stories. During the lecture everyone identified the tuition fees as the most important story, this has me asking then, why was it not first? The story of foreigners not being able to use their ID's seems an insignificance when compared to this story, and in my personal opinion has no right to be first up.

When all said and done, I think it was an extremely good effort from everyone, and look forward to seeing more in the future! I hope this helps!