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Our deadlines are drawing closer, not just for assignments but for exams as well. We have just one written test in Law, Ethics and Public Admin. Yesterday we went through revision and past exam papers.

The exam will be on a number of different subjects.

1) The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg, and what takes place there.

2) The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and its role.

3) A Question on Libel/Defamation

4) A Question on Contempt of Court

5) A Question on reporting a serious sexual offence

  • If you name the person, you can’t name things like incest etc

6) A Question on Data protection

  • Personal Data
  • Non-personal data
  • Sensitive personal data

 

We also briefly covered the journalistic product which I aim to discuss with Marcos today, to look for advice and direction on how to record it.

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Assessing

Today was our first assignment. It came in the form of a presentation. I chose to complete mine on the role of the Prime Minister and the Internal affairs of the government.

The day went very well, my seminar seemed quite positive – hopefully this will be reflected in my marks. I took particular interest in the foreign students that based their presentations on their home country. Thailand, China and the United States all have differing political systems to the UK. It was interesting to note the differences and in many cases, similarities between the different systems.

Printing

Our afternoon session went ahead as usual and this week we looked at printing layout of the magazine as a whole and the technical aspects behind it.

Printing presses tend to have one giant sheet that the magazine is printed on, sometimes in its entirety. This is called a Web-offset print.

This sheet of paper has every page of the magazine printed out on it and this is why most magazines will be made up of a page count that’s divisible by four.

Once the entire magazine is printed it is then folded, and folded again, then probably folded another two or three times. What you will get is an A4 (or thereabouts) size magazine that has the bottom, side and top chopped off. This will then be your magazine.

The location of each page on this ‘master’ page is key. When it is folded several times over, the location of each page will change. As a magazine printer I would need to know how many pages there are in the magazine and what is on each page to make sure that during the folding process everything lines up correctly. You wouldn’t be able to have pages printed on this master sheet in chronological order because when it is folded up, they will no longer appear chronologically.

You will then end up with 4 pages (or 1 signature) fitting on two sides of one sheet (technical term being ‘folio’), if you fold this sheet in half you have single pages or perhaps one page of a double page spread.

Anyone else confused, or is it just me?

Binding

The magazine is then bound and there are three different options to do this:

The first is stitched. Two staples in key places down the centre of the magazine that keeps it in place. This is by far the cheapest option but not always the strongest or aesthetically pleasing.

Alternatively you could saddle stitch the product. This is where the spine is joined all the way down so you can’t see the join. It looks good but if you have a magazine with loads of pages it can struggle to keep them all in place.

Finally you could use a technique called perfect binding. This is popular in paperback books, as the squared off spine can be sized to fit any number of pages comfortably. This is the most expensive option and isn’t always needed for smaller magazines but does look great if you have a mag of over a hundred pages.

Colouring

Magazines tend to get printed in four prime colours – Cyan, Magenta, yellow and black. These colours combine to make pictures, pictures and should be able to mix to combine the right concentration of colour content to reproduce the original image.

Pacing

When you are reading a magazine there is something called pace. You know what it means but in the context of reading, you can have a pace to a magazine. Most mags tend to have quite a quick pace in the first third. There will be content pages, news pages, and editor’s notes, short regular features. Then as you get in to the second third and the meat of the magazine that’s when you reach the features and interviews. Often the front cover feature will be somewhere in this section. As you draw toward the final part of the magazine, you will often find ‘in other news’ sorts of features that the editor may think the reader will be interested in. There might also be regular columns, or guest opinion pieces.

You can break down pace within your thirds. During the main features section you may want quite a still feature that is perhaps a sit-down interview with someone. Alternatively if you were covering a sport or event with lots of action you could have actiony type photos, and the written pace of the feature could be quicker and more upbeat.

Brainstorming

We completed the day by getting in to our groups and discussing the magazine again. We pinned down ideas and began putting our content into sections. We are planning a group outing (although a divided one) to cover the national union strikes this Wednesday. I will go up to Birmingham with Taksaya and Ben and Sabrina will stay in Coventry. We have a view to meet up again on Friday to compare content and discuss any issues or extra content we may need.

 

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Today we spent some time pursuing the idea of Contempt of Court. We discussed the previous week’s exam and finished off going through the answers and shortly after this we listened to a special programme, put together to put to bed the problems the BBC faced when they released a not for broadcast recording.

In 2006 there was a series of women murdered all seemingly connected to one gentleman. a BBC journalist recorded an interview with this gentleman just for background research and assured the interviewee that it would not be broadcast on live radio.

A day later the same gentleman did an interview with a national newspaper that seemed to essentially release all the information that the note-purpose recording held. The BBC then decided to release the interview claiming it to be an ‘Exclusive’.

Not only did this gentleman not murder any of the women, but this interview had arguably caused his arrest. Understandably he was not happy.

