Category Archives: Current Affairs

A formal description of interesting news stories and ones of my personal and public interest.

Impact of Social Media on Journalism

Over twenty emails and several tweets- I was beginning to loose hope that any journalists were going to find time in their busy schedules to reply back to my enquires. My assigned research entailed contacting credible journalistic sources to feature in my article titled ‘Has Social Media Plagued Journalism For Good?’. So, you can imagine the excitement of seeing an email from the editor of Dorset Life magazine outlining his views on the topic:

Joel Lacey, of Dorset Life, explained how he thought social media has been “both a boon and a bane for professional journalists”. It is advantageous in terms of the helpfulness of user-generated content from Citizen Journalists. If there were, for example, a photograph or video footage of an event it is much easier to acquire than it may well have been. On YouTube there is a channel dedicated to this, ‘Citizen Tube’, there is raw footage of the Libyan crisis and Japanese earthquake. This makes journalists jobs slightly easier and also acts as a database for public use.

Videos uploaded by YOU

On the other hand, Lacey discusses how “much of what is being put out is essentially gossip: repeated or invented material”. This is noticeably a danger zone, as the huge source of information online means sifting through and deeming what is and what is not credible. Admittedly, Lacey says that he has used social media as a starting point to some of his articles for Dorset Life. However, he approaches these stories with caution and they still require sufficient research through conducting  interviews and involving other sources.

Still locating primary sources for my research, I contacted other local journalists, as it seemed this is where my research had led me so far. Stephen Bailey who writes for the Daily Echo had some useful insights to contribute with a focus on Twitter:

“I have found Twitter primarily useful for news planning” Bailey said and describes the time when he extracted a story from tweets about the 20th Armored Brigade going to Afghanistan. Agreeing with Lacey, he reinforces Twitter and other sites being useful for photojournalism. Aside from its conveniences and immediacy, Bailey appreciates letters as a form of communication as they are now becoming a rarity in the industry. Events like going to court, covering public meetings and meeting contacts are proactive ways that Bailey feels are the most enjoyable part of his job.

“I find the general belief that anyone can be a writer phenomenally dangerous” Lacey expresses his concerns of Citizen Journalism will make it harder for the professionals to earn a living. Though, I believe that print and broadcast journalism will co-exist with any online material that proceeds to invade the publishing world.

Stephen Jio from Dell has a discusses the effect of Citizen Journalism with students at City University:


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Amy Winehouse: The Untold Story

R.I.P Amy xx


“I loved crack and smack more than I did Amy and her the same”

The words of Blake Fielder-Civil ex-husband of the late Amy Winehouse who many point the finger at for her downward spiral into a dismal life of addiction.

Intense media fascination had surrounded the life of Amy Winehouse, which in turn fed the publics’ obsession as to what went on in her personal life to display the blank-eyed girl on-stage. I am a self-confessed onlooker and fan that consumed the many stories, dubious pictures and the shocking footage featured revealing the star smoking crack. Fuelling this intrigue was not only the controversy; it was in fact this delivery. The ‘rock n roll’ lifestyle is notoriously known for heavy drug use, many of the worlds most talented artists have been guilty of using at one point or another. Only more recently, candid video footage of celebrities caught red-handed is falling into the wrong hands. Most would expect the undeniable evidence of Amy’s behaviour to wave goodbye to her career, but actually it didn’t stop fans from queuing to see her perform – which I think speaks volumes. Nevertheless, the coverage served a purpose in the form of warning signs detecting something destructive about the Winehouse-Civil relationship. Still intrigued, like many others, at the long-term causes of Amy’s death I intently watched the documentary The Untold Story on channel 5 to shed some light.

It was the first time some of the closest people in Amy’s life were seen on camera, but one unanticipated voice was ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil – the influence that won her heart and admits to providing the drugs in their relationship. The two’s on/off troubled relationship often became the heart of inspiration for the greatest work Amy had ever produced in best-selling album Back to Black. This truthful album not only won five Grammy awards, but was a form of emotional release from a woman her own husband depicts as ‘one of the loneliest people he’d ever met’. In the 2009 interview, Blake describes their intense passion for each other stimulated by drugs, but in the end torn apart as a result of their addictions.

Speaks a thousand words

He admits that her first dealings with hard drugs were supplied by him and it just seems Amy grew more curious to try the next high. All of this became aware by the public, when the two were photographed (right) in a horrific state which Blake continues to explain as self-harm whilst on a heavy drug binge. There it was. The truths lay bare from the man that lived the wild life alongside one of the most talented women of our generation. Aside from Amy’s demons, I hope she is remembered in the way she would have wanted; for the contribution she made to music. A unique voice, an trademark style and of course the integration of jazz/soul/R&B to create a genre that Amy delivered so well in her heartfelt performances.

Though, Amy’s untimely death is a huge loss, it should act as a caution to those who are living their lives in the same dangerous way that she did. At 27 years of age Amy had already achieved so much and probably had a lot more to give, as well pursuing her dreams of being a mother. Ambition is alive in us all; live strong to make them a reality.

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A whole new meaning to body art

Thailand’s tourist associates are encouraging body painting events to go global. ‘Samui International Body Painting Competiton’ is an annual event that took place on the Lamai beach resort over the 26th and 27th of this month.

Samui hopes to gain more recognition for their event going international, matching similar competitions in Germany, Austria and Canada. ‘Preserving the Peace’ is the theme of the works of arts on the whole body. ‘Under the Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘Heaven on Earth’ seem to be the most popular and the most beautiful amongst the models. Thai art is an admirable talent that should be celebrated and where best to do this than the buzzing atmosphere of the local beach resort. Paradise is an accurate dipiction.

