Who'd want to be a politician?

Mar
24

Roy Hattersley argues that those at the centre of the recent 'cash for influence' scandal just don't care about politics in the way that his generation did: "The fundamental difference" he writes, is that "When I left the government, I would have been mortified by suspension and possible expulsion from the Labour party. I suspect that Hewitt, Hoon and Byers regard it as a price worth paying." Do politicians care more about money than is good for governance?

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BBC Blast reporter scheme 2010

Mar
23

The BBC is launching its Blast Reporter scheme for 2010, which it describes as "an opportunity for budding reporters to learn the tricks of the trade in hands-on work experience that will enable them to build on their knowledge of the media along with providing fresh and exciting opportunities in Sport and Music."

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Social services and lessons learned...or not

Mar
19

Social workers and failings in the system of caring for vulnerable children are all over the news today, emphasising exactly how and why this is such an important subject and why journalists need to know how things work and who does what.

The first story is close to home and relates to the death of a 25-day-old baby in Kent and the failings that led to the tragic killing by her violent father. The others relate to the sacking of social workers in Birmingham and the third to a story in Wales.

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Guardian Student Media Awards

Mar
16

CLOSING DATE: FRIDAY 2 JULY 2010

The Guardian Student Media Awards 2010 have now launched

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Novels to read

Mar
15

After my  comments about the importance of reading widely (and Allan Little's impassioned guidance on the same theme), Alan McGuinness asked me to recommend my favourite novels about journalists and journalism. You know about Scoop by Evelyn Waugh.  I also recommend Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn, The Quiet American by Graham Greene and Yellow Dog by Martin Amis. Of course, journalists should not restrict themselves to fiction about journalists.

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Faking news

Mar
15

The Republic of Georgia panicked on Saturday when the pro-government Imedi TV station reported that a Russian invasion force had crossed the border. It was fiction (though not remotely pure). Fear among the civilian population was mimicked by the conduct of Moscow based foreign correspondents who grabbed their laptops and made calls to their news desks before realising the story was a hoax. The Guardian tells the story well, complete with a useful backgrounder on previous news hoaxes.     

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Understanding Famine or Aid for Arms

Mar
12

Some of you may have followed the row between Bob Geldof and the BBC this week, following a radio documentary about the misuse of aid in the 1980s.  This is obviously a controversial topic and the aid agencies have joined Geldof in attacking the BBC, as you can hear. on the latest episode of the Media Show.  This is also a matter close to my heart since my PhD thesis was on the reporting of famines.

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Innocent man's plea

Mar
09

It was only a matter of time before somebody started some sort of rumour claiming to know the new identity of Jon Venables. Already Facebook has become home of speculation and now vicious texts have been going around the country stating his "new identity." The Sun newspaper was quick to jump to the protection of a man they believe to be innocent. While journalists and officals are kept from revealing the true identity, the general public are not afraid to attempt to reveal the deadly truth.

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The truth about Jessica

Mar
09

During his excellent session yesterday, Allan Little told the story of Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old US Army Ordnance Clerk  who was captured by Iraqi soldiers in 2003. Allan described how the truth about Private Lynch was spun into a fictional heroic fantasy by the Pentagon's top rotational surgeons. You can read the full version of Jessica's story here.

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Polling the marginals

Mar
09

As diligent students of British politics understand, most votes under our first past the post system make no real difference to the result of a general election. The ones that count are those cast by swing voters in marginal constituencies. The Conservatives have been confident in their assertions that, despite a narrowing gap in nationwide opinion surveys, their lead among these defining voters in the marginals is big enough to make the crucial difference.

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