The BBC made the same mistakes the rest of the media did. Every major newspaper latched on to this story and this same gentleman supposedly being the murderer. The only difference the BBC had was that they had released the interview which they had promised wouldn’t be. Also due to the fact that the BBC is a publicly funded body it obviously causes more outrage to the general public when something goes wrong.

This could be a potential danger to the similarities with the Joanna Yeates trial with regards to her landlord. He was put in a similar position where most of the country started believing he caused the death of Yeates. Obviously more recent findings prove that he had nothing to do with it.

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It’s true. Britain has no official constitution. Not one in the same way as the USA. My personal belief is that the whole constitution thing in the US is a bit bizarre anyway. Just because some old bearded men wrote down a few opinions on what people should be allowed to do over 400 years ago, doesn’t mean that it should still be allowed to happen now.

This is the potential problem with the Human Rights Act (1998) put in by the previous government, although a decent idea, it’ll be dated in 20 years. But before this was introduced the British countries were ruled by something called the unwritten constitution, which is upheld by the House or Lords. The unwritten constitution is loosely based on a medieval English Charter called Magna Carter. This combined with Habeas Corpus – the idea that a misdeed can be tried before a court, is ultimately how this country has been ruled since the dawn of civilised civilisation.

This is what we spoke about in Monday’s lecture with Marcos.

The House of Lords have powers to delay laws, as any law the Prime Minister is willing to pass has to be agreed by both Houses of Parliament. In the 80’s Thatcher tried to pass several laws through that may have been put through House of Commons but the House of Lords believed it wasn’t best for the country and this began the downfall of Thatcher from a political standpoint.

There are four different types of Lords that make up the House;

Hereditary Lords – Not around so much anymore. There was over a 1000 several year back who didn’t do anything but simply had privileges to enter and claim expenses on the country’s dime. There are under 100 now but most of them like to contribute to the House in some way.

Life Peers – Officially appointed by the Queen but a lot of recommendations will come from the Prime Minister, these can occasionally include knighted celebrities but of course the famous ones won’t contribute to the House, a lot of the time the Lord will be politically minded and is there to assist the government.

Anglican Clergy – They say Anglican because saying protestant upsets them. They are usually Bishops of the Church of England who say they represent all religious sects.

Law Lords – The place would be pretty pointless without people who know something about law. They will be high ranking lawyers, judges or counsel.

We discussed a few other points like the age of voting and the age to stand for election, when the polls open and close. We also discussed briefly the work we have to hand in – which is closing in now, and a reminder to look in McNae to prepare for the up and coming presentation.

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To look at journalism in a professional environment, or at least the environment that the BBC works in we went with Marcos to visit his workplace at BBC Oxford. The building itself is probably one of the smaller BBC’s but it had plenty there.

The top floor was where all the ‘real’ work took place. The behind the scenes staff who make the radio productions sound easy and the online product look professional. People were editing programme trails, writing online content and taking and making calls for future news stories. This office also introduced me to one of the major perils of working for the BBC. The cakes. The doughnuts. They were everywhere. Future media contributors beware, you may get fat.

Marcos convinced some of the staff to spend a few moments talking to us, and they were all very kind to do so. One gentleman Andy Gordon gave us a brief outline of online content writing.

  • The first four paragraphs must tell the whole story
  1. This is originally because when stories were uploaded on to CEEFAX you would only be able to read four paragraphs.
  2. It is now useful for mobile internet users as you can usually only see about four paragraphs on the average mobile phone screen.
  3. Even since we’ve moved on from CEEFAX the standard has been set and it works well for news stories across the board.
  • Write 2 Headlines
  1. One headline for the homepage to link you to the main story, and another on the story itself.
  2. It adds more to the story and expands the search engine possibilities.
  • BBC Paragraphs are sentences.
  • Additional Videos and pictures can be added
  1. This helps tell the story
  2. The video clip won’t be taken from the television report, it will often have a more precise report covering just the bullet points of the relevant story.
  3. You will generally never see the presenter, just video footage and a voice-over.

We moved into the main newsroom where the gathering of sources happens, the creation of news stories and some editing takes place. Here we met one of the on-air personalities Phil Mercer who is in fact taking a short break from his morning show currently and one of my colleagues actually became a source for a story he was putting together on bed-bugs for tomorrow.

Following this we went to where the action happens. The radio studios are divided into four different rooms with three surrounding a central booth creating a fishbowl effect. Each room could see one another however through glass panes. We also had the opportunity to see inside the BBC Oxford News studio. MUCH smaller than it looks on screen the cameramen (or lack of) do a great job at making that room look bigger. The cameras are remote controlled from the gallery which was very impressive. It had the makings of a NASA control room only downsized-ever so-slightly.

After a spot of lunch Marcos very kindly took us on a brief tour of Oxford which is nice but definitely not matching up to Cambridge in it’s brashness. There were some beautiful canals, once-illustrious castles, post-graduate colleges, and some nice snippets of history by our wonderful tour guide.

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