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate, with various creative activities, from nail painting to painting yourself! Admission is free, so it is an ideal community to join, if ever holidaying in the location. It is an amazing opportunity to witness the amazing sights of one the most extraodinary tourist spots in the Gulf of Thailand. Take a look at some of the most intricate paintwork over the two days:

Sea underworld theme

Nemo's new home

Complex designs

Under the deep blue sea by German artist

Heaven on earth

Scenes of artistic expertise in the perfect sunny location, what more could you ask for?

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Christian Union helps reduce Lansdowne’s alcohol-related crime

Anti-social behaviour leads Lansdowne’s crime rate, as Christian Union volunteers organise events to reduce drunk and disorderly behaviour. According to official police statistics, a total of 471 anti-social behaviour cases were reported in Lansdowne over December last year. The Christian Union run a number of events in a bid to lower the amount of alcohol-related crimes in the area.

Michael French, a nightclub chaplain, co-ordinates volunteers every Saturday night to tend to drunk and vulnerable people. French works with a group of recovering addicts to create the monthly Late Night Cafe, an event which encourages the view that “substances don’t make a good night out but people and music do”. The event seeks to direct people towards a different kind of night out and indirectly cut anti-social behaviour crime rates.

Lansdowne safezone in daylight

Domestic situations, violence and vandalism are among the common offences CU volunteers find scouting the streets.

The efforts of the CU have not gone unnoticed; Lansdowne locals question the extent to which the events will lessen crime. Hannah, a local florist, does not have high hopes for the alcohol-free club: “An alcohol-free club

won’t help crime in the area, it should be available to those under 18; we need to get them off the streets as well to reduce the crime in the area.” She identifies the job centre, halls of residence and drop-in pharmacies as hotspots attracting trouble.

Non-drinker Cedric, a Subway employee, would consider visiting the club and enjoy not being surrounded by herds of drunks. Working nights, he often sees the alcohol fuelled behaviour and is sometimes the victim of their abuse. “We’ve had to resort to having security in the building at night when fights and abuse are most likely to take place” he says.

Enthusiastic CU students manage a fortnightly cafe night called Tea and Toast and there are talks of an alcohol-free night to feature in Freshers week. The events are run and hosted by the CU in order to change attitudes towards heavy binge drinking.

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Christchurch death toll at 163

Uninvited and unanticipated, the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch has left the city in ruins. At peak hour, around lunchtime is when the quake hit, whilst people were going about their daily lives. With sources reporting the death toll primarily at 65, it has now risen to 163 with crews still searching for survivors. Police officials are estimating the toll to reach 220 when all of the bodies have been recovered.

One of the many victims

Lingering hope for survivors lies beneath the Christchurch Cathedral where 22 people are believed to be trapped in the debris. Although Civil Defence boss John Hamilton has expressed little hope for any remaining survivors, as do the rescue team experts.

There are still no plans as yet to begin handling the buildings with heavy machinery, each building will be examined as if there are bodies buried underneath. Sadly, the time will approach when the hope of remaining survivors will fade. As well as materials being transported to Christchurch our prayers should be with them too, in such terrible circumstances. It has been said that it may take up to a decade to restore the city in its demolished state.

Historic landmarks have been deemed unsafe for entry with a red warning label reappearing throughout the city. Also millions of homes destroyed. Without such essentials like toilets and showers rescue teams are doing as much as they can to install portable facilities around the necessary areas.

My heart goes out to all those who have suffered in the Christchurch earthquake.


Ruined buildings

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‘Bieber fever’ unnecessary hype

I doubt I am the only Bieber hater, but the 12 year-old, sorry, 16-year-old ‘pop-star’ has caused absolute mayhem with herds of tweens following the release of his movie Never Say Never. The film is needlessly shot in 3D, which attempts to pursue the same successions as other movies that have thrived on the 3D trend. It features him in all his glory, showing footage of his 2010 tour. Reviewers (of course I refuse to ever see the film myself) who are not crazy about the singer have taken more of a disliking to him. This all leads to the same question…what is with the hype?

Infamous Bieber pose at the London film premiere

This week Bieber has graced the UK with his presence to promote the new release and had thousands of girls screaming and crying to meet him. In the short space of 18 months, I have to hand it to the kid, he has shot to success. Boasting a staggering 21 million friends on Facebook, 7.3 million followers on Twitter, the most watched videos on YouTube and his name being one of the most searched for on Google he has not done bad at all. Fans of the star even call themselves ‘Bieblers’ and they seem to love the fact that he is all over social media.

The power of social media has helped Bieber’s extended 15 minutes of fame, but it won’t be long until he is surpassed by a younger and much more talented kid on the scene. Jaden and Willow Smith, although with a little help from their legendary father, have already covered acting, singing, songwriting, rapping and dancing collectively at the ages of 12 and 10. Other young talents, such as 10-year-old Heather Russell have been spotted on YouTube and taken on by the Cowell management. Russell begun performing at the age of eight, listing renown names Prince and Queen as her influences. The YouTube clip of her song ‘Every Step of the Way’ attracted more than 100,000 views and received recognition from celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore who have constantly tweeted about her.

Now this is talent worth the hype. Will Heather Russell be the new deserving contender for Bieber?

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Man weds cat

Before you think this is some kind of practical joke, I can assure you it isn’t.

A cat (unmarried)

Love at first sight

The unusually posed ‘bride’ was dressed in white for the service. Mitzscherlich commented: “Cecilia has such a trusting character”. And then worryingly went on to say: “We constantly smooch and she has slept in my bed from the beginning of our relationship, which is unique”. This seems to go a little further than bestiality and could be catagorised as borderline insanity. But I’ll leave that judgement up to you.